Discipline for Toddlers?

With a SASSY 17 month old who is learning to test every limit and button she can push, I became interested in “discipline” for 1 year olds! Discipline doesn’t mean spanking! It doesn’t mean yelling! But it does mean showing the child boundaries and helping guide them in the direction of being decent human beings!! According to Google, Discipline means “the practice of training people to obey rules” Even before a kid, I always said I want to make sure I don’t raise THAT kid that no one wants to be around! The kid that is known as the brat! Now HOW DO I DO THAT!?!? If you are here, that means you’re wondering the SAME thing!!  I did the research for YOU!!!

A few weeks ago I was at a playdate and both of our littles kept getting into things they shouldn’t. The other mom and I started talking about how do you get them to listen?? She mentioned that she thought they are too young to understand “discipline” and “getting in trouble”. I was curious if that was true!! Parents.com has an incredible article about When Does Discipline Begin? It talks about your children from newborn to the age of 2! What to expect and how to react at each age! It talks about how yelling and reacting to a toddler only encourages them to get a reaction out of you. Remove them from the situation and distract them. One of my best friends is a preschool teacher and this was one of the first pieces of advice I received from her!! They must be onto something!

Explain what you expect from them. They may not fully understand, but they will start catching on quickly!! If they are yelling, distract them and calmly explain that we use our indoor voice. Hitting? Hold their hand and place it softly on you saying, gentle, we don’t hit, that hurts. Show them what they SHOULD do in those situations. Take away the item they keep throwing, tell them we don’t throw things. You can’t expect them to work on communicating with you if you don’t communicate and help them understand.

Another article from Parents.com shared Secrets to Toddler Discipline. It states that you need to be consistent. At this age they don’t understand “Just this one time”. The same with being on the same page with your spouse, it will only confuse and frustrate your toddler causing more acting out.

Keep it Positive, Parents.com says! Try saving “NO” for moments of safety and emergency! Your child may quickly pick up on telling you no and it puts an attitude to the situation. They may rebel more and stop listening to you completely over time. Try turning it into a positive! You can also use other words in the place of no for reinforcement of what is not desired. Such as ” We don’t hit our sister or let’s not pull mommy’s hair.” It still get’s the point across without becoming the NO monster.

It’s all about distraction for toddlers! Make things a game, turn things into a song, use reverse psychology! Sometimes just giving your child affection can stop a meltdown.

Make sure you are showing lots of praise when they do things right too! If you only react when your child does something wrong they will pair acting out to getting attention from you!

Have you noticed when you get upset and starting yelling that they start reacting more too? Try to stay calm and it will help their reaction and shows them that their actions don’t get anything out of you!

Consider why your child is acting out!! Are they hungry? Are they Tired? Have they had interaction with you recently? Toddlers whine, grunt, cry, react because they don’t fully know how to communicate what they want/need! Could you imagine having this huge world around you and not being able to tell your parent, the only person you trust, what it is you want and most of the time not even knowing what it is you want to start with?? You’d be so frustrated too!!

Remember what might work for one child may not work for another. What works for a 1 year old won’t always work for a 5 year old! What are your thoughts on discipline for toddlers? How do you keep your toddler from being a total sassy brat? I’d love to hear!!!


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