This world is a new land for babies. After they arrive in this world, they feel unsafe in the new environment. The only place where they feel safe is in the warm, comforting arms of their parents.
Parents try their best to provide their children with everything they wish for. They forget about their comfort and happiness when it comes to their child. It becomes the goal of their lives to provide their children with nothing but the best.
For this purpose, parents do not refrain from playing numerous roles in raising their babies. They will become nurses to look after their sick babies. They will become singers and joyfully sing their kids’ favorite songs and rhymes to entertain their tiny angels. No matter what the situation calls for, parents never hesitate to adopt a new role for their babies.
The most crucial role that parents play in their babies’ lives is a teacher. A home is a child’s first school, and parents are the first teachers. It is the parents' responsibility to teach their kids’ good manners, etiquettes talk to the elders and discipline them to behave well with everyone.
It is much easier to explain to a grown-up child than it is to a toddler. If your toddler makes it hard for you to discipline him, relax, do not lose your calm.
In today’s article, we will share 11 tips for parents to discipline their toddlers.
11 Ways To Discipline Your Toddler Without Losing Your Calm
Life with a toddler can become pretty nerve-wracking. Their mischiefs and tricks sometimes make the parents wonder if their little ones are on the mission to boil their blood. You might feel irritated, frustrated, and even angry when your little one misbehaves with you or refuses to listen to you.
If you will yell at your child or make the mistake of spanking him, he will be afraid of you, and in some instances, he might be traumatized due to the parents' abusive behaviour towards them. To ensure that you do not make this mistake, use the following tips to discipline your toddler with love rather fear.
1. Set Boundaries Early
The sooner you start, the less tough time you’ll face to discipline your toddler. From an early age, train your child on what behaviour is expected of him. For instance, if your baby has a habit of throwing food during mealtimes, you need to take quick action and instruct them not to throw their food.
Do not make the mistake of laughing off if they throw their things or hit someone. A child’s brain is like a blank paper. He has no idea what is wrong and right. If you laugh at his actions, he will repeat doing that, thinking it makes you happy. As they grow up, they will become habitual and will find it hard to get rid of it.
2. Eye Contact And Firm Voice
Making eye contact with your child is an excellent way to stop him from pulling his latest stunt or disciplining him when you are outside your home.
Look at them until it catches his attention. Do not utter a single word; keep looking at him and shake your head. When your child will realize that you are watching him and he will stop doing what he was planning to.
If shaking your head doesn’t work, use your voice firmly without raising it and say no to them. Shouting at your child is a short term solution to his behavioural problem. It will become ineffective after some time. Therefore, let your child know that you are observing his behaviour.
3. Give Time-Out To Your Toddler
If your toddler becomes crank and refuses to listen to you, ask him to sit alone for a few minutes and talk to you after his time-out is over.
When your child sits alone and doesn’t get to speak to you or his siblings for a few minutes, he will reflect on his actions. It will also allow him to calm down and talk politely to everyone around him.
Once his time-out is over, talk to him politely and explain why his behaviour was inappropriate. Ask him what triggered him to misbehave. Listen to him politely and try to look for cues. Toddlers get cranky when they are sleepy, hungry, or upset about something.
However, make sure not to overdo this. If you give your child a time-out for every trivial mistake, it’s going to lose its effectiveness, and your child will never realize his mistake.
4. Be The Role Model
Your little ones notice all your actions. They will mimic the same actions and behaviour that they observe all day. If you don’t want your child to hit others, make sure you do not spank or hit your elder children. When a child sees a parent doing something, they assume that it is correct to behave like their parents.
Similarly, if you want your child to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, join them and toss away all the junk in the trash can. Your efforts in making your child eat healthy food will be wasted if you do not eat what you want your child to eat.
Another common problem that parents are facing these days is the overuse of gadgets by their kids. Even toddlers need a cellphone to entertain themselves. Parents should first limit the screen time for themselves and start spending time with their kids to prevent this from happening.
In short, if you want your child to show positive behaviour, make sure you demonstrate it to them. Do not expect your child to talk politely and treat others well when he is yelled at and mistreated by his elders.
5. Explain The Negative Consequences
It is essential to make your toddler aware of the consequences if they cross the line. Explain that they will have to lose a privilege if their behaviour is negative and upsetting.
For example, if your toddler misbehaves, calmly tell him that he has lost the privilege of watching TV today or eating their favorite snack. This strategy is not to punish your child but to make him aware of the consequences of his action. It will enable him to choose between negative behaviour and losing a privilege.
If your child gets cranky, you can keep a condition on which they can earn their privilege back. For instance, you can tell your child, “You have lost your chance to eat ice cream today, but you can earn it back if you pick up your toys and put them in its place.”
6. Let Them Learn From Their Own Mistakes
Children learn naturally from their mistakes. Letting your child learn the consequences he’ll face if he doesn’t listen to you or misbehaves is referred to as learning from natural consequences.
Your child learns the result of his actions by himself, and he will be cautious in the future about repeating his mistakes. For example, if your toddler doesn’t handle his book correctly, or tear the pages, then he won’t be able to read that book. Similarly, if he wears a full-sleeved shirt during hot weather, he will not feel comfortable.
If your child has made a mistake from which he can learn by himself, do not rush to rectify his mistake. For instance, do not buy a new toy for your child if he has broken one. Let him learn that his behaviour has natural consequences, which can affect his happiness and comfort.
7. Appreciate Them For Their Positive Behavior
Your little one observes how you react to his actions. If he observes that his caregivers only pay attention to his negative attitude and don’t notice his positive behaviour, he will not be motivated to show his best behaviour.
Make it your habit to appreciate your little one for all the efforts he puts into behaving well. Praise and encourage him to continue the same behaviour in the future. Also, share his good habits with his siblings and other family members. When he gets appreciation from people around him, it will serve as an incentive for him to be at his best behaviour all the time.
Toddlers love it when they get attention from their family members. If you spend time with him and appreciate his good habits, he won’t resort to negative behaviour to catch your attention.
8. Reward Them
Just as you set consequences for bad behaviour, set the rewards for your child's positive behaviour.
Inform your child about the rewards that he can earn by showing his best behaviour. You can reward him by giving him extra 15 minutes of playtime or taking him to the nearby park. Ensure that you do not go back on your words, or else your little one won’t trust you again. Do not promise him something which you cannot deliver. For example, if you promised your child that he’d get a new toy in the evening, but due to some reasons you couldn’t buy one, don’t expect your child to understand your situation.
To make this tip more effective, you can prepare a reward jar or chart. Tell your child that you’ll put a star or a smiley face in the jar for his excellent behaviour, and on getting 5 or 6 stars, he will get ice cream, or you will take him for the outing. Your toddler will make sure to be on his best behaviour to earn maximum stars.
9. Express Your Feelings
Do not expect the child to understand what is wrong and right. As a parent, it is your responsibility to inform your child and teach him to distinguish between good and bad behaviour.
Moreover, be frank with them and share how you feel when they show their positive or negative behaviour. A toddler has no idea why his parents get upset if he misbehaves. Talk to them and explain to them logically how their actions affect the others around them. For example, if your child has a habit of biting or hitting others, explain to him that it is a bad trait and upsets you. Also, emphasize that they can hurt someone by hitting or biting them.
However, while expressing your feelings, do not compare your child to others. Comparison creates a negative attitude in your child and will shatter his confidence. He will be led to believe that he is not good enough to please his parents. This feeling can hinder the social behaviour of the child in his later stages.
10. Selective Ignoring
Selective ignoring is one of the most effective alternative discipline strategies than spanking. This technique requires you to ignore your child for his mild misbehaviour.
Do not give him the attention he is seeking from you.
For instance, if he is constantly complaining or whining about wanting something, ignore him. Pretend as if you didn’t hear him. If he starts screaming or crying, politely explain to him that you will not reply to him if he’ll scream or misbehave. At first, he might get cranky and push your limits, but stay firm and do not look at him.
After a few minutes, when he’ll observe that he is not getting any attention from his negative behaviour, he will calm down to receive a response from you.
11. Take A Deep Breath
Your toddler will try to test your limits in every possible way before you give in to fulfil his demands. Being submissive to all his requests and orders will not help you to discipline him.
There will be times when you are left with just one choice; to spank your child or yell at him. During those situations, take a time-out for yourself, and go somewhere where you can relax.
Take deep breaths, drink some chilled water, and understand that your child is young and he needs your help to improve his behaviour. This habit will not develop overnight. You have to work on it consistently to keep yourself calm while disciplining your little one.
Winding It Up
Disciplining your child is an uphill task. Do not expect him to exhibit his best behaviour the moment he steps into his toddlerhood. Train him, make him understand the rules you have set for your family, and reinforce them daily.
Be a role model to him and always speak to them politely. It is natural that your temper will rise by looking at a messy and unorganized house, but do not shout at them under any circumstances. Give your toddler time to demonstrate the behaviour you expect from him.
Consistency is the key to make your child disciplined. Remember, instructing once or twice will not bring long-term results. You have to remind them of the rules daily to get the best out of him.
Do you know of some other strategies to discipline your child without losing your calm? Enlighten us in the comments below.