admin 4 - 5 years

How best to discipline children is the subject of much debate. Unfortunately, too much emphasis is often put on punishment rather than encouragement.

Yet, discipline doesn’t mean punishment. On the contrary, you’ll have more success by praising your child for her good behaviour than punishing her for actions you don’t like.

What can I do?

  • Stay calm. Don’t engage in a dispute with your child. Keep in mind that your role is to help your child learn to behave well.
  • Praise your child when she shows good behaviour.
“Good going Alice! You put all the pencils away in the box. I’m really pleased”
  • Set a consequence that’s adapted to her age and the situation.
She threw a toy? You could take it away from her. She’s slow putting on her pyjamas? Tell her there’s no time to read a book before bed.
  • Examine how you make your requests to your child.

Your requests should:

    • Be clear and specific
Lea destroys the tower her brother built, climbs on the sofa and starts jumping. You say to her firmly: “Lea, stop that at once.” But what is Lea to understand? That she should stop destroying her brother’s tower, climbing on the sofa or jumping on it?
    • Describe the expected behaviour
Rather than saying “Tidy up your room,” be specific and ask your child to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket and his toys away in the bins.
    • Be worded in an assertive way
Rather than asking “Noah, are you coming to eat supper?” say with a firm but caring tone: “Noah, come and eat supper.”
    • Be made with a time limit
“Charlotte, look at me. Charlotte, you’re going to have a bath soon. You still have 5 minutes to play with your train.”

Easy to say but not always easy to do? A little help could be useful?
Find out about the Triple P activities that are offered near you.


MSSS (2009). Les services intégrés en périnatalité et petite enfance. Favoriser le développement des enfants âgés de 1 à 5 ans. Guide d’intervention pour soutenir les pratiques parentales.