By the age of one year, babies start to exhibit, what we adults consider, bad or dangerous behavioral patterns requiring immediate intervention. Most parents resort to punishment to prevent the repetition of such actions. If you think you that shouting or even spanking are helpful in these situations, we would like to inform you that unfortunately you have lost the round to the little one.
There are various positive discipline strategies which you can choose from based on your baby's age. As for one-year-olds, a grumpy face or a sharp look could do the job. Some pedagogists claim that ignoring the misbehavior is actually an effective strategy to follow with one- and two-year-olds. Add to that, the “distraction” technique where you distract your child attention from the misbehavior by giving her or him something else to do.
By the second birthday, children start to understand the concept of “time out”. The time-out strategy powerfully works, but it requires a lot of patience. Parents should choose a safe but boring place, then put their children on a chair or a step away from their usual playing area. The time which should be spent depends on their age. It is usually a minute per year of their age. For example, two minutes are enough for a two-year-old. Note that this strategy is pointless if the children do not understand why they are being put in a “thinking” chair. Therefore, parents should explain to their children that a certain unacceptable behavior will lead to a time-out, and be consistent. Children can be allowed to leave the “thinking” chair when they apologize for the misbehavior. After the age of two and a half, parents could start putting away favorite toys to allow children to reflect on the reason they are being deprived from their beloved possessions. By the age of three, you can use the “reward chart”. For every good behavior, children earn one star. After collecting a certain number of stars, there is a big reward, such as a toy or a trip.
You might have already noticed that effective discipline methods teach children positive behavior and habits. For example, self-reflection teaches children empathy and consequence assessment while shouting and spanking can only invite violence, aggressiveness, hatred, and develop low self-esteem.
It is worth of note that parents should agree on a unified discipline strategy. They should also familiarize the nursery teachers with it. This is mainly because different parents have different parenting styles which might cause a conflict within the child. Using different discipline methods could induce the child act obediently at home, but cause trouble at the nursery, and vice verse. We at Little Academy deeply believe that the role of the nursery is complementary to that of the parents, so we ensure to be their extension.