5 Steps To Coordinate Discipline With Caregivers

Discipline is effective when all caregivers are consistent with limit setting

Discipline is not effective without consistent limit setting and consequences by all caregivers, not just mom and dad. This includes nannies, babysitters, daycare providers, teachers and family members who provide consistent child care. Consistency is one of the most important aspects in addressing childhood behavior issues.

Discipline is most effective when it comes from a positive place. Discipline is about encouraging and coaching your child.

Children want and need limits; it allows them to feel safe. Children who are disciplined gain a solid sense of right and wrong and want to behave. Discipline is not yelling, spanking or talking down to a child. This type of behavior instills fear, models aggression and teaches children that you are not in control.

How to stay consistent with discipline:

1. Choose your limits: Children need and want limits. They also also need and want to explore their environment. Pick and choose your limits. Set limits on inappropriate behavior, such as biting, hitting and engaging in unsafe behavior. Setting too many limits will hold your child back from exploring and make you feel like a task master. Choose what limits mean the most to you and then allow your child a lot of freedom to explore within those limits.

2. Stay consistent. It is confusing to children when parents or caregivers change the rules.

Children thrive when they know what will happen if they behave a certain way. This does not mean they won't test you, they will! When your son is looking at you while he ventures near the dog's water bowl, it is because he knows that is off limits; he is testing you. Set your limits and stay consistent.

 Changing the rules confuses children and makes them feel unsafe. 

3. Be patient. Raising children is all about patience. This is easier for some and may require practice, but believe in yourself that patience is attainable. When your child engages in behavior you do not like, it is important to react in a calm patient matter. Losing your patience, yelling or reacting in a harsh manner will show your child that his behavior elicits a reaction from you, albeit a negative one. 

4. Expect challenges. Your child will challenge you even if you are consistent so expect it. Your child may also have weeks where he tests a limit he usually does not now. Be patient and know that this behavior is a temporary regression. Giving in to whining and tantrums might feel like the easy solution in the moment, but will make your life harder in the future.

5. Get everyone on board. Parents should talk about their discipline methods and discuss it with caregivers. Many nannies and daycare teaches have years of experience working with kids so solicit their opinion. Consistency is the key to effective discipline, especially if a behavior problem arises. Your partner and your child's teachers, coaches, caregivers, and grandparents can all reinforce your efforts to stop problem behaviors.

If all caregivers respond to behaviors in a similar manner, it can increase the plans effectiveness.

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