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It’s probably safe to say that we all want our children to be kind, show respect and share nicely. And it’s down to us - we are our child’s first teacher - but how can we teach them how to behave in this way? I think as a parent, one of our greatest fears is that we’ll screw this up.


There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about this, so we asked Nanny Louenna to share her top tips for 3-5 year old children:

Just say No.
Don’t be scared of parenting, or of saying no for fear of hurting your child’s feelings or ruining your friendship bond. By giving children everything they want, we make them miserable, greedy and unlikeable.

Have Rules and Stick to Them.
My rules are that we eat well, sleep well, have good manners and be kind to others.

Be Firm and Fair but Don’t Negotiate.
We don’t want to constantly say no. If your child knows what your rules are, they won’t even need to ask. Be firm and fair and make sure you’re always reasonable. No should mean no, not maybe. Don’t let the situation go on and don’t negotiate.

Be Consistent.
Children must know your reaction will be the same every time in that situation. For example, if a parent laughs at a behaviour one day, then tells the child off the next for the same thing the next day, this can be very confusing for them.

When They Hit You.
If you are holding your child when they hit you, put them down on the floor and tell them in a stern manner that you are very upset and they must never hit anyone. Ask them to apologise and don’t pick them up until the moment is completely over.

Let Them be Silly and Loud Sometimes.
I try to let the children be as free as possible to use up all the energy they have so they don’t start climbing the walls. Fresh air has a big positive impact on children’s behaviour, so try and let them run and shout and be silly when they can so when behaviour does matter, you can ask them to stop jumping around without feeling guilty.

Don’t Scare Them.
We want their individual personalities to shine through so they develop in to the characters they are. Your children should never be scared of you or wonder what your reaction will be.

Stop Problems Before They Happen
Consider your child’s situation: if they are overtired they’ll be irritable, and if they are hungry they will probably act up. Try and put yourself in your child’s shoes and always think ahead so these situations don’t arise.

Always Give a Reason
Explain to your child why they can’t have / do something so they know you are being reasonable – there should always be a reason.


Nanny Louenna on DisciplineHaving graduated from the prestigious Norland College over 15 years ago, Louenna Hood has worked with a number of high-profile families and helped to enrich the lives of the many young children she has worked with. For more parenting advice, download The Nanny Louenna app from the App Store or Google Play. Subscriptions start from £4.99 a month.