Best Discipline Methods for Children Between the Ages 3 Years to 5 Years

Parenting naturally includes directing children’s conduct, according to Michigan State University Extension. Children can grasp instructions, develop memory, and detect other people’s emotions, such as anger, happiness, and sadness, when they are three or older. Establishing family standards for young children can be challenging and requires patience, consistency, and careful consideration of the lesson the parent is trying to impart (Rachel Meyers, 2023). 

It is beneficial if there are two to three at a time when laying out guidelines or expectations for a child to follow. This helps the child avoid feeling overwhelmed while enabling the parent to be consistent.

Discipline Techniques for Children Between the Ages 3 Years to 5 Years

According to the University of Missouri Extension, Parents can start by taking preventative steps like being open and regular, setting up a safe atmosphere, showing interest in their child’s play, getting them toys that are age-appropriate, giving them options, and focusing on the desirable outcome (Rachel Meyers, 2023). It is crucial to notice when kids behave well, educate them about how their actions affect other people, and set a good example.

Parents should pause and consider whether their child misbehaves when they notice inappropriate behavior. Is the child able to fulfill the demands placed upon them? The kid knew it was wrong, right? After hearing their comments, the parent can decide which strategy to use to control the child’s conduct (Duong et al., 2021). Some standard discipline techniques to apply to children include natural consequences, logical consequences, fix, Timeout, and Redirection.

Natural Consequences Technique

Instead of administering punishments or prizes, the natural consequences method of discipline entails letting kids experience the repercussions or consequences of their activities. Natural consequences follow a child’s behavior and do not require parental intervention. Nature, society, or another individual imposes these. A person does not impose a natural consequence on their child; instead, they enable nature or society to do so by refraining from interfering.

This strategy teaches kids to accept responsibility for their actions and grow from their mistakes. It is crucial to remember that natural consequences should not be applied when a child’s safety or well-being is in danger. To protect the child in these situations, parents or other adults who are responsible for them should act right away. Instead of letting your child suffer the repercussions uninvited, it is crucial to talk to them and explain the possible effects of their behavior when employing natural consequences (Duong et al., 2021). This can assist children in making the connection between their actions and the results that result. Ultimately, using natural consequences can be a successful and constructive method of punishment that teaches kids important lessons and encourages them to take responsibility for their behavior.

Logical Consequences Technique

The second discipline strategy for children between 3-5 years is logical consequences. The logical outcomes of a child’s interactions with others or property are called logical consequences. Following through on logical consequences means that the adult guides the youngster to take responsibility for any harm caused or damage done (Leijten et al., 2019). The youngster will learn that every action has a response. Children two and older should be exposed to logical consequences. Safety and monitoring are crucial for parents and individuals in parental roles with newborns. Children use all five senses—touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight—to learn about and comprehend the world and the things around them. A person must establish a secure exploring environment (Leijten et al., 2019). Another important aspect of this strategy is placing board books and toys suitable for infants close to the parent. To prevent harmful circumstances, a parent or guardian should closely check their child and refocus their attention. Instead of merely punishing children for misbehaving, the overall objective of using logical consequences as a disciplined approach is to assist children in learning from their errors and accepting responsibility for their deeds (Leijten et al., 2019). Parents and other adults caring for children can help them build up a sense of responsibility and become more mature, self-reliant adults by applying logical consequences.

Redirecting Approach Technique

The third discipline technique for parents is the redirecting approach. Parents can use the redirection method to teach kids what constitutes appropriate behavior and how to control it (Ward et al., 2022). Redirection is a traditional kind of punishment that is particularly effective with young children who may only sometimes understand or pay attention to reason and reasoning. It promotes good behavior, avoids damage, lessens punishment, and fosters learning and discovery. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 do not comprehend what the word “no” means or why they are not allowed to do something. At this age, parents must teach their children what appropriate behavior is. If a youngster strikes, for instance, the parent may reroute the child to a different subject, place, or activity. Parents can refocus their child’s behavior by putting out some kid-friendly crafts or a game (Ward et al., 2022). To reroute the inappropriate conduct, parents can also offer leading inquiries. For instance, parents can inquire about their plans for the rest of the day. Consequently, this method of discipline transforms a terrible circumstance into a good one. Redirections accomplish this while still quietly correcting your child, conveying to them that what they are doing is unacceptable, and offering them an illustration of conduct that is more appropriate. In general, children react better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.

Timeout Discipline Method

Lastly, parents or guardians can apply the timeout as a discipline technique. When a child misbehaves, one can give them a timeout and remove them from the situation. In a timeout, a child is isolated from all entertaining activities and receives no attention. They cannot speak to her parents or anyone else during this time. Misbehavior can be stopped via timeouts and the suspension or withdrawal of privileges. Parents should also avoid expressing anger or annoyance when putting a child in timeout and instead use a calm, neutral tone. Instead of being used as a form of discipline, timeouts are a tool to teach kids how to behave appropriately. It is crucial to remember that not all kids or circumstances call for a timeout. A timeout may not be helpful for certain behaviors, such as aggressive or destructive behavior, or for children with specific developmental or behavioral disorders. When considering whether to utilize timeout as a method of discipline, parents should consider their child’s unique needs and temperament.


In conclusion, discipline should aim to teach and guide the child instead of just punishing him for wrongdoing. Positive reinforcement, open communication, and a caring and supportive relationship between the parent or caregiver and the kid can facilitate effective discipline. Parents must consider several things to choose an effective method of child discipline. While adopting a disciplinary strategy, parents should first consider the child’s age and developmental stage. For instance, a timeout might work for a child between 3 and 5 but not for newborns. The child’s temperament should also be considered because some kids may respond better to praise, while others require more structure and limitations. Also, earlier actions of the youngster should be considered. A new strategy could be required if a youngster repeatedly engages in certain behaviors.


Duong, H. T., Monahan, J. L., Kollar, L. M. M., & Klevens, J. (2021). Identifying knowledge, self-efficacy and response efficacy of alternative discipline strategies among low-income Black, Latino and White parents. Health education research36(2), 192-205.

Rachel Meyers, M.S.U.E. (2023Leijten, P., Gardner, F., Melendez-Torres, G. J., Van Aar, J., Hutchings, J., Schulz, S., … & Overbeek, G. (2019). Meta-analyses: Key parenting program components for disruptive child behavior. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry58(2), 180-190.). Discipline for 3-5-Year-Olds, MSU Extension. Available at: (Accessed: March 9, 2023).

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