Disciplining a toddler may be hard to do; especially if you are new parents; however, it is important because discipline helps a child to manage anxiety, assists them in making good choices and keeps them safe. So how to discipline a toddler is what we will try to teach you.
To be clear, disciplining a child is not spanking or punishment; it is about setting rules and guidelines in order to keep a child from engaging in behavior that is dangerous and inappropriate like throwing an object that might hurt someone. There are several strategies that can help discipline a toddler.
One strategy is to choose your battles. Think about what is important to you and then set your limits according to what is most valuable and then follow through with consequences that are appropriate. It is also important to praise a toddler when they do something positive; especially when they share with someone, pick up their toys or when they say, “Please, may I have another cookie?”
Another strategy is to know what triggers your child to behave badly. For example, if your child thinks that it is fun to spill toys everywhere on the floor and doesn’t respond when you say, “No, don’t do that,” try placing his or her toys on a higher level where he or she can’t reach them and only bring them down when he asks to play with them. Once play time is over, put the toys back on the higher shelf!
Being consistent is another way to discipline a child. Psychologists say that children between the age of two and three work hard to understand how their behavior affects those around them. If a parent’s reaction to a situation changes from day to day, the child will become confused and it will take a long time before they understand how to react. However, if you consistently react the same way to a negative situation, then the child will get the message to stop the negative behavior. If you respond the same way time after time, a child will stop the bad behavior.
It is also important to not get emotional. Getting emotional is not an effective way to discipline a toddler. If one screams in anger, the message you are trying to send to your child will become lost and the situation will worsen at a fast pace. Actually, when a child is bombarded with negativity, he will see the emotion but will not hear what you are saying.
In addition, another positive way to discipline is to keep it brief. Giving detailed explanation about what you child did wrong and voicing detailed threats, will not work; instead it will turn your child off. Instead of becoming emotional, talk in short phrases, repeating them only once or twice; while also adding vocal inflections and facial expressions to your phrases. An example might be, “No, Tonia! Don’t hit your sister! That hurts! No hitting!”
Another effective way to discipline is to have a few minute break. When reprimands or a loss of privileges don’t work, think about placing him or her in a time-out for several minutes. Before doing this, give a stern look to your face and give a warning. Then, if the child doesn’t stop or listen to you, find a quiet spot, a place that works for a time-out and then set a timer. Once the time-out has ended, seek an apology and then hug your child. This will show that you are not angry.
Most importantly, staying positive can be a wonderful and effective way when disciplining a child. When a child hears a parent speak negatively about them, they will not have a good feeling about you and will probably end up repeating the behavior. In addition, they will lose respect for you and that lack of respect may last a long time.
Keep in mind; disciplining a small child is necessary because it not only helps them develop into a responsible, caring and loving person; it also helps them to manage their anxieties, guides them toward making good choices, helps them to manage their emotions and keeps them safe. Clearly, keeping children safe is one of the most important reasons to discipline. For example, looking both ways before crossing the road or staying away from the stove when it’s hot; are just two reasons why discipline is so important. And, there should be consequences for children when they don’t take the necessary safety precautions.
Discipline is also important when it comes to preventing obesity. There is an obesity crisis in the U.S. and sadly it concerns small children. For example, if a child is allowed to eat whatever he wants to eat, that child will grow up developing serious health concerns like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Some psychologists say that it is good to use an authoritative voice when explaining to a child that there are underlying reasons for rules. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t touch that burner!” try saying instead “please don’t do that because you could burn your hands.” This will tell a child to always look for potential safety risks in other areas of your home.
Practicing the art of distraction is another way to discipline a small child. For example, when your child keeps throwing a toy up against the living room wall and shows no sign of stopping, redirect your child to something more productive like trading the toy for a fun game outside or a favorite book that he likes.
Staying calm is another way to discipline your child. It is easy to become angry and allow your blood pressure to go high when you see your child in an awful tantrum. However, losing control will only make a bad situation, worse. Take time to cool off and calm down. If you don’t, you will end up feeling worse. And, it will not be a positive action when communicating with your child.
To conclude, how to discipline a toddler is not difficult; however, it does take time, effort and a plan. Try one or more of the above examples, and enjoy a calmer and more disciplined child!