Effective ways to discipline your toddler
The word discipline is usually seen in a negative light as far as parenting is concerned. It brings about images of parents shouting, or even smacking a naughty child. While it is true that children often need a firm hand while disciplining, it is very important to know where to draw the line. Remember that your child is never too young to start being disciplined. It is very important that your child learns the difference between right and wrong and the boundaries that he should not cross; the earlier the better. Here are a few suggestions:
Be consistent: The most important step in disciplining a toddler is to follow a system regularly like a routine. If you want your toddler to start cleaning up her toys after play time, ensure that you follow a system where the last five minutes after play is ‘clean up’ time where he has to return the toys to their proper place. What is important is that you follow this system everyday and not just sporadically when ever you fancy. This way, the act of cleaning up after play becomes a part of your toddler’s daily routine and you can avoid the usual disciplining techniques of threatening to throw away the toy, yelling etc
Learn to avoid situations: By this time you will be aware of your toddler’s moods and when he is likely to feel cranky. So ensure that you avoid stressful situations like an outing or home work or visits, at this time. Learn to work around your toddler, to avoid situations which has the potential to turn in to a battle ground.
Keep your word: Keeping up promises holds true even where punishments are concerned. So if you tell your child that he shall not be taken out to play if he refuses to behave properly, ensure that you follow the punishment through, instead of relenting at play time. Hollow punishments are a sure shot way to give your toddler the incentive to push his boundaries further.
Distract: Learn the often underestimated art of distraction. If your toddler throws your books even after repeated warnings, trying giving him something else to play with; may be your old stole or purse, rather than yell at him and yank the book away. This will prevent another full blown tantrum. So try to create an environment which is conducive to good behavior as much as possible.
Don’t be too hard: At the end of the day, your child is still a little kid trying to make sense of the big world that he is exposed to, so he is bound to make mistakes; they are a normal part of growing up. Don’t have unrealistic expectations from your toddler. Always let him know that you are not angry or upset with him, but you are upset by his bad behavior and that you are asking for his help to drive it away. Always make it a point to praise good behavior so that there is a sense of balance.