As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach discipline to your child no matter what's his/her age. Many parents think it is unnecessary to discipline and teach toddlers how to behave as they won't listen and understand them. If you too think the same, then you're mistaken.
Toddlerhood is usually challenging, and most parents find it difficult to handle their toddler's tantrums and behavior. It is because, at this age, your toddlers start to discover the world on their own and become somewhat independent. Yet, their ability to reason and communicate is limited. Plus, they have little self-control and can't reason, which complicates things for parents.
They find it a never-ending and most frustrating parenting task.
Here are the nine parenting tips that can help you effectively discipline your toddlers and reduce your frustration and worry.
Most toddlers behave aggressively or don't listen to you when they are overtired, frustrated from any activity, hungry or sleepy. Certain times in a day and situations may also trigger bad mood and behavior. You need to monitor and identify those times and situations which make your toddler out of control. Try to avoid or prevent those conditions from happening and attend to your toddler's needs before they go into that bad mood or frustrated mode.
Following a routine and order gives your toddler a safer haven from the outside world, overwhelming for them. A routine helps your child feel safer and they tend to behave much more calmly. Try to stick to a schedule which means consistent times for naps, meals, play and bed. Moreover, don't make sudden changes to the routine and give a warning or inform in advance if you do have to.
Staying consistent is also critical for disciplining toddlers. When you say no to something the first time your child violates the discipline code, you should always say no to that thing.
Toddlers are humans and they also need respect. Don't always snub them when they do something that doesn't conform to the standards. Talk to them politely and explain without validating their actions. You need to set limits but in a respectful way. Use this strategy to help them understand and cope with the rules, regulations and frustrations of life.
Moreover, give choices to your toddlers. This shows that you understand and respect their feelings. You can ask your child if he/she wants to come along on a short trip to the grocery store or wants to take some toy in the car to make him/her feel that he/she has some independence to make choices.
When you're able to identify the situations and times your toddler is most irritable or frustrated, start practicing prevention. Don't take them to the store or for a routine visit to a doctor or anywhere else when they're not at their best. Also, prepare their mind for a new experience while explaining how they should act. Because the better your child feels prepared for something new, the less are the chances of creating a fuss.
When you hear attentively to your toddler's concerns no matter how absurd they are, your child feels better. And whenever you find a chance, repeat those concerns. For instance, if your toddler is continuously whining about opening a pack of sweets at a grocery store, explain and try to say something, " I know that you're angry because I am not allowing you to open the pack and I feel sorry for this but store won't allow us to open it until we pay them because it's a policy." Rephrasing the feelings in this helps to reduce anger to some extent and give your toddler a message that you understand his/her feelings.
Many first-time parents try to elaborate and give detailed explanations to their toddlers about their wrong things. Plus, they provide details of the threats about what they lose if they won't control their misbehavior. At this age, your child has not developed a cognitive ability to understand such complicated sentences. Instead, you should speak concise and clear sentences while repeating and asserting your instructions several times, reinforced with facial expressions and verbal inflections.
Send 'I' messages to your toddler instead of 'You' statements as they hit hard to your toddler's sensitive mind. For instances, instead of saying, "You acted selfishly by not sharing your snacks with your brother," try saying, " I really feel happy when I see you sharing your edibles with your brother." Ensure that your words and tone should not give a message that you don't love and respect your child.
You can rarely make it clear for your toddler that the things he/she finds enjoyable, such as snatching toys from other kids, hitting, or push are not good behaviors. What you can do to stop such acts is to teach them empathy. For instance, tell them that when they hit or push other kids, it hurts them or when they snatch things from other kids, they feel very sad as they also want to play with them. Through this approach, you can teach your child that his/her behavior affects others directly and he/she should think about others' feelings before acting.
This is a phase of your child's life that shall pass over time. It's easy for you to lose control and become angry when your child misbehaves or throw a tantrum. But in this way, you'll end up escalating the whole situation rather than calming it down. Plus, it won't help your child. When any such situation arises, sometimes the best approach is to ignore your child's behavior completely. This helps your child to realize that even he/she keeps on screaming, it won't get them the thing they want and eventually, they'll stop yelling.
Toddlerhood is a very tender age and the child is in a critical learning phase when your behaviors, emotions and words have a long-lasting impact on their cognitive development. You have to be extremely cautious while expressing your feelings and explaining things to toddlers to ensure that they understand and learn positive behaviors. Following the tips mentioned above will help you better handle different situations and train your toddlers to become disciplined.
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