Having a toddler rocks my world. I thought I had this parenting thing nailed until I learned what a toddler was. Then I realized I had rocked 0-18 months because I had a good kid, not because of anything I did. So now that I am in the throes of two, here are my top 5 tips for disciplining that tiny monster.
1. Threatening vs. Doing – I know I need to remember to follow through with my threats when my daughter is misbehaving, but nothing makes me lose credibility faster than saying you are going to do something and then not doing it. And since my friends are insisting that three is so much harder than two, I had better set in motion now the idea that I mean business and follow through on things I say.
2. Try to avoid bribing in certain situations: “If you do that, I will give you this.” I have found that praise after the good behavior is performed reinforces the good and helps me avoid bribing. But I have to be honest, when it comes to meal time, I do promise dessert for a few more bites of fruits or veggies!
3. Don’t yell across the room, park, or store at your child when you are asking her to do something or trying to get her attention. Go to him/her and get down on his level. It shows a sign of respect and gets their attention more effectively.
4. Saying “Sorry”: It’s hard to make a toddler say sorry all the time, so if you can’t get her to say it, show her how to make the situation better. For example, if he takes a toy from a friend, show him how to give it back. If she hits/bites/pinches someone, show her how to give a hug or pat gently to make someone feel better.
5. Tell your child what he/she CAN do instead of telling him what he CAN’T do all the time. Example: Instead of saying, “Do not stand on that chair,” say “We are supposed to sit on our bottom on chairs.” Instead of saying, “Don’t run in the store,” say “Use your walking feet.”
I find these pretty simple things helpful at keeping me calm and not escalating situations that arise on a daily basis. Because we all know there comes that time when you want to scream across the room like a crazy person and then run for the door because you can’t take one more defiant look or “I don’t want to” from your toddler. Let me know if there are any other Toddler Tricks out there I should be using!!