Tag Archives: rules

Sample Tip from the CDC: Using Consequences

On the new CDC website on Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers, they offer these 5 steps for using consequences as a discipline tool.

1: Identify the behavior. Be specific about what is wrong. So, instead of “be gentle”, say “you are being too rough with those toys when you crash them together like that.”

2. Give a warning. Let them know the behavior needs to change, and if it doesn’t, there will be a consequence. (Make sure you pick a consequence you’re willing to enforce!) If-then statements work well: “If you keep crashing your toys, then I will put them away for a while.”

3. Give a consequence. If they behave well, give a positive consequence, like praising them or playing with them. If they continue to misbehave, follow through on the negative consequence that you set.

4. Tell them why. Explain the action, but keep it brief – now’s not the time for a lot of talk. “You were rough with your toys, and I’m afraid they will break, so I need to take them away from you for the next five minutes.”

5. Go back to positive communication. After the consequence is complete, let go of what happened, and return to positive communication and positive expectations for your child. “The five minutes are up, and I can see that you are being gentle with your other toys, so I will give those toys back to you. You are welcome to play with them gently.”

Want more info on discipline? Check out my tips here.



The Centers for Disease Control has launched a new service called Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers. The major topics covered are: communicating with your child, creating structure and rules, giving directions, using discipline and consequences, and using time out. It includes tips on each topic, advice from experts, and videos that show real-life scenarios of how tips can be put into practice. all are clear, simple, and easy to implement.

You may find you don’t agree with all their recommendations. If so, just take what works for you as a parent, and ignore the rest. Or you may find that you need to adapt their ideas for what works for you and for your child. Whether or not a discipline technique is effective depends on

1) whether the parent can use it confidently and consistently

2) whether it is a good match for the child’s temperament

For example, I did not find timeout effective with my older daughter. Trying to put her into time-out would escalate a minor discipline issue into a huge power struggle. A logical consequence like taking a toy away from her for a while worked much better. For my son, although I don’t put him in a chair by himself for timeout as shown on the CDC website, I do definitely remove him from situations when he is behaving inappropriately. Spending a few minutes in my arms, or sitting quietly away from the situation helps him calm himself down and return to good behavior.

Find the CDC site at www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/index.html