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 5 Steps to Disciplining Toddlers in the Right Way

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Posts : 111
Join date : 2013-07-08

PostSubject: 5 Steps to Disciplining Toddlers in the Right Way   Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:23 pm


5 Steps to Disciplining Toddlers in the Right Way

When my child was a toddler, my father-in-law had told me that as a parent I should only start disciplining her when she becomes three-year old. Until then children are delicate, prone to abuse and needs loads of love.

It was difficult for me to understand why toddlers cannot be disciplined at that age, but as my child grew up, I learnt the true meaning of those wise words. To understand what we are saying, children need at least a modicum level of cognitive abilities, which only develop after a certain age. Before that, they are just a mass of sensations consisting of hunger, sleep, tiredness, cold, hot, pain etc.

Two years of age is often referred to as ‘Terrible Twos’ for a reason. At this age children understand that their actions matter to people around them, and yet their thinking is not logical. So they are more prone to test their abilities at almost all situations, just to see how far they can get their ways. Temper tantrums, throwing things, doing opposite of instructions, are just some of the ways a toddler asserts himself. So while you are losing your patience, your child is just experimenting with his/her growing self confidence.

At this age, while children do not understand what discipline is all about, and cannot relate punishment to the act they have done, they can, of course, understand that you are upset with them, and do respond to instructions. And if you are to start on the process of how to discipline a toddler, it will help to remember these basic principles:

Avoid Stressful Situations

With toddlers, it’s best to avoid a situation which can lead to stress. Children of this age are more driven by their hunger, tiredness and sleepiness, and are generally cranky when any of these sensations affect them. So if your child is in a noncompliant mood, try to relive her stress by offering her food, rest, or even a different environment, which is serene and undisturbed. If you are in a crowded space, move away from the crowd to a peaceful atmosphere, like a solitary room, or outdoors.

Use Distractions

This works all the time. As children of this age has a shorter attention span, counter her rebellious mood with distractions, such as a story, a toy, or even an activity like playing with dough, patting the dog, or even watering the plants.

Stay Calm
How many times we land up shouting or hitting our children simply because we lost our cool? Never mind why we lost our temper, but hitting a child never accomplishes anything, and it can actually be categorised as abuse, if done regularly. Child abuse will make your children insecure, under confident, aggressive and distrustful towards family members. And hitting your child in a grip of rage is a big no, for you and for your child. It will not make the child understand anything about why you are being so aggressive, and you will land up with a giant-size guilt, and may tend to indulge your child later in a show of affection, which will again be misappropriate. So keep you cool, and stay calm. Remember small steps matter in inculcating a sense of discipline and responsibility in your child, and you are leading by example.

Be Consistent In Your Approach

We often don’t realise that as parents we are sending confused signals to our children. By reacting more when our toddlers’ behaviour in public embarrasses us, and less for the same at home, we are not setting up a very consistent standard for them. As parents, you need to be consistent in your approach. If touching a decorative item at home is not allowed, supervise your child when outside to make sure he is not touching and playing with such items even outside home. If hitting child is unacceptable behaviour at home, make sure you drive your point across every time your child gets into a fight, or bullies other children, pets etc. Simple commands, like ‘No’ and ‘Don’t’, are much more powerful words, than shouting or hitting little children. Try it.

Reward Positive Behaviour

We punish our children for doing things wrong, but what about lauding them for doing things correct? If we expect children to understand punishment as a disciplinary act, why shouldn’t they understand reward as a positive reinforcement? So next time your child does something good, like eats her lunch, behaves herself in public, or goes through an evening of play without getting into trouble, reward her with a hug, or a kiss. Tell her you are proud of her, and allow her to be proud of herself. Love can go a long way in making your toddler disciplined, than punishment. Show her your love and watch her flourish.

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