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Let’s face it, having a toddler in the house is a blessing and a curse. Nothing compares to the joy you get when you see him laugh, play with his favorite toys, get lost in his favorite cartoons and frame up cute little sentences coupled up with even cuter hand gestures. However, every now and then, your toddler is bound to get out of hand only because he fails to understand the consequences of a particular action. That’s where you need to step in to do one of the most difficult yet important tasks of parenthood: Disciplining your Toddler.
The word ‘discipline’ brings along with it a stringent set of rules and regulations, multiple strings of harsh words and punishment but in the case of your toddler, discipline means something entirely else. It means establishing guidelines on the grounds of love, laughter, and mutual understanding and listed below are 7 ways on how you can achieve the same.
Don’t say 'No' to everything: if you say No for everything, your toddler will probably get confused and fail to understand the line between right and wrong. He will think of everything as wrong. Make rules and impose restrictions on specific things. If it’s not harming anybody, don’t try to control it. Don’t turn him down for everything. Like, if he insists on wearing his monkey pajamas all 7 days of the week, let him. These little habits fade out with time and cause no harm.
Hold your ground: In other words, be consistent. Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, your toddler is trying to understand how he is affecting the people around him and how everything is in turn affecting him. Therefore, it is very important for you to be consistent with your decisions or else he won’t be able to understand the consequences of his actions. For eg: If you let him litter the house with utensils one day and shout at him when he does it the next time, then he will never understand whether what he did was right or wrong.
Eliminate the triggers: You can prevent unwanted behavior by your child if you know what triggers that particular behavior. Let me explain this with a real life incident. Every time my nephew found my wallet on the TV shelf, he would empty its contents and litter the house with notes, cards, and coins. This happened multiple times and after I lost my debit card, I started keeping my wallet on the uppermost shelf where he couldn’t reach it. No trigger equals to no problem.
Stay calm and positive: Handling a toddler is quite a difficult task and quite a few times, your toddler will push you to your breaking point. Now even though it’s quite hard for you to not have an outburst. You might want to break into an outburst but try and stay calm. Talk to your spouse about it, call a friend or pretend as if your toddler is not causing you any disturbance at all. The moment you scream or spank your child, he will witness you have lost control over the situation and he will also be forced to believe that physical punishment is acceptable. Toddlers pick up every little detail in their budding years and that’s why it’s important to set an example by staying positive and handling the situation in a calm manner.
Blame the behavior, not the child: One thing you should never do is call your child ‘bad’. That word can have a massive negative impact on your child. Therefore, instead of saying “ Kevin, you’re a bad boy”, say “Kevin, this is a bad thing to do.” Use simple sentences so that your toddler can understand your point. The power and authority of a command are dependent on the tone you use and not the volume. Don’t raise your voice but change your tone to get the point across.
Get your 'toddler mode' on: Toddlers have a hard time understanding simple and basic rules and commands which we, adults can understand in a glimpse. Think like a toddler and set limits accordingly to give them space to fit in their own feelings. Give them options to choose from which will show them that you are considering their wishes and respect their feelings. For eg: If your child wants to watch TV at an unusual hour, tell him that you’ll permit him to watch TV only if he will listen to a story during his regular TV hours.
Reward your toddler: Everyone likes being rewarded and toddlers are no different. Just the way you try to discipline him every time he makes a mistake or throws a tantrum, reward him for every time he does something good. The reward can be something as small as a chocolate or a kiss on the cheek. If he keeps his toys back in the shelf after playing with them, reward him with a lil’ something and ensure that you let him know what he’s being rewarded for. Positive reinforcement will make him want to repeat that particular action over and over again.
Sounds like quite a challenge, doesn’t it?
Give it your all to win this challenge and in the end, your toddler will emerge as the real winner.
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