​Disciplining your toddler

Author: one tough job

Temper tantrums, power struggles, and impulsiveness; they don’t call it the terrible twos without cause. Toddlers lack the self-control and communication skills of older children and are growing more independent every day. Don’t despair, there are things you can do now to help ease your child through this transition and stay sane at the same time.

Distraction is your friend. Unlike older kids, your toddler’s short attention span makes it easier to redirect him to a new activity. When he starts to cry because he can’t have his brother’s toy, you can pull out his favorite book or engage him in a quick game of hide-and-seek. Older children will see right through you, but most toddlers will forget and engage in the new activity with ease.

Avoid stressful situations whenever possible. No one is at their best when they are hungry, tired, or when rushing from place to place. This is especially true for your toddler who lacks the words to tell you when she is overwrought, and will instead tell you in crying, refusal to comply, or worse. These tried-and-true suggestions work: keep nap times sacred, snacks are your friend, and when possible, plan ahead so you don’t have to rush around.

Know when to use a time-in or a time-out. A one to two minute time-out is appropriate for toddlers. However, there is research that time-outs are ineffective in teaching your child coping and self-control skills. A time-in, where you both take a break and you remain near your child, is a more effective way to teach him good behaviors. Ultimately, you have to decide what works best for your family through trial and error. Sometimes, you will need to give yourself a time-out to regroup.

Stay calm. It goes without saying that your child is watching everything that you do. If you remain calm when emotions are high, your child will learn how to manage her emotions. This won’t happen overnight, but as she develops and learns to communicate her feelings in a safe environment, less desirable behaviors will reduce in frequency.

We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how you discipline your toddler. Comment below with your best tips on navigating this tricky stage with love.

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