Parenting is the hardest job in the world without any question. And disciplining your child is the toughest of the tasks in parenting.
The main reason behind that could be the uncertainty in children’s behavior. Just like their faces, each individual child has a unique personality. Some of which are in-built instincts and others are redirectable.
But you can only redirect it on the right time, in the right way. So it’s important to understand the toddlers in general first. And then understand your little one as an individual toddler.
Only then you can learn and practice the positive disciplining tactics on your child. We will be sharing some effective tactics of disciplining a toddler in this article. So, stay tuned.
Understanding the Toddlers
When your infant steps into the toddler age, which is at the age of 1-3 years, you need to be very careful with each of your words and actions. The toddler stage is the foundation period of a human being.
At this age your child starts to recognize good from bad. They learn what they are allowed and what they are not. Because their cognitive, emotional and social development starts to just grow.
They can now make little decisions and act accordingly with you. So, what you are going to sow in them at this stage, you shall reap the fruit of exactly that for the rest of your and also their lives.
7 Tips to Discipline a Toddler
1. Kids Don’t Follow What You Say, They Follow What You Do
Always remember that, what you do matters more than what you say to your toddlers. For example, if you always tell your little ones not to lie, but they caught you telling lies (even the small ones) to other people several times.
Then get ready to hear lies from your child because you are confusing their thought processes. Unfortunately, YOU are the one, teaching your youngster unintentionally that ‘lying is okay’.
So, whatever good behaviors or actions you are teaching your toddlers to perform, start practicing on it yourself. Show them and teach them.
2. Don’t Set a Rule Without Explaining the Consequences
Parents often give orders and it’s been normalized for generations. But, the basics of positive parenting say to include an explanation for each of those orders.
If you forbid your toddler to climb up a high chair, they won’t know naturally what could happen if they do. Instead, as a curious little being, they will try to explore to find out what happens if they do it.
But when you give them a reason that if they try to climb up, they might fall and get an injury, then they will know it without trying to explore.
3. Let Them Take Responsibilities
When your little children show interest in doing something on their own, let them do it. If you keep babying your kids they would always rely on you for little things.
By that it doesn’t mean that you let your 3years old toddler pull a big bowl of hot water for you. But if they get interested in eating with their own hands, let them do it.
Yeah, it will get messy in the first few weeks, but eventually they will learn. Remember that you are only teaching them to be self-dependent.
4. Teach Them Anger Management
Tantrums are very common in toddlers as they explore new methods of communication or try harder to master particular skills. They can get exhausted easily and lose their temper. So, better be prepared for that.
Remember that feelings and behavior are not the same thing. Validate your child’s feelings, but observe how they are expressing it.
Some toddlers vent their aggression in a destructive way. Sometimes it might be biting, spitting, hitting their own head with hands, or maybe bad-mouthing. If they show any of these you need to be careful, because these destructive behaviors don’t build all in a sudden.
Chances are high that they are seeing it in their surroundings. So, try to handle domestic conflicts in a constructive way. However, it’s a long-term process.
For immediate action, you can teach them how they should react when they are feeling angry. Apply an appropriate model of anger management, which might vary from one child to another.
5. Understand That Loneliness Can Result into Misbehavior
Sometimes little children misbehave just to draw your attention. When you aren’t paying enough attention to your kids, the feeling of loneliness can get the best out of them.
Especially if you are the only parent raising your kid, keep checking on them if they need you. Studies show that 30% of children in the USA live in a single-parent household.
Toddlers have tantrums when they feel lonely or abandoned by their parents. But in some cases, toddlers try to draw your attention all the time and do excess.
However, you need to be careful whether you are giving them positive attention or negative attention.
6. Discourage the Bad Behaviors in Appropriate Manner
Catching up the right expression while discouraging your child for their misbehavior, is important. You should always remember that they are not grown ups. They can’t process harsh words like matured humans.
That’s why you never should spank them or yell at them to discourage them. Hitting them up is no way an option. It can only teach them violence and create anger issues.
Rather, depending on the level of misbehave try to discourage them gently. For example, if they are rolling on the floor, or being stubborn for a reason. Initially ignore them.
Ignoring them lets them know that this is not working on you and you are upset. In most cases toddlers naturally stop when they see you ignore them.
But if your little one is repeating something over and over again, try to use gentle words telling them not to do this and give them good reasons for that.
7. Give Them Warning Before any Punishment
When you start to notice a pattern in your kid’s bad behavior, it’s time to be a little strict with them. Tell them gently, forbid them and discourage them from doing so.
If they still don’t listen, warn them for punishments. Only after giving a warning, you can give a punishment suitable for a particular type and level of misbehavior. Don’t overdo it.
However, you should remember that being a little strict with kids can be beneficial. But if you are following literally the ‘strict parenting’ style, then it can be the sole reason behind your kid’s bad behavior instead.
Toddlers often give you a hard time understanding them. But you need to be consistent and patient, which is quite a challenge in fact. At this crucial stage, toddlers start to pick particular behaviors, acts or reactions from whatever they see or learn.
That is exactly why you need to be extra-careful with every word and actions around them all the time. No, it’s definitely not the end of parenting.
But you can turn your parenting experience into a beautiful one if you take the right and appropriate measurements as we just discussed and start to act on them right now.