Toddlers get labeled unfairly with the name, “The Terrible Two’s”, during that turbulent stage of their lives. After surviving and thriving from parenting my own five toddlers, I’m amazed by the behavior of these great little people. Disciplining toddler behavior tends to be the top question on most parents question lists so I have written this list to guide parents and future parents of toddlers.
1 Use empathy.
Empathy means putting into your child the ability to think about what others are going to do and the feelings that go along with that. As your toddler learns to get in the heads of others, she can much better imagine the effects of her behavior on another person before she actually acts. When a child gets knocked down by a bully and is crying an empathetic child will go over and comforts that bullied child.. That’s because you have put into her growing brain a pattern on how to meet the needs of others.
2 Connect With Them Before You Give Them Direction.
When giving a toddler any instruction you meet them first at her eye level and use eye contact to teach her how to focus and listen. Try to make eye contact a direct connection instead of a feeling of authority. This places in your children’s brain the social tools of face to face contact and eye contact. Adress your child by their name to start connecting with them.
3 Tame toddler talk.
When my son John was between 2 and 3 years of age, he was utterly amazed at the strong power of his voice. His screeches could stop anyone cold in their tracks. We quieted him by making the house rule: John can, only scream outside on the grass and nowhere else.If he wanted to scream we would take him outside and we taught him about inside voice and outside voice. We showed him that we only use our indoor voice when we are around others.
4 Understand the toddler’s brain and behavior.
Have you ever wondered what is going on inside your toddler’s brain? From 1 to 2 years of age, a toddler gets most of what she needs to be more independent. Things to roll on and jump on, and get in trouble with, They use these tools to explore their environment. Climbing stairs, climbing onto kitchen counters and jumping off couches are normal, yet can be very concerning to a parent. Also, toddlers now are able to pull and turn knobs, open and close drawers, touch dangling cords and going through the garbage. Everything within reach is fair game. To a child, her entire home is her first schooling experience.
5 Control What a toddler touches. Toddlers do not have the language skill to express their emotions they do it with their actions. Suppose your child is going through a stage where she slaps everyone around her. Show them how to be gentle by guiding their hands to gently caress people and pets. We hug instead of hitting. We use facial expressions to make our point more known.
6 Help The child Change Their Moods
Toddlers get so into their play that it is hard to get them to do what you want them to do. When a child is deeply engrossed in their play we tell them they have 5 minutes to end their play and switch to what we want them to do. That way we gently and softly ease them into something new.
7 Teach your child their manners. Teach your child this valuable social skill. Teach them Please and thank you, and your welcome and no thank you. Teach them to address someone by their name. Expect your child to be polite. This should not be optionable at all. And most importantly talk to them in the same way that you want them to talk to you and others. Children learn by example.
8 Teach what is ok to touch and what is not ok to touch.
Once your toddler starts to explore, they will leave their presence known all through your house. Teach them what is ok to touch and what is not ok to touch by actually going to each object. Strongly point out things that are dangerous. But give them things they can touch like a kitchen drawer all of their own and a corner in the living room just for them.
9 Tame their tantrums.
Keep track of when they have their tantrums so you can get an idea in advance when they are going to blow up. Give them a distracting activity and redirect them to that activity. Give them other choices to choose from. Chose activities around the bad times of day like going places when they have a particularly. They know how to push buttons to get what they want. Let them know that you will not engage with them during a tantrum and you don’t listen when they are screaming and acting out. They will get the point that tantrums are useless and then they will stop doing them. They may have a slip up now and then but for the most part, they will remember that their tantrums do not get them what they want. As their verbal skills get better the tantrums will lessen or even, for the most part, stop.
10 Control Their Demands
We all know that toddlers want everything they see. It’s easy to buy and get them the things they want when they start acting out to get them. But you can control this by having behavior charts. They get stars on the days they are good and when they get a certain amount of stars they get a treat or object they want. This teaches them to earn their wants and that they can’t have immediate gratification. They learn when they are in stores that acting out will not get them the object they want.
Discipline is a challenge for this age. They don’t have the verbal skills to communicate and this leads to acting out. But by giving children the tools they need you can skip the terrible twos and have the terrific twos instead. Children want to be good and to get positive reinforcement and attention and using their tools can lead to a much happier and content child which leads to a happier and content parent.