It's So Important to Discipline Kids
Setting limits is hard, frustrating and time-consuming. But, it is an extremely important part of parenting. Parents who don't set adequate limits do their children a great disservice. They reinforce unacceptable behaviors because children quickly learn that they can act as they want. Learning right from wrong is a slow, gradual process. 2 year-olds need constant watching. Distract them when they don't behave the way you want them to. Saying "no" to issues of safety is the beginning of limit-setting. 3 year-olds have trouble sticking to limits. Stay close by, offer frequent reminders and get involved with your child. When your child acts inappropriately, remove her from the situation and involve her in something else that will foster positive behavior. Most children under 5 are motivated to change their behavior "because mommy said" or when warned by a punishment, not because they understand how their negative behavior impacts others. So, the motivation not to hit their brother comes from wanting to watch TV, play outside or use the computer - not from thinking about someone else's feelings. That's okay! Sometimes connect a restriction to an activity, "If you want to ride your bike, you have to stay in front of the house," or "If you want to play outside, you have to keep your jacket on." Follow-through. Time-outs sometimes work. If you use "time-out," tell your child she can get off the step or chair when she's ready to play nicely. "Time-out" should only last as long as is necessary for him to calm down and change his behavior. It's also okay to firmly say, "You may not do that!"
Parenting is the most challenging job we do. Your day-to-day actions can guide your child’s character and behavior in positive ways.