Positive Discipline

Parenting is very rewarding, but sometimes it can be very challenging. There are ups and downs, and both you and your child will make mistakes along the way. That's okay. You're not alone.

One major challenge is disciplining your child when they have demonstrated inappropriate behaviour. Positive disciplining can be an opporutnity to teach children, rather than hurt them. Here are some positive discipline techniques that can help you get through everyday behaviour challenges with your children:

Getting started

  • make your home a safe place for your child to play in and explore
  • keep forbidden and dangerous objects out of the reach of young children
  • take toys and snacks when going out
  • do not let your child get too hungry, tired or bored

Make fair and simple rules

  • set clear limits on your child’s behaviour with a few simple rules
  • focus on safety. The rules should allow children to explore and learn in a safe way



  • make sure your child understands what you expect
  • explain the reason for the rule if the child is old enough to understand
  • listen to what your child tells you


Be positive

  • focus on what to do, instead of what not to do
  • positive language makes it more likely that children will respond positively. Instead of saying “you cannot watch television until you finish your schoolwork,” try saying “you can watch television after you finish your schoolwork”


Think before you act

  • teasing, name-calling and insults can hurt as much as hitting. Do not compare your child negatively to other children

Give children time to respond

  • children do not like to stop doing things they enjoy. Give children a chance to prepare for change. For example, “in five minutes, it will be time to turn off the television and start your schoolwork”

Reward correct behaviour

  • praise and encourage your children when they behave—for example “I like it when you help your little sister”
  • show your approval with hugs, kisses and smiles
  • make sure that good behaviour gets more of your attention than bad behaviour


Be a good role model

  • live what you teach…for example—it does not make sense to hit a child for hitting someone else

Ignore minor incidents

  • learn to accept some noise, clutter and attention-seeking behaviour
  • remember…mistakes happen!