Parents today don’t necessarily have it easy. We face a plethora of new problems when it comes to parenting. Both time management and online distractions are among them. However, one of the things that we have in common with our parents is also one of the things that they had in common with their parents—knowing how to effectively discipline a toddler.
We probably don’t have to tell you that spanking a child is never effective. Experts agree that spanking only encourages unruly and aggressive behavior. Violence is never a solution to any problem. But surely, there must be more effective ways to teach your children how to resolve conflicts rationally, calmly, and with a clear mind.
You may remember some of these effective parenting techniques from your own toddler temper tantrums. And, well, look how you turned out! Positive toddler discipline doesn’t require a lot of skill. It only requires a lot of patience from both you and your child. Here are some of the best ways to get started today.
Time-outs may receive a fair amount of scrutiny these days and we tend to agree that frequent use is neither healthy nor effective. They are particularly unhelpful if you emphasize to a child that they’re a form of punishment. Instead, we suggest that parents create a “cool out zone”, which can be used as a neutral space where toddlers can relax and let off steam. Don’t pack it full of books or toys, but include soft, comfortable pillows and their favorite blanket. Your kids will feel reassured after using this space.
Choose Your Battles
Occasional misbehavior can actually be both healthy and positive, no matter how frustrating. Kids are trying to get your attention. They’re trying to test their limits. It’s no use disciplining a toddler if they’ve created some minor damage to the carpet. Save your disciplinary efforts for truly bad behavior—which they’re bound to engage in eventually.
Redirect Behavior Towards Positive Ends
Rationalization isn’t innate. It’s cultivated. A parent is typically a child’s first teacher and often also one of the best teachers that they can have. Begin teaching your toddler how to understand both logic and reason from early on. Actively work towards helping your children to understand the values of being patient and selfless. Soon, they’ll be a natural. Try to see the world through their eyes. And, try helping them to see the world through yours.
Fight Bad Behavior By Rewarding Good Behavior
Incentivizing good behavior can be similar to time-outs in the sense that it only proves to be effective when used sparingly. Rewarding good behavior can help your kid to learn the relationship between actions and consequences, especially when there’s a positive outcome. Incentives don’t have to be expensive. Even a sticker book or a box of crayons is sufficient. You will likely find that even the smallest reward can be one of the most motivating tools for a toddler.
Good behavior can result in access to privileges and bad behavior can result in the loss of privileges. When your child loses a privilege, it can sometimes result in an even larger temper tantrum. Taking away a toddler’s TV privileges for a day or two will often provoke cries of “but it’s not fair!”. But, by reminding your child that they can have the TV back when they earn those privileges, you can help to gear your child towards engaging in good behavior.
Errors And Consequences
Allowing a toddler to learn from their own mistakes can be one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking parts of being a parent. It’s part of your parental nature to teach, guide, and above all, to protect them. And, you do. But, it’s also necessary for you to learn how to let go. Now, we’re not suggesting that you let your child burn their hands on a hot stove. But, by allowing them to play outside without wearing a jacket (so long as it’s not 42 degrees out!), they can be reminded that experiencing the cold isn’t particularly pleasant without proper protection.
Critics continually give negative reviews to parents who give constant praise to their children as they feel that it encourages children to grow up with a sense of entitlement and a sense of feeling “special”. Not only do we disagree with this, but we feel that every child truly is special! Praise gives a child a sense of security, high self-esteem, as well as the foundation for confidence, which all help children to face life’s unexpected challenges. Bad behavior can often be the result of a toddler testing the limits of their environment. Praising them for all their efforts (even the most mundane ones!) encourages toddlers to continue trying.
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