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Discipline That Works! - All about Parenting Toddlers , Issue #005
February 06, 2003

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #005
6 February 2003

In This Issue:

1. Discipline That Works!
2. 10 Guidelines for Raising a Well-Behaved Child
3. 10 Fun & Fast Activities for Toddlers and Their Parents


Discipline That Works!

Have you tried all your usual discipline techniques to solve a problem with your child and nothing's worked? Using a chart may be just the fresh approach you need, according to Penny Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle, co-authors of Parenting a Child with a Behavior Problem (Lowell House Books).

When It Works: Keeping a chart, with stickers or stars to mark behavioral improvements, works well with chronic problems, like whining or messy rooms, that drive parents crazy. Among other things, Penny Paquette notes, charting teaches delayed gratification, "that you don't automatically get things because you're cute, but because you earned it and waited for it." In terms of effectiveness, charts and time-outs are polar opposites: Time out doesn't work when you use it all the time, while charts never work unless you do!

Why It Works: A chart is a "visual cue" for kids; they don't just hear complaints or praise, they can actually see change. It's a way to get them involved in the discipline strategy; they can help make the chart or perhaps choose a reward.

When It Doesn't Work: Keeping a chart can be a difficult task for kids with attention difficulties; lots of parental involvement is needed. Parents also need to assess their own schedules; if you start a chart and don't have time to keep it up, it undercuts the message that behavioral change is important. Finally, don't start 17 charts. Your child may whine, leave dirty socks lying around, and forget to do his homework, but focus on just one behavior problem at a time.

Caution: Don't promise a trip to Disney World in return for a semester's worth of completed homework assignments. Even Pokemon cards or candy bars are the wrong incentives, Paquette and Tuttle believe. The authors urge parents to use "gifts of time" to reward kids for good behavior. A family Monopoly tournament or a prized half-hour extension on bedtime send kids the message, "When you behave nicely, I want to be with you." If there are no behavioral improvements within a week, the chart is probably not having its intended effect.

Find out various ways you can use to motivate your children, increase their self-esteem and independence.



1. Whenever possible, teach rather than punish. The goal of discipline is to teach children acceptable behavior. Hitting children does not teach acceptable behavior. It teaches children that "might makes right" and hitting is a way to solve problems.

2. View childrenís misbehavior as a mistake in judgement. It will be easier to think of ways to teach more acceptable behavior.

3. Whenever possible, make consequences relate to misbehavior. If a child makes a mess, he/she should clean it up.

4. Have behavior rules but make sure they are few in number, reasonable, and appropriate to the childís age and development.

5. Make sure that consequences for misbehavior are reasonable and clear.

6. Donít argue or nag children about rules. If a rule is broken, remind the child of the rule and the consequence for not following the rule. When you give a command, speak in a firm voice and repeat the command.

7. If your child has many behaviors which concern you, donít try to change all of them at once. Choose one behavior of concern. Explain why the behavior is a problem, provide consequences for misbehavior and praise the behavior opposite of the misbehavior when your child demonstrates it.

8. . Very Important: . Distract infants and toddlers when they are doing something you donít like or remove them from the situation. Infants and toddlers do not understand right and wrong and should not be hit or shaken.

9. Use good manners when talking to children about their behavior. Be sure to use "Iím sorry", "May I?" and "Excuse me" when they are appropriate. Be a good model for your children in your speech and actions.

10. . BEST OF ALL: . Catch your child being good! Your praise will increase appropriate behavior. A hug, smile and soft words can also show approval.

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10 Fun & Fast Activities for Toddlers and Their Parents

1. Balloon Tennis (paper plate; wooden paint stir stick; craft glue; balloon) Glue the wooden stir stick to the paper plate. This is your tennis racquet. Blow up the balloon, tie the end, and let the games begin!

2. Touch and Feel Book (construction paper; glue; materials of different textures, e.g., small piece of sandpaper, cotton balls, velvet, bubble wrap, felt, wax paper, etc., stapler)Glue one textured material per page of construction paper. Staple the pages together. Have your toddler close her eyes and tell you what each feels like (rough, soft, etc.). Young children will enjoy discovering the many textures of the world around them.

3. Bread Art (white bread; food colorings; small drinking cups; milk; new paintbrush; toaster) You will need a drinking cup for each color you wish to use. Pour a small amount of milk into each cup. Add a few drops of food coloring to the cups (a different color for each). Using a paintbrush, paint designs or pictures onto the bread. Don'tsoak the bread. Use just enough "paint" for the picture to show up. Now toast the bread for edible art!

4. Animal Walk Parade (radio; silliness) First, choose your favorite animal. Form a straight line, Turn on the radio and walk the way your animal would walk. Ifyou're an elephant, use your arm as a trunk. Giraffes, stretch your neck out and hold your head up high. Birds, flap your Wings to the music.

5. "People Who Love Me" List (paper; pen or pencil) Sit down with your toddler and make a list of all the people who love her. (Parents should limit the time spent on this project because, after all, doesn't everyone love our children? This list could take hours!) When you're finished, frame the list or have it laminated, then hang it in her bedroom. Have her refer to the list whenever she feels blue.

6. No-Bake Banana Crunch Cookies (bananas; graham crackers; Ziploc baggie; butter knife; rolling pin) Place 3 or 4 graham crackers into the baggie, and gentlycrush the pieces with a rolling pin. Peel a banana, and then slice it into small circles. Drop the banana circles into the bag and shake, coating each slice with crumbs. This simple treat is sure to become a favorite!

7. Yummy Finger Painting (package of instant vanilla pudding; food coloring; muffin pan; spoon; paper plates) Prepare the pudding as directed on the package. Once it's ready, spoon the pudding into a clean muffin pan. Add drops of different food coloring to each (mix 2 different colors to make wilder colors). Stir each until the color is consistent. Now, "paint" yourself silly on the paper plates. Yummy!

8. Sun Spots (blueprint paper, available at office supply stores; small objects such as leaves, flowers, buttons, rubber bands, keys, etc.; clipboard; lots of sunshine) First, attach a piece of blueprint paper to the clipboard. Place a collection of small objects onto the paper. Leave space between objects when arranging. Set the clipboard and its contents outside in direct sunlight for several minutes. Bring your project inside and remove all of the objects. Beautiful artwork compliments of the sun!

9. Sheet Murals (white bed sheet or pillow case; tempera paint; squirt bottles such as a clean ketchup or mustard container, or clean spray bottle; water). Hang your canvas (sheet or pillow case) on a clothesline. Fill the squirt bottles with water and just enough paint to color the water and not clog the spray. Shake well to mix. Now stand a few feet away from the sheet and spray your art! *Note: If you're doing this project indoors, be sure to put down a sheet of plastic to protect the floors.

10. Colored Ice (plastic ice tray; water; different colors of food coloring; freezer). Fill the ice tray with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to each square, and then freeze. This may help children who don't drink enough water. Add a few cubes of colored ice to their bath water for even more fun!

Toys for all Ages

For more activities for toddlers, Click Here or refer to Past Issues for Ideas on creating toys from recycled household items. ___________________________________________________________

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All the best,

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