Setting and enforcing limits for your children is every parent's job description, and becomes an innate reflex when you witness bad behaviour. However, most parents will not appreciate you disciplining their children regardless of the situation.
If you are worried about how to approach the topic, the following tips will help you:
1. Adult in charge - when you are caring for other children and you are the adult solely responsible for their well-being.
2. Obeying house rules - when other children are in your home and are not playing by the house rules, yet their parent may be present.
3. Dangerous situation - when a child is in danger or putting another child in danger and there is no time to seek permission to discipline.
4. Bullying - should always be intervened
5. Rude or offensive language - should not be tolerated
1. Parent (or responsible adult for the child) is present - seek intervention from the parent or caregiver present
2. Unsolicited advice given to parent of child with behavioural issue - observational comments on a child's bad or disruptive behaviour
3. Slapping or physical force - should never be used by a parent of a child or of another child in any circumstance
Top discipline tips when you're caring for other people's children:
1. Explain your expectations
A child isn't likely to obey house rules or boundaries, unless they are aware of them. Take a few minutes to go over the house rules at the beginning of a playdate: no shoes indoors, no playing upstairs, no ipads / TV until after 5pm, no running or playing ball indoors, everyone must share, everyone must tidy up the toys before moving on the next game.
2. Be calm but firm
Raising your voice or using physical force with a child that is not your own but in your care is not acceptable. Stay calm but firm and address the child's behaviour rather than naming the child as being naughty. Include your own children in the discipline in a gentle way so that the child doesn't feel singles out. Your goal is to correct the child's behaviour, rather than to punish them.
3. Plan ahead
Discuss your house rules with the child's parent in advance; agree on these and any discipline rules you wish to enforce in advance of the playdate.
4. Don't sweat the small stuff
Try to let the little things go. For example, if a child doesn't say thank you for the snack you made, don't correct them. Your expectations of what is acceptable behaviour may differ from their parents. Use phrases like: "In our house or in our family we always say thank you for our snacks" - you'll get the message across without overtly disciplining the child.
5. Don't embarrass the child
Never discipline a child in front of their friends, instead address them as part of a group using statements for a whingy child like: "I can see everyone's tired of playing this game. Let's all take a break and sit down for a snack."
6. Praise the positives
Children love to be praised, seek out their good behaviour and everyone will behave better. If you have to remind another child to share, or tidy up, or to be careful with your child's toys, try to make a point of praising the child's good behaviour that day too so that they will feel happier to comply with and understand what is acceptable behaviour in your house.
SHARE with family and friends who are wondering how to handle the situation.