Toddlers can seem like a nightmare sometimes, and you may even start questioning your sanity at some point for having children. Don’t worry! You’re certainly not alone and it is perfectly normal for toddlers to push your buttons.
Punishing your toddler is not the way to go. It may seem effective, but in reality, your toddler will just chalk it up to your being unfair. Children at such a young age aren’t able to make connections between their bad behavior and the punishment that follows. How can you effectively discipline your toddler?
Distracting Your Toddler
Babies are easily distracted and as a parent, you may have noticed that you were easily able to redirect your child’s attention without problems. For example, when your child was touching something he or she shouldn’t, you probably voiced your displeasure and quickly gave your child something else to pay attention to.
When babies make the transition and become toddlers, parents often face a hard time understanding just how quickly their child’s mobility and curiosity has evolved. Parents don’t really grasp the concept that young toddlers are unable to understand the basis for punishment. They will not make the connection between their unwanted actions and the punishment itself. For this reason alone, using the distraction technique is much more effective.
Toddlers And Consequences
Older toddlers are a bit more understanding of their actions, which makes it easier on parents. Introducing consequences for their negative behavior is a good way for them to get accustomed to punishment.
Don’t just punish your toddler, but make him or her see that what happened was a bad thing. For example, if your child spilled mac and cheese all over the floor, don’t clean it up yourself and tell your child he or she can’t play for the rest of the day. Instead, allow your child to help you clean up his or her mess, and explain that you won’t allow them to eat mac and cheese until they are more responsible. This can help your child understand that bad actions yield negative consequences.
The Time Out Method
Very young children aren’t able to sit still for minutes on end, which is why the time out method may not always be the best course of action. However, if you start using time out method when they’re just a year old, they will eventually learn that it’s something that happens when they do something bad.
Young toddlers will probably not see time out as a punishment, but it will give them a minute or two to cool off. Using the time out, you are able to remove your child from the bad situation where he or she is misbehaving, and help them find an activity that is appropriate.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Punishing bad behaviors is probably the hardest when it comes to toddlers. However, you can also choose to focus on the good things they do and give him or her the incentive to behave well.
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘buying’ your child’s respect by purchasing a new toy when he or she does something good. Just using small words of praise and showing appreciation is a good way to not only boost your toddler’s self-esteem, but encourage her to follow the right path in the near future.
If the bad behavior is an ongoing problem, tangible incentives are a good way to get your toddler to stop. For example, using a sticker chart and giving him or her a sticker for each day he or she does something good is a reasonable start.
Allow your children to learn from their mistakes naturally. Punishment isn’t always the most appropriate method of discipline as your child isn’t old enough to understand everything.