If you are a parent of a one-year-old, it may feel like a blur as to how your child got this old already! But you may also be seeing them getting into everything and moving around more freely, which presents a whole new challenge to parenting. How do you set boundaries and even discipline a younger child?

The Word “Discipline” 

For far too long, the word Discipline has had a harder undertone than its original meaning. Discipline, at its core, references setting boundaries and having repercussions if those boundaries are not enforced. There is nothing inherently wrong with the word or the actions, but too often parents may hear the word discipline and think of extremes, like punishments and even abuse. Discipline and setting boundaries is normal in child-rearing, and can start as soon as you notice your child developing enough to recognize their own actions and how to control them.

When to Start

It can be hard to say for sure to begin setting boundaries with your one-year-old. Every child is different, as well as their individual household, parents, and all external activities. It may be too soon to start disciplining one child while another could already benefit from it! But you know your child the best, and if you feel that they would benefit from having some boundaries set, then go for it! Disciplining your one-year-old will help them with their life skills, and is an overall positive experience for them in terms of learning. It can also keep them safe as they will learn what is appropriate to investigate and explore and what should be left alone (like a stove, power tools, and way more!). 

Be Consistent

First and foremost, you and your partner need to stay consistent when it comes to setting boundaries and disciplining your one-year-old. If you set a boundary and they break it multiple times, but you only follow through once, then they are going to learn that the boundaries set are not always going to be set in stone, and that they break them again and again. But if you stay consistent and follow through when your one-year-old breaks that boundary line, then they will see that it is a serious matter that they should listen to and abide by. 

The same goes for consistency in the follow-through of the boundary. Make sure you are not overly punishing your child over a boundary, which can cause some fear from their actions due to the severity of the repercussions. You want to make sure your child stays safe, but make sure it is not from a fear of action either. Remember to provide a positive learning environment for them to help them learn proper boundaries and grow up well prepared!

Katie Kyzivat