Parents Zone

Methods of Disciplining Children

Parenting Tips

January 2024

Written by: Ms. Chan-Chen Shu-an, Early Childhood Education Specialist


Parents often wonder if there is an effective method for disciplining children. Drawing from personal experience, the author has gathered practical discipline methods to share with parents, hoping to assist them in disciplining children with different personalities.


  • Diversion Method


Young children are easily influenced by external factors. When a child cries incessantly or insists on holding onto something, instead of engaging in a struggle, try using the diversion method. For example, if a child is crying non-stop, you can try pointing to the sky and saying, “Look, a big airplane is flying towards us.” Similarly, if a child is adamant about buying something in a toy store and refuses to leave, instead of pulling back and forth, say, “Look over there, some new and interesting toys,” diverting their attention so they are no longer insistent.


  • Diversion Method


Use the method of channeling water like Great Yu. Instead of blocking and resisting, it’s better to divert and open up. For example, with an energetic child, instead of forcing them to sit quietly and study, let them go outside to play ball, ride a bike, or take a walk before returning home to sit down and do homework. For a child who enjoys scribbling with a pen, instead of scolding and prohibiting, give them paper to draw on, satisfying their interest in drawing.

  • Venting Method


If a child enjoys hitting others, let them hammer nails, play with a ball, or knead clay to release their energy. For a child who loves to talk, teach them to sing, recite nursery rhymes, or take them outdoors or to a sports field to shout and jump, releasing their emotions. Children’s activities should be varied, as human growth is multifaceted. Being stuck at home studying all day can turn a child into a dull and lifeless individual. Therefore, extracurricular activities are crucial for a child’s healthy development.


  • Ignoring Method


Some children intentionally engage in behavior that displeases others, such as crying incessantly, refusing to eat, or making strange gestures, to gain attention from their parents. Parents can try the ignoring method, turning away without acknowledging the behavior, or adopting an indifferent attitude. The child may lose interest and stop the unwanted behavior.


  • Encouragement and Praise Method


Smiling encouragement or gently patting the head and cheeks are wonderful forms of positive spiritual encouragement and praise that children willingly accept as discipline methods. For example, if a child puts away toys neatly, you can notice and praise them by saying, “Very good.” The child will feel satisfied and strive to do even better next time. When a child joyfully brings home a drawing, if the mother appreciates it with a smile, the child’s sense of accomplishment and satisfaction will encourage them to work even harder next time and seek improvement. Parents’ encouragement, support, and positive attitudes have a significant impact on a child’s learning and personal development!

  • Indirect Method


The so-called “blame the cat, scold the dog” method is particularly effective for introverted, sensitive children with a strong sense of self-esteem who often cannot accept direct criticism and correction. When dealing with these children, it is best to use an indirect approach. This involves criticizing or pointing out someone else’s mistakes (which are actually the same mistakes the child made) as a hint. For example, to encourage a child to brush their teeth daily, you can start by saying, “The neighbor’s child has dirty and unsightly teeth because they refuse to brush. Your sensitive child might start brushing their teeth every day as a result, which is more effective than directly scolding them.


  • Isolation Method


Humans cannot live independently, and children are unwilling to be isolated. This method is particularly effective for children over the age of four who may be too disruptive or mischievous. If a child is causing too much trouble, try using the isolation method. Ask them to stand aside or move their chair away to sit quietly. Allow them to rejoin group activities only when they show remorse. At home, you can ask them to reflect quietly in their room (even if they cry or make a fuss, maintain an attitude of ignoring them). This temporary loss of freedom method is often very effective.

Parents Zone

Besides having fun, what else is there to travel for?

Parenting Tips

January 2024

The new school year has begun, and children can happily return to school. I wonder how everyone spent their recent summer vacation? Some parents choose to take a long holiday with their children, both for quality family time and to relax and unwind. Do you have any other reasons?


Some may say that traveling can broaden a child’s horizons. Indeed, ‘traveling ten thousand miles is better than reading ten thousand books.’ If children have firsthand experiences, it’s believed that they can have a deeper understanding of the knowledge they acquire. For example, when children learn about the ‘Great Wall of China,’ visiting the site can make them truly appreciate the greatness of this architectural wonder in human civilization. When I choose travel destinations, I also consider whether they align with my daughter’s learning materials. For instance, when she’s studying different types of animals, I incorporate visits to zoos during our travels, allowing her to interact with various animals, which is far better than just learning from books or TV.

I value the few days spent traveling because it provides an extended period of quality time for my daughter and me. By observing carefully, you can gain a deeper understanding of your child. When my daughter was younger, I paid special attention to the following aspects during our travels:


(1) How she interacts with strangers:


During our travels, my child encounters different unfamiliar people. How does she behave? Does she proactively greet elders? Can she respond politely and appropriately to their questions? Does she initiate play with children her age? How does she handle potential disputes? I like to observe from the sidelines, and in the evenings, I share and praise her for her good behavior that day, encouraging her to do even better the next day.


(2) Her self-reliance:


Since there is more leisure time during travel, and there’s no rush against the clock, it’s an opportunity to foster a child’s self-reliance. For instance, I have my daughter carry her own little travel suitcase with her personal belongings. I observe whether she can handle her personal items properly and whether she can pack her belongings neatly when leaving a hotel or heading to another attraction. When needed, I offer guidance or assistance as appropriate.

In fact, cultivating children’s character and self-reliance doesn’t necessarily require taking a plane to travel abroad. What I want to emphasize is that character development shouldn’t be confined to a theoretical level, and simply lecturing can have counterproductive effects. Therefore, character development should be practiced in everyday life. In reality, as long as there is ample quality time spent with children, more companionship, and careful observation of their daily behavior, offering guidance or assistance when needed, even just going for a walk in the countryside can achieve the same objectives without much difficulty.

Parents Zone

How to cultivate a positive learning attitude in young children from an early age?

Parenting Tips

January 2024

Source: Dr. LAU Yee-hung, Associate Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education


Many parents hope that their children will develop a love for learning from a young age. However, children don’t automatically develop a liking for learning; it requires parents to gradually nurture them, bit by bit.


Encouraging Children in Interactions


Children won’t initially learn to persevere on their own. It’s the parents’ responsibility to encourage them to persist in the process, instilling in them an anticipation of success. When a child succeeds, parents can review the past with them, allowing the child to feel the valuable outcomes achieved through perseverance and encouraging them to continue exhibiting positive behavior.


Providing Intrinsic Motivation


Often, children need some motivation to excel in certain tasks. Parents should emphasize what the child gains without making comparisons, such as satisfying their sense of achievement, enjoying the process of effort, and receiving appreciation from parents. This helps children experience the joy of learning and establishes intrinsic motivation, enabling them to engage in learning activities willingly from the heart.

Parents set a good example


Learning knows no age limits, and parents can demonstrate proactive learning and curiosity in front of their children. For instance, parents can learn to cook new dishes online, expressing to their children that, even if they don’t understand initially, they persevere and learn from various sources. Even if the outcome isn’t delicious, they commit to improving next time. Allowing children to see their parents’ initiative and curiosity in learning through real examples is much more effective than mere verbal instruction.


There are no children who don’t love learning; there are only parents who don’t know how to teach their children to learn. A love for learning is inherent in children. Correctly instilling a positive learning attitude in children, can only be achieved through the parents’ persistence and continuous efforts, reinforcing the child’s motivation for learning through various everyday experiences.