Child dating rules

Decide how many times your child can misbehave before a punishment kicks in or how long the proper behavior must be seen before it is rewarded.

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As your child grows and begins to understand the connection between actions and consequences, make sure you start communicating the rules of your family's home.

Explain to kids what you expect of them before you punish them for a certain behavior.

Here are some ideas about how to vary your approach to discipline to best fit your family. So it's wise to eliminate temptations and no-nos — items such as TVs and video equipment, stereos, jewelry, and especially cleaning supplies and medicines should be kept well out of reach.

When your crawling baby or roving toddler heads toward an unacceptable or dangerous play object, calmly say "No" and either remove your child from the area or distract him or her with an appropriate activity. A child who has been hitting, biting, or throwing food, for example, should be told why the behavior is unacceptable and taken to a designated timeout area — a kitchen chair or bottom stair — for a minute or two to calm down (longer timeouts are not effective for toddlers).

As they mature and request more independence and responsibility, teaching them to deal with the consequences of their behavior is an effective and appropriate method of discipline.

For example, if your fifth grader's homework isn't done before bedtime, should you make him or her stay up to do it or even lend a hand yourself?Consistency is the key to effective discipline, and it's important for parents to decide (together, if you are not a single parent) what the rules are and then uphold them.While you become clear on what behaviors will be punished, don't forget to reward good behaviors.Whatever your child's age, it's important to be consistent when it comes to discipline.If parents don't stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren't likely to either.Experts say 1 minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb; others recommend using the timeout until the child is calmed down (to teach self-regulation).

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