Positive/Creative Discipline Techniques

Change the environment

Changing the environment around the child can miraculously change the child’s behaviour. Here is another example:

Scenario: a child does not want to sit at the dinner table to eat.

Assess whether the child is really hungry and likes the food offered.

Read a story while the child is eating.

Make sure you sit down too.

Sit the three bears around the child’s table to join in the meal time fun!

Create inspiring places to eat; picnics, cubbies under the table, and the park.

Cover a cloth on the child’s chair to be a king or queen at the table with a crown.

Bring a toy to the table: “Hello I am Edward the train, I want to watch you eat your lovely sandwich, I will sit right here next to your plate”.

Stick paper to the table and leave out some crayons for scribbling mealtime fun.

Make meal times enjoyable and sacred for your child by introducing a mealtime candle and blessing – remember your child can snuff the candle at the end.

Can you think of ways to change the environment at bed time, in the car, bath time and more? My book, Turning Tears into Laughter, has many examples where changing the environment can help with a child’s challenging behaviour.

Redirection, the best way…

‘Creative Discipline’ is a bag of useful tools for those trying moments that naturally occur with all young children. Redirection is one of eight ‘Creative Discipline’ techniques that can positively transform challenging moments; whilst parent and child remain connected together.

Isolate the ‘action’ a child is displaying and redirect the ‘action’ into a safe and positive play idea.

Scenario: a young child is running inside at a social gathering

“Can you run to that tree and back three times in the garden? I will watch from the window. Outside is where you can run”.

Scenario: a young child is banging on the window with a hard object (makes a lovely sound!)

“We bang on a drum, let’s tap on a saucepan with a wooden spoon. This is how we tap, well done, not on the window”.

Redirect to a whole new activity, when trying moments occur. Redirection can also quickly change a child’s mood.

Scenario: a child is tired but do not want to rest (‘niggles’ will follow!)

Throw a big bed sheet or bedspread over the kitchen table to make a cosy den underneath with cushions and books.

Start reading a story to big teddy on your bed, your child will soon follow.

Scenario: a child is upset, waiting for tea

“Look at that bird in the tree; it sounds like it is calling your name. Listen, Roger, Roger…!” Redirect to something new (children live in the moment!).

Redirect by saying the ‘positive’ way to behave, rather than “Stop…” “No…” Children are more open to being guided in this way (even teenagers!). Each time your child displays a challenging behaviour is an opportunity to guide (redirect) your child on how to live in this world.

Scenario: Children are walking in mud on the way to the classroom (teaching)

“Stay on the path!”, rather than “Keep off the mud!” It is subtle but children respond to the positive way to behave (with less defensiveness), and learn what to do next time.

Play a game

Games can be a magic wand to achieving tasks with your child.

Scenario: a child does not want to put PJ’s on

Pretend you are the PJ’s: “Oh please put me on, I wait all day on your bed and I get so excited at bedtimes to be useful. I just love a little arm going in here and a leg here”.

Allow a choice

A choice between two selected items can help a child comply. This allows children their own power, but the two choices are controlled by the parents. A very helpful tool when dressing and for snack time!

Scenario: a child is asking for an inappropriate snack item whilst shopping

Offer a different choice of two healthy items. If the child still asks for the first unhealthy snack repeat the choice of two. If he or she continues to refuse state the two choices or nothing at all!

Scenario: a child does not want to put a dressing gown on in winter time

Offer a choice of the dressing gown or a jumper (even a dress up option; cape, cloak, poncho or ‘armour’).

The above consist of a few examples covered in ‘Turning Tears into Laughter: Creative Discipline for the Toddler and Preschool Years’. There are many other techniques, tips, photos and real life stories between the pages. Go to  to Books to place your order.