Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Our expert Melanie Daniels, a preschool teacher from Cape Town, explains that consistency is the key to preventing and controlling your child’s behaviour.
Children between the ages of two and four commonly develop a range of bad habits from repeating bad language to shouting, hitting, throwing tantrums, spitting and more. Parents often complain that these habits are embarrassing, difficult to handle and difficult to curb.
Daniels advises parents to start by addressing the issue clearly. As soon as the behaviour has occurred, take the child aside immediately, get on their level and explain that it was unacceptable. Establish a ‘naughty corner’ or ‘think about it’ chair in a corner away from stimulation and fun activities, but close enough by so that you can keep an eye on the child.
Leave the child there for as many minutes as the years they are old (e.g. one year = one minute). Once the time has elapsed, go back down to their level, reiterate what happened, explain once again that it was unacceptable and then ask the child how they feel.
Be consistent in your reactions to the bad behaviour and always follow through when you make a threat. Lastly, always stay calm!
Melanie Daniels (42) is a preschool teacher at St. Cyprian’s School for girls in Cape Town. She has taught the three- to four-year-old grade 000s since 2005. She has two boys of her own aged nine and 13.
BY PETA DANIEL. IMAGE: PIXABAY.