Disciplining a child is one of the most crucial tasks of a parent. Often, it can get very frustrating and tough. No parent has it all figured out when it comes to dealing with two to three-year-olds. So, we’ve listed some techniques to help you deal with your toddler and keep their behaviors in check.
1. Choose what action to ignore
If you keep on saying no to your child, it will gradually lose meaning to him. Linda Pearson, a nurse specializing in counseling parents and families, recommends defining your priorities and setting limits to your child and making him realize the consequences of their actions. But Pearson says parents need not make a big deal out of some matters, like childish habits he will later outgrow.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Berger, a child psychiatrist, there has been no proof to most parents’ anxiety that giving in will make your child a spoiled brat.
2. Be aware of what triggers your child’s bad behavior
Certain misconducts can be avoided if you know what causes it and how to control the situation. Put the trigger out of your child’s way. For instance, if your child won’t stop playing with your toilet paper, then keep it out of his reach.
3. Prepare your child
Observe your child’s temperament throughout the day. A child is often grumpy when he is hungry, tired, or sleepy. Schedule trips and set appointments when your child is at his best disposition. Likewise, mentally and emotionally prepare him for any experience he is about to have or any activity he is about to do. And be transparent with how you expect him to act. The more prepared a child is, the less he will act up.
4. Practice consistency
If you react differently each time your child repeats misbehavior, your child will be confused about the impact of his misconduct. But if you are firm with your reaction up to the fifth time he misbehaves, he will understand the effects of his actions.
5. Control your emotions
Instead of raising your voice in anger each time your child misbehaves, get down to your child’s eye level, and be firm and stern when you reprimand him. Aim to put the situation under control rather than keeping your child under control.
6. Let your child know you’re aware of where he’s coming from
Your child will feel better when she knows you are aware of the reason for his behavior. So whenever your child misbehaves, listen to what he is saying and repeat it to him, then explain why he can’t get what he wants at the moment.
7. Make your explanations simple
According to the late William Coleman, a pediatrics professor, toddlers’ attention span is too short to comprehend lengthy reasons. Use short phrases and emphasize the message with facial expressions and appropriate tone of voice.
8. Give alternatives
When your child refuses to obey your command, give him specific and limited choices, so he still feels he is in control. For instance, when he refuses to clean his room, ask him which of his toys would he like to pick up first.
9. Be cautious with your words
Instead of emphasizing your children’s behavior, let him know how his actions are making you feel, turn the “You are bad” to “It makes me frustrated that you’re not packing away your toys.” Also, use more “do’s” than “don’ts” when setting limits.
10. Impart empathy
Most toddlers are unaware of the effects of their misbehaviors. As a parent, teach your kids empathy by explaining to them how their misconducts will make other people feel. This will help your child realize that their actions directly affect other people, which will lead them to think of consequences first before they act.