Discipline comes from the Latin word disciple for pupil (Wiktionary, 2019).  It means to teach or guide children so that children learn how to behave in society (Pantley, 2007).

An example of a discipline technique is to give young children two choices that you are okay with (Pantley, 2007).  It may be two choices of clothes, two outfits that you like, or two drinks to have with lunch.  “Would you like apple juice or milk?”  Notice that you don’t ask, “Do you want apple juice, milk, or chocolate milk” because the child will pick chocolate milk every time.  You’re not okay with that so don’t give it as an option.  Give two choices that you’re okay with.  More than two choices may be overwhelming.  One choice, isn’t a choice, it’s a command.  With two choices children feel like they get to choose and have some say over their own body.  They will be happy and you’ll be happy because it’s something you wanted too.  Other discipline tips include having rules but not too many and picking and choosing your battles (Pantley, 2007).  

Techniques such as discussing, compromising, and negotiating can help children feel involved and know why things are happening.  Just like my students who want to understand why I assign papers and quizzes, children want to understand why they should do something.  When children take part in establishing the rules they have higher self-esteem and they feel more control over their lives (Gordon, 1989).

If you notice a child’s behavior is getting worse you can change activities and scenery.  When I notice children are starting to misbehave I take them outside and it usually stops the behavior.  They may have been bored or needed more activity but the change of scenery often helps. 


Gordon, T. (1989). Discipline that works: Promoting self-discipline in children. New York, NY: Plume.

Pantley, E. (2007). The no-cry discipline solution: Gentle ways to encourage good behavior without whining, tantrums & teas. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Wiktionary (2019). Discipline. Retrieved from https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/discipline