Whether you’re a first-time parent or have multiple children, parenting preschoolers can be tough. As your Long Island preschool, we wanted to share some insight on discipline strategies recommended by teachers, as they have developed the skills to stop conflict in its tracks and help their students feel encouraged in the process.
We’re sharing five discipline strategies recommended by preschool teachers to help you in your parenting journey. Discipline shouldn’t be seen as punishment, but rather as a way to teach your preschooler what is acceptable and what is not.
1) Ask them to help make the rules.
Whether you’re at home talking about chores or in the classroom talking about how we treat one another, your preschooler will love the independence that comes from helping with the rules. Giving them some ownership over rules and expectations can help during the disciplinary process as they had a hand in creating them in the first place.
2) Get down to their level.
While it can be easier to discipline from above, it can turn the conversation into one that is scary or intimidating rather than helpful and positive. Being at eye level with your preschooler makes it a more cooperative environment rather than one that is threatening or negative. Discipline is all about guidance, which is why it’s important to use body language to remind your preschooler that you’re on their team.
3) Be direct in your interactions and explain your reasoning.
If you find your preschooler isn’t listening or wants to be in charge, be direct in what you’re asking them to do. Being assertive in your directions while using a firm and positive tone helps them to recognize that you’re in charge and you make the decisions. This also leaves no room for your preschooler to misinterpret what you’re saying. After you give instructions, explain your reasoning…but be sure to keep it simple!
4) Discipline immediately.
While this may not always be pleasant, especially if something happens outside of the home, waiting to discipline will confuse your child. They need immediate discipline for actions, as they are not yet mature enough to connect the dots for future or past events. This is also true if you threaten to cancel an event that is days away because of their behavior days before. Your preschooler will not understand and it can leave them confused.
5) Try a “time in” rather than a “time out.”
Preschoolers may respond negatively to time outs that are spent alone and alienated. Try to implement areas in your home or classroom that will allow the child to be alone to cool down, yet not removed from the environment as a whole. Areas where there are books to look at, quiet toys, or puzzles are a great way to separate the preschooler and allow them to diffuse after a stressful situation.
Which of these strategies has worked best for your preschooler? We’d love to hear.
If you’re looking for a Long Island preschool for your child, consider Habitots to help your child feel right at home and supported as they learn and grow.