It struck me recently that I've never met a parent who doesn't use time-outs, and never met a preschool teacher who does. So what discipline strategies do teachers recommend?
17. Redirect. If your preschooler is jumping on the couch or grabbing for her big sister's dolls, distract her by asking if she'd like to draw a picture or read a short story together.
18. Prevent good-bye meltdowns. If your child is nervous about spending time apart, give him something tangible to remind him of you. Let him carry your picture; kiss a tissue or cut out a paper heart and put it in his pocket. Having something physical to touch may help him feel less anxious -- and short-circuit a tantrum.
19. Involve her in righting her wrongs. If you find her coloring on the walls, have her help wash it off. If she knocks over a playmate's block tower, ask her to help rebuild it.
20. Don't delay discipline. If you must reprimand your child, do so when you see her misbehaving, advises Buss. "Sometimes I will hear parents say, 'Wait until we get home ... ,' but by the time you're home, your child has forgotten the incident." Similarly, canceling Saturday's zoo trip because of Thursday's tantrum won't prevent future outbursts; it will just feel like random, undeserved punishment to your child.
Maguerite Lamb, a mom of two, is a writer in Glastonbury, CT.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2006.
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