The Power of Positive Parenting: Tips on Positive Guidance
Research shows that positive guidance and discipline is the most effective way to guide your child’s behavior. The goal of
is to teach good behavior. Punishment strives to stop misbehavior. Punishment doesn’t work because it assumes your child is misbehaving on purpose. Most of the time, he is just exploring his world, and learning to control his impulses and emotions.
Birth to 12 months - you can’t spoil your baby with too much attention.
- Your child needs lots of positive interactions, rather than negative ones to help her feel safe and build a loving bond with you.
- Responding to your child when he cries or fusses teaches him that you care and he can trust you.
12 months - your toddler can be full of inner turmoil during this year of growth and discovery.
Realistic expectations support growth, and prevent frustration and power struggles.
- Set simple clear rules and stick to them.
- Follow routines for meals and bedtime.
- Specifically tell and show your child what you want him to do. “Put your truck on the shelf; it will be safe there. No one will step on it."
- Give lots of reminders - remembering rules takes time and practice.
- Explain to her why something is unsafe. Your toddler cannot predict what will happen next as a result of her actions.
- Distract or redirect your child to another activity when he is doing something undesirable. Explain why you are stopping him, and show him something else to do.
- Give your child lots of praise when he gets it right.
- Give your child the words for her feelings. She expresses her feelings in physical ways because she usually does not have the words or other ways to express them.
- Plan interesting things for your child to do. A toddler busy playing is less likely to act out.
- Try not to compare your toddler to other children as an ideal. Learning about different temperament types can help you understand your child (see link below).
24 months - your child is becoming more independent, exploring his world, and testing limits.
Challenging toddler behavior is normal and not a measure of your child’s “goodness” or a reflection of the care you provide.
- Provide your child lots of encouragement and praise for good behavior.
- Distract or redirect your child to another activity she is doing something undesirable. Explain why you are stopping her and show her something else to do.
- Instead of just saying no, tell him what you’d like him to do do instead.
- Offer your child real choices: “It’s nap time now; would you like to take your bear or your doll to nap with you?” or “It’s cold out today; would you like to wear your coat or your sweater?”
- Use natural or logical consequences. Natural - if your child won’t eat lunch, they will be hungry until the next regular meal time. Logical - a child running near the street is taken inside as a consequence.
- Be prompt and consistent, and follow through with fair and logical consequences.
- Ignore misbehavior aimed at getting your attention.
- If unwanted behavior persists or gets dangerous or aggressive, remove the child from the situation and offer time to cool down.
Tantrums are your child’s way of blowing off steam and getting your attention.
Don’t ignore tantrums; rather, show your child better, more appropriate ways of communicating. Here's how:
- Identify triggers. Do they occur when he's tired or hungry? Watching for the signals and stopping a tantrum before it starts is the best policy.
- Stay calm. Children take their cues from the words and body language of the person caring for them. With your body language, tell your child: “It’s OK. I’m here for you, and I love you no matter what.”
- Pay close attention. Toddlers are striving to be independent and get frustrated when they are not able to communicate or complete a task. Watch carefully, and when you see him about to get frustrated, go to him and help him solve the problem.
- Hug it out. Try holding your child during a tantrum, and hug her until she regains control. Sometimes a strong, loving hug is all it takes to calm a child having a tantrum.
- Remove your child from the situation to allow her to calm down. Sometimes she needs you to take a “time-out” with her to help her learn to calm down. Try reminding her to take a deep breath, count out loud, or blow pretend bubbles.