Have you ever threatened your child with some dire consequence if you had to count to 3? You probably have, since most parents have.
Believe it or not, when done properly, counting can be an effective tool in the discipline arsenal.
But there are some things you must keep in mind.
First, never count except in whole numbers. Either a child’s act or failure to act is worth a whole number step up, or it isn’t. Do not get in the habit of counting by halves or quarters or any other fraction.
Second, be consistent. If you have established a consequence for a behavior, you must use it. If you do not, your child will know that counting is just talk. As with every type of discipline, your child must know that you are serious.
Third, do you know that you can be flexible. If your child behavior or actions warrant it, you can go back to a previous number. Say, for example, you began counting because your child hadn’t cleaned his room.
If your child does a really good job, you might go back to zero. You do not have to always start at one; certain infractions may be significant enough that you can begin the count at 2 or at a higher number depending on the level at which consequences ensue.
You can start over each time you count, or if you have to count a second time during the day, you can pick up where you left off. Just make sure your child knows the rules, and you apply them consistently.