Parenting will always be a tricky business, but learning how to discipline a toddler is a great way to get a handle on things. Here are 9 tricks on how to deal with your toddler, plus tips on how to manage reactions. Learn the age-appropriate discipline for toddlers and get the hang of toddler discipline with these handy suggestions!
How To Discipline A Toddler Effectively
1. Know It’s Never Too Early
When it comes to child discipline, no stage is too early. Waiting for the “right time” might even render you too late. In fact, you can start as early as infancy. For example, babies will realize they can get their way with crying if you pick them up as soon as they start to wail. So, you might want to try a little trick called waiting.
But before we dig deeper, remember, discipline is not equated to control and punishment. As it is too early for toddlers to grasp the concept of punishment, whether it’s spanking or consequence, they do take rewards very well. So, you might want to explore this more.
Starting early will save you from future headaches and heartaches. Time management is the key here, mommy! Just as you practice self discipline, make your little one recognize the concept of time and routine. Start by following a schedule. Let your tots learn to comprehend when it’s time to play, brush teeth, take a bath, and sleep. These simple time-bound tasks will turn into habits when observed early in life. Showing how to clean up after themselves can also be introduced at this stage.
2. Try Prevention By Distraction
Your imagination will be the key to this tactic’s success. Thinking ahead of time and understanding how your toddler thinks will help.
As you know, toddlers are self-centered and curious. They also have a penchant for the dreaded meltdown at the most inconvenient places and times. Read the signs when your tot is up to something. You can prevent tantrums by inventing distractions before the scene unfolds.
Their curiosity can sometimes result in a series of misfortunes. Picture this: your toddler gets a hold of something fragile at the store. Flying at your toddler in a panic will result in a far more damaging situation. Stay calm, get a toy or any other safe item, and casually replace the ticking bomb.
3. Never Say No
Try to avoid saying ‘no’ to your toddler or it might come to bite you back. You’ll find your toddler saying no to you twice as much as you say it to them. Instead of saying ‘no’, try saying “this might be a better idea”, giving them a different choice or option. On the flip side, always saying ‘yes’ if the situation calls for it will reinforce a positive behavior in your munchkins.
4. Set A Healthy Example
Notice how your toddler imitates you when you put on your makeup, or when you say a word repeatedly? This is a constant reminder that toddlers are influenced by their surroundings, most of all, the home. This is why many parents believe spanking isn’t a good idea, since your child may start hitting others as well. Also, if you easily lose your temper around your child, don’t wonder why your toddler easily throws temper tantrums.
Discipline comes from the word disciple, meaning “a follower”. You can’t expect your toddler to follow when you don’t adhere to certain rules yourself. Seeing you wash your hands after using the bathroom will simply encourage your toddler to follow. Learning to clean up after themselves, table manners, and appropriate behavior are also best taught by example.
5. Put Yourself In Your Tot’s Shoes
When it comes to toddler discipline, we are often tempted to take shortcuts. We expect them to do as they’re told without reason. Take time to explain why they have to do something as opposed to demanding it.
Understand toddlers don’t mean to be difficult. It’s not like they like to irritate you on purpose. They express their frustration with temper tantrums. Toddlers have a short attention span and may easily forget what you tell them to do. So if they do the very thing you tell them not to, remember, they might have forgotten, then start over.
No one is perfect, and even if you believe your beloved child is an angel, the fact remains there are times when they definitely don’t act like one. Take it all in stride and be patient. Seek to understand them because they won’t be at this stage for long.
6. Let Them Know You’re In Charge
You might think this is easy-peasy. You just cross your arms and give your toddler ‘the look’ to show them you mean business. Yet all too often, we give in to avoid confrontation. Either we’re too tired, or unwilling to create a scene, so we undermine our own authority. So, its common in the test of wills, you fail.
Try to keep your composure and grace instead. Remember how Drew Barrymore turned her daughter’s meltdown into a hilarious photo op? Even celebrities have had to deal with their toddler’s tantrums. It can be embarrassing when you’re in public, but I’m sure other parents feel you. If you’re lucky, your ability to remain unaffected by your toddler’s tricks will make them realize you are indeed the boss.
7. Stay Positive
It can be frustrating to deal with your toddler’s temper tantrums, and now the sibling fights. Well, take it one step at a time. That is life. That is our purpose as parents, and you can always count it an achievement when you’ve overcome one new setback after another.
The world is full of negativity as it is. Be firm when imposing dos and don’ts for your toddler, but make sure you are just as liberal with your praises when they’ve done something positive. They will need all the affirmation, love, and security they can get.
8. No Drama Please
Being emotional isn’t really healthy for your toddlers. In fact, this may not be a good example for them. He or she could think it’s the only way to handle a difficult situation.
Don’t be too serious, don’t stress yourself unnecessarily, and find humor even in the crazy antics of your toddlers. Haven’t you seen videos of toddlers in their delightful mischief? Many moms will absolutely agree, these videos are their delight once their tots are all grown up.
9. Be Consistent
This can be a tricky part, as no one can be 100% consistent all the time. Fortunately, it’s less complicated to do this while your child is a toddler (compared to grade school or teenage years). Consistency takes practice and toddler discipline can be your training ground.
Start with a few basic tasks. If you set bedtime at 9, try to always get them to sleep on time and avoid extending as much as you can.
If you must apply reward and consequence to encourage positive behavior, again, make sure to be consistent. It’s an uphill climb, but doing otherwise will ruin any progress you have with your toddler.
Find out more about how to discipline a toddler in this video from Cityline:
There you have it, super mommas! A few more to add to your bag of tricks to help you deal with your tiny tot. There is no one-size-fits-all approach on how to discipline a toddler, so you can always try different tricks to find out what works best. Take responsibility, but enjoy your toddler because they grow up so fast–you just might miss all those meltdowns!
Do you have your own tips on how to discipline a toddler? We’d be delighted if you can share your take on toddler discipline in the comments section below!