Disciplining toddlers can be trying task. Because toddlers have a knack for causing strained patience and frustration, disciplining strategies come in handy. I have spent the last couple years trying to build the beginnings of good character and responsibility within my three-year-old son. Excellent discipline is key to building those qualities. I have come up with 10 tips that have become my staple disciplining rules. These tips have helped my son and I tremendously, and understanding and enforcing these tips will help you and your toddler.
1. Be Consistent
An important tip for disciplining toddlers is consistency. If your child is disallowed to throw a fit at home, your child shouldn’t be allowed to throw a fit in the store. This teaches the toddler that you will not be pushed around or display leniency in certain locations, along with teaching that good behavior is expected in public as well as at home. Be sure to remain consistent in the types of punishments enforced as well.
2. Follow Through
Only warn of punishments you intend to carry out. There have been instances in which I’ve “threatened” a punishment only to find myself enforcing punishment that I didn’t want to carry out. If you say “do that again, and we will leave the store,” you will actually need to leave the store in the case of a repeat misbehavior.
3. Explain Reasons for Punishment
A helpful tip for disciplining toddlers is explaining the reason for a punishment. Ask your toddler if he or she knows why he or she is in trouble. If your child has no idea why, then you can explain and further the child’s understanding while reminding of the unacceptable behavior.
4. Teach Empathy and Expect Apologies
In the case of misbehavior, have your child apologize to whomever necessary, whether it be a grandparent who witnessed a temper tantrum, a sibling who played victim to sibling rivalry, or yourself. Display empathy through your own actions by letting your child know that you understand how he or she feels. Explain how both good and bad actions or behaviors make you feel. Eventually, your child will apologize willingly and understand the reasons for said apology.
5. Teach Responsibility and Independence
Toddlers need to feel as if their actions mean something. Asking your toddler to help with putting laundry away or allowing him or her to pick out the day’s clothing will give your child a sense of importance. This is a subtle disciplinary action, but it does help with the process by allowing your child to learn some of the many good behaviors expected in life.
6. Don’t Over-Discipline
Being excessively strict may smother a child. Instead of enforcing quiet, inside voices at all times, allow time for boisterous kid behavior. Don’t get overly upset when your toddler jumps in a mud puddle. Spend some time in the kitchen performing messy food experiments. There are many ways to let go and allow your toddler to act like a toddler.
7. Allow “Why” and Other Questions
Toddlers tend to go through the “why” stage, asking many questions as often as possible. Though these questions may be overwhelming or unanswerable at times, avoid getting upset. If your child asks why he or she is unable to have more cookies, explain the answer to help the child understand.
8. Provide Outlets for Relieving Stress
Just as adults become stressed, so do children. Disciplining a toddler becomes more hectic when either party is stressed out. Outlets for stress relief can come from many things, such as coloring, building a fort, watching a movie, or even playing in a calm and secluded area.
9. Remain Calm and Patient
Remaining calm and patient is an important tip for disciplining toddlers. However, there are occasional exceptions, such as a toddler trying to dart into traffic. Other times, however, don’t let anger get the best of you.
10. Show Your Love
Although a simple tip for discipline toddlers, it is sometimes neglected. Showing respect while disciplining (such as “please” and “thank you”), giving out plenty of hugs and kisses, and often saying “I love you” are all ways to remind the child of your love.
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