5 Positive Discipline Tools for Toddlers

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 | Comments Off on 5 Positive Discipline Tools for Toddlers

Positive Toddler

If you’ve ever been the parent of a toddler, you’ve likely had some tough moments attempting to discipline or control your child mid-meltdown. Parenting toddlers can be tough because they are old enough to know that they have some independence but are too young to communicate their needs and wants in a way that is clearly understandable. Pushing limits and navigating communication barriers are important developmental steps for toddlers. Yet stressful situations can arise when toddlers become frustrated with their inability to communicate and get their needs met. Below are 5 positive tools for disciplining your toddler and calming him before his frustration gets out of control.

  1. Remember: Connection, Not Control
    Contrary to a once-popular belief, discipline is about building the right relationship with your child, rather than attempting to control him. Attempts to control rarely work, especially with children in the toddler age group, and often lead to escalated feelings of anger and frustration for both parent and child. Simply by remembering that each moment, albeit difficult, is an opportunity to connect and get to know your child better you’re already on your way to becoming a more intuitive disciplinarian.
  1. Distract
    While it may seem like your child goes from zero to fit in five seconds flat, most kids experience stages of frustration or helplessness before melting down. Watch your child carefully and learn the more subtle ways he communicates that he’s feeling out of control so that you can intervene early and prevent a full on fit. When you notice the telltale signs, divert his attention to another activity that is less frustrating.
  1. Set Clear Limits
    Even though they will test them, toddlers need and want limits. Setting limits provides structure and security for your child, helping him feel safe while he explores and preventing him from feeling out of control as he familiarizes himself with new skills and knowledge. The limits you set may frustrate your child at first, but he’ll be better off learning and testing them within the safe context of your home before facing the outside world’s many rules and limitations.
  1. Guide Your Child
    When your child breaks a rule, offer an alternative. For example, if he hits the cat you can simply say, “Hitting the cat is not ok. Let me help you pet the cat gently instead.” Just saying “No” and leaving it at that won’t help your child progress.
  1. When All Else Fails, Stay Calm
    If, despite your best parenting efforts, your child starts throwing a mega-fit, take a moment before stepping in. Center yourself and take a deep breath. Speak quietly and calmly to your child and listen. Try to put yourself in his shoes to understand what he’s going through. Keeping your cool will help you get to the bottom of his frustration and diffuse the situation much quicker than yelling, which will only scare your child and raise your blood pressure.

The toddler years are undoubtedly challenging, but by creating a healthy disciplinary dynamic you and your toddler will enjoy your time together much more.

 

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