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Discipline and Separation

How can I help my child handle separation anxiety?

  • Tell your child good-bye each time you leave. This helps the child to obtain a sense of security because they then know that their parents are about to leave, but that they will come back to pick them up.
  • Maintain a good-bye ritual so that the child knows that you are leaving and is not confused or upset.
  • Listen to the feelings of your child and do not disregard their emotions.
  • Make sure your childcare provider makes the child feel as comfortable as possible by establishing a warm, welcoming environment.

For more information, see IS1654 When You Are Away From Your Child 


How should I discipline my child?

All children misbehave sometimes. This can happen for many reasons. The child may be hungry, tired, sick, bored or scared. It is important to learn how to handle behavior problems in a positive way.

Discipline vs. Punishment

There is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is guidance. It guides children toward positive behaviors, and teaches a child to think before acting. Punishment is any type of control behavior, such as hitting or spanking. It doesn't teach children discipline. It only stops misbehavior for the moment.

How to Handle Behavior Problems

  • Explain the reason for discipline
  • Set limits. Make sure the children know what is expected of them.
  • Be positive. Tell children what you want them to do rather than what you do not want them to do.
  • Be a good role model. Practice the behavior you want them to master.
  • Respect the child. Use words that do not reduce self-esteem.
  • Redirect the child's attention. Lead the child to begin a new activity.
  • Give choices. Allow the children to make small choices to give them a sense of importance.
  • Be firm, but calm. Firmly state to the child what needs to be done and keep your cool.
  • Plan ahead. Try to avoid situations that will lead to trouble.
  • Establish consequences. Allow the children to face reasonable consequences to prevent the same behavior from happening again.
  • Praise the children. Tell the children when they have done a good job.

For more information, check out the following publications:

IS1460 Disciplining Your Child
IS1257 Discipline: Love and Limits
IS1258 When Discipline Fails


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Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting February 17, 2022

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Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, MSU Extension Head Start December 1, 2021

The Mississippi State University Extension Service Head Start program is hiring for various positions in Harrison County. Head Start needs qualified candidates to fill positions including lead teachers, assistant teachers, a project coordinator, an educational leader, a floater, an administrative assistant, an office associate, an assistant cook and a custodian.


Monday, November 11, 2019 - 7:00am
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 7:00am
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 7:00am

Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

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Extension Professor
Child and Family Development, Child and Family Well-Being, Child Care-Giver Training, Parenting Educ
Portrait of Dr. Alisha Marie Hardman
Associate Professor
Family Life Specialist, Extension Program Planning and Evaluation
Portrait of Ms. Jamila B. Taylor
Director, Head Start & EHS Prg