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There are many different ways to discipline a child and many children respond differently to each method. the most popular one that i have used as a nanny is a time out. This usually works on children that are two years and above because they tend to understand more, but you can try it on a one and a half year old. If you have kids that are over four years old a time out tends to become old and they wont listen, so the best way to discipline them would be by taking their favorite toy away or maybe taking tv privileges away for a day or two or it could be any fun activity that they love to do. Never underestimate a child, i have worked with children for six years and trust me they are very intelligent and know how to manipulate you, so when you discipline your child/children make sure you show them how serious you are by keeping to your word that if they misbehave they will reap the consequences.
I agree with 'nanny' but would also add, be consistent. Don't threaten a consequence and not see it through. Use time outs appropriately, a minute for every year (eg. 3 years, old 3 minutes) or they forget why they are being disciplined. I'm from the school of never hitting a child. It only teaches them to react with violence when they don't get their way. After they have finished their punishment, make sure you drop it there, nothing else need be said; make sure you show them you love them in spite of their behavior. Kids will respond as you do, no yelling, just calmly explain the consequence and why they are being punished. Children mimic their parents, be careful what you teach them. Every child is different, treat them as individuals.
I think the first thing to try is diverting their attention. If that doesn't work, I usually "ground" them, which they hate. In younger children, and with situations where danger may be involved, you may have to physical move them to the place you want them to go. If they are throwing a tantrum, wait for the tantrum to pass. Always be very careful when physically moving them, especially during tantrums. I also wrote a hub on parenting, you should check it out!
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