What kind of discipline is appropriate for toddlers?

Child discipline

A toddler’s brain doesn’t understand logic, so toddler discipline can’t rely much on explanations. Her brain understands punishment and reward, but most psychologists agree that the positive should outweigh the negative.

Teach your child what, “No” means with a firm voice . . . it could save an injury. However, children this age have a problem with impulse control and have difficulty connecting actions with consequences. To a child this age, “Put on your shoes,” doesn’t necessarily mean right now. Even when he hears you, his brain works slowly, so it could take some time to register what you want, and then some more time to connect that with action (or stopping). Understand he is not being defiant, just doing the best he can with the tools he has.

Use consequences directly connected to the action. Yelling and spanking can be confusing, as the child may learn, “Mommy doesn’t like me” instead of, “I shouldn’t run into the street.” Unfortunately, long explanations will probably not be understood. Use short, direct sentences like, “Don’t hit mommy. That hurts. Don’t hit. Don’t hit.” Short time-outs serve more as a redirect of attention than a punishment, but can be very effective.

Prevention is better than cure. When you see frustration building, distract and re-direct before it becomes a tantrum, because then it is too late. Praise positive behavior much more than you focus on negative behavior by at least 4 to 1. Don’t be one of those parents who “No!” too much, and have children who grow up saying, “I can’t” rather than, “I can.”

Give a warning whenever you see trouble brewing, like, “I’m counting to three, and if you don’t stop, you’re going to time-out. One, two, THREE!” If he doesn’t listen, take him to the quiet and safe spot you’ve designated for time-outs, and set a timer for 30 seconds (which will seem like 30 minutes to him). When it goes off, ask him to apologize and give him a big hug to convey that you’re not angry and you still love him . . . and whenever possible, practice the behavior you want a few times.

For more insights into toddler discipline, how your child’s mind works and the discipline appropriate for each developmental stage, click here to see your options.

Share this post

There are no comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.