Bringing up a toddler can be a nightmare. I know because I’ve done it myself. However, if you set some guidelines that both you and your partner agree on, then you have a good chance of surviving. You must always pull together in the same direction. This is especially true when it comes to positive toddler discipline tactics.
If you’re concerned about your toddler behavior, here are ten toddler discipline tactics that work for every parent. By the way, these are not written in stone. If you need to alter them slightly, go ahead; as long as what you do works, that’s all that matters. Please note, that I am going to use ‘she’ throughout this article for ease of writing. Plus, I have a daughter so it feels more natural to me.
Positive Toddler Discipline Tactics that Work:
1. Be consistent
The most important thing you should remember is to be consistent. If your toddler is getting one set of instructions from one parent and one set from another, all your poor little angel is going to end up feeling is confused.
This is especially true when it comes to daily routines. If bedtime is 7 pm, then that’s the time your toddler goes to bed. It doesn’t matter that she can’t tell the time, you, as parents, need to agree to a time and stick to it.
2. Don’t make life difficult
You should know your toddler’s routines better than anyone. While it may be a bit of a pain sometimes, you need to keep to her routine. If you don’t, you can’t complain if she throws a wobbly. In other words, you can’t really give your toddler discipline if you’re at fault.
For example, if it’s nap time and you go grocery shopping, you can’t expect everything to go how you want. Likewise, if a friend calls and invites you out to lunch, it’s fine if you say yes, but there will almost certainly be consequences.
3. Your toddler is not an adult
There is nothing wrong with treating your toddler with respect. She learns that she is valued and she will reflect your behavior later on in life. However, you can’t expect her to understand every situation.
If you need your toddler to eat her greens, then eat her greens she must. You can explain why she must eat them, but remember she doesn’t have a choice so when push comes to shove, you are the boss. Also, you need to keep monitoring your children’s behavior.
4. Give choices
Another way you can treat your toddler like an adult is by letting her make a choice rather than giving her a ‘Yes/No’ option. This works especially well if there is a chance that the wrong answer may cause problems. It is also a good tactic to avoid confrontations.
For example, rather than saying, “Would you like a drink?” say, “Would you like orange juice or pineapple juice?” It’s quite hard for a toddler to say no to a question that requires a longer response.
5. Timeouts don’t really work
I know that timeouts have had a long tradition over the years but it might be time to consign them to the history books. It’s a very negative form of punishment that doesn’t really work anyway. There are plenty of other ways to practice positive toddler discipline tactics that work better than a timeout.
If you do want to give your toddler a timeout, try and make it short and sweet. There’s little point giving your toddler a two-hour timeout if she forgets what she did wrong 10 minutes into the punishment.
6. Avoid tantrums
This is a bit similar to being consistent. Avoiding tantrums is quite often as much to do with the parents as it is to do with the child. You know what makes your toddler grumpy just as much as your toddler does. If you know that your child likes orange juice in the morning, make sure there is orange juice in the fridge.
Obviously, this does not mean your child has carte blanche to get what she wants, but if the things she wants are healthy and readily available, causing a situation by forgetting to buy them seems like asking for trouble.
7. There’s no shame in giving up
Toddlers are easily distracted and have the memories of a pigeon. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but the fact is that if you have been trying to get your little one to do something for a long time and she doesn’t want to do it, unless it’s vitally important, just give up.
If your main aim in life is to win at all costs, you are going to find parenting a toddler’s very hard work. If she doesn’t want to read her book, it’s not the end of the world. If she doesn’t want to drink her milk once in a while, don’t worry; it’s not like she’s going to die of calcium deficiency.
8. Set expectations
I have touched on this already but it’s worth reinforcing with its own section. Make sure that your toddler knows what your expectations are. Reinforcing this idea early in life makes for a much easier time later on. But, don’t forget to set a limit on your expectations. Remember, over expectations from children is a trait of toxic parenting.
Habits and routines are a good example, For instance, make sure she understands that teeth should be done mornings, nights and after meals no matter what. She should know what you expect and she shouldn’t have to be reminded each day.
9. Plan ahead
If there was a theme that runs through this entire article, I think it would have to be plan ahead. If you can plan ahead so that you can see potential areas of conflict, then working out how to manage them will work wonders. The fact is that the best toddler discipline is no discipline at all.
10. Don’t lose your temper
There is only room for one person in your family to lose their temper and if you have a toddler, you’re not that person. Apart from anything else, parents who lose their tempers tend to make pretty bad decisions. Moreover, toddlers reflect their parents’ behavior, so if you keep calm, so will your toddler.
And there you have it. Ten tips on how to handle toddler discipline in a constructive way. If you plan ahead, try and recognize areas of conflict, and don’t lose your temper every five minutes, you may be able to actually enjoy your toddler growing up rather than constantly worrying about having a nervous breakdown.