Alternative to Punishment #6: Use a Physical Example

~ By Ashley Ryan

Children learn well with physical examples instead of always using words.

So if your three year-old is dumping sugar on the table. First, find out
what their legitimate need is by asking a question, then offer an alternative
with words, AS WELL AS a physical demonstration.

Here’s a real-life example of how we used this once with our son, when
he started dumping sugar on the table…

“Oh, what a great idea, I see that you’re interested in the sugar.
Here’s some flour that we can use in the sink.” 

I then scooped up my son and carried him to the sink to continue
with flour. By lifting him lovingly and carrying him to the sink, I am
showing him at the same time as using words.

Another example…
Your child is tracking their muddy boots on the floor. You can assess
the situation and express your feelings about it: “Oh my goodness,
I just cleaned the floor and I don’t want mud on it, why don’t
we take off your boots together.”

Then you would warmly scoop your child into your arms and bring them to the door in your arms.
You can even run quickly, and bounce them on the way, to make it fun.
Then you can take his boots off together.

Remember, have fun!

Children learn more with physical actions than with words. So
if you’re explaining something to your little one and you can add
action, it will be more effective. Move them from a chair to the
floor, from the playroom to the potty.

Do what you need to do in order to demonstrate what you’re talking about.


When your child is doing something you don’t want her to do, offer
an alternative, and show her physically.

For example, if your young child is going to pull another child’s hair,
you can say something like:
“Mommy doesn’t want you to pull on Lindsey’s hair because it will
hurt her, you can play with this instead (offering her a toy)”.

Try it and see!

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