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The Discipline Armoury: Tip 1 – Consistency

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A good working example of consistency is when your normally “out of control” toddler leaves you speechless with his model behaviour at school.  This is due to the consistency of routines employed by schools and day care centers that must strictly enforce certain rules and regulations to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

There are a couple of ways you can employ consistency at home:

  • have a standard procedure for handling certain misdemeanours at home and stick to it.
  • have a fixed routine for problematic times of the day and stick to it.

When Gavin was very little, I did try to establish a certain bedtime routine in the hope that it would facilitate the process of going to bed and avoid the tantrums we had to face whenever we had to put Gavin to bed.  Unfortunately, I found that routines made it worse and that constantly changing the routine worked better because he wouldn’t realise what we were doing until he was too tired to fight.

I had long given up on the bedtime routine until some time back (probably around about the time Gavin started going to school) when I realised Gavin had stopped fighting me regarding bedtime.  We would wash up and settle into bed.  Gavin would then nurse with the lights out (something he absolutely hated, although I’m sure it was more the significance of having the lights out that he disliked rather than any real fear of the dark) until he fell asleep.

It is difficult to determine whether we could attribute his agreeable acceptance to bedtime to the routine or whether it was simply because he was older and more mature. Regardless, I was happy not to have to deal with any more meltdowns regarding bed time and sleep.

Have you use this method to manage your children?  Please share your personal experiences relating to this particular disciplinary measure – what was the situation, how well did it work, etc.

The Discipline Armoury: Tip 2 – Options


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

4 thoughts on “The Discipline Armoury: Tip 1 – Consistency

  1. We employ consistency in these situations:
    – mealtimes: child must sit in the highchair / booster seat for his meals, without any toy. Until now, this has worked well and he is carried out of the seat only on exceptionally cranky situations.
    – in the car: child must sit in the car seat. I’d prepare a whole suite of items to entertain him (stuff in the diaper bag or my handbag, toys, magazines, etc.) This has worked well too, except when he is hungry or sleepy. He refuses to fall asleep in the car seat though. Therefore, we plan car trips after he is well-fed and well-rested.


  2. Could I ask – how did you get started with the highchair/booster seat at mealtimes without a toy? Did he fuss at all or was he compliant from the start? I found that Gavin would start to protest after a while. It got to a point where he would adopt the plank pose the moment he knew he was going into the highchair. It was the same for the stroller so after a while I gave up on the stroller and just wore him out in the carrier all the time.


  3. From about 4months old, Vee sat in his highchair during our meal-times, strapped up and with maybe a toy.

    At 6 months, he sat in his highchair for his first meals, without toy, and we kept him interested in his food. He could hold a spoon or plate, just no toy.

    Then, he wanted to feed himself, so I put small pieces of food on his tray to practice his pincer grasp.

    It became the norm that highchair time is for food and cutlery, not toys. Either we set his expectations right from the start or he is easy-going when it comes to food or both.

    He usually finishes his food relatively fast (15min) and isn’t picky.


  4. Gavin started off liking the high chair and eating. It lasted for about a month plus. Then he decided he didn’t want to eat any more. In retrospect, we should have respected his wishes and backed off because he was still taking breast milk and he was obviously healthy. Unfortunately, we live with the grandparents who were immediately up in arms when Gavin wouldn’t eat solids.

    There was enormous pressure to get Gavin to eat – anything. Because he refused the “healthy foods” I offered him (he was initially eating carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes mashed with chicken stock), the unhealthy food started being offered. I was very unhappy about it but since he wouldn’t eat and I was being told off for “not caring about whether my son was eating or not”, I backed off and watched while more and more junk food was introduced.

    These days Gavin can take an hour or more to eat a quantity deemed “insufficient” by reproachful onlookers. He keeps his food in his mouth and ruminates on it like a cow. I have tried cutting the junk food out but it hasn’t improved his eating by much. He still only eats what he wants to eat and complains of tummy aches, being full, not liking the food, plus another hundred and one excuses. He says he doesn’t like dinner even before he’s even seen the food. He doesn’t like to try new things. He’ll tell you he doesn’t like it even before he has tasted it and refuses to even lick it.

    His father is also an extremely picky eater so I’m wondering whether he’s just picked up this insanely irritating gene from his Dad that makes him pick on everything in his food.

    On the whole, we’ve been pretty successful keeping Gavin seated in his chair at meal times by keeping him entertained with books and toys. We get some pretty good compliments from friends about how well behaved Gavin is because he doesn’t run around the table like other kids.

    Unfortunately, that seems to be deteriorating because he sees other kids running around and he wants to do the same. Keeping him in his chair at meal times is becoming harder.


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