Our 4 Best Tips for Effectively Disciplining Toddlers

For many moms, having to discipline toddlers is one of the most difficult and hair-raising experiences they will ever have. Toddlers can’t control their emotions yet, but moms need their kids to learn how to manage themselves without a constant battle of wills. These are our four best principles for effectively disciplining toddlers.

Consistency is Key

Being consistent about expectations and rules is probably the most important thing you can do as a parent. That doesn’t mean consistency is easy! When your toddler cries, talks back or gets angry, you will be tempted to jettison your rules. But remember the rules are for their benefit, and enforcing them is how you ensure that toddlers grow. Consistency of rules will be important throughout their lives, so get started now. Remember, the more consistent you are about rules, the faster your child will learn what is acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable behavior. And as they age you will see the benefit, because when they know your expectations, they strive to meet them.

Reward Good Behavior

When you think about discipline, the first thing that comes to mind is punishment. But punishment is not the whole story. It’s equally important to reward your toddler’s good behavior. Positive reinforcement highlights the behaviors you want to encourage and it is actually easier to get children to behave with positive reinforcements. You don’t want to go overboard with giving your child candy and toys each time, but think about different levels of reward and it will go a long way towards teaching your toddler.

Model Good Behavior

Charles Barkley once famously declared “athletes are not role models.” He was right – parents are the primary role models in their children’s life. When it comes to modeling behavior, your kids are always watching you. All children, like their animal counterparts, learn primarily from watching their parents. When you want to teach your toddler how to share, be polite, and say please and thank you – make sure you model this behavior.

Be Aware of Triggers

When children are in the toddler stage, some of their behavior is predictable. You probably already know which situations are going to trigger a tantrum. In some cases you will be able to prevent the misbehavior by removing the triggers. If you child is throwing something across the floor, pick up the object and put it out of reach. If sharing is a problem, remove the most triggering toys before the playdate. The same is true of meltdowns triggered by being hungry or tired. If you’re going on a long road trip, make sure you bring snacks. Make sure they don’t miss their afternoon nap if being tired always has negative ramifications later. You can’t avoid and prevent every misbehavior, but when it’s feasible to do so, remove the temptation ahead of time.

Take a Time Out

Time outs are good for kids and their parents. Reserve time outs for when nothing else is working. Experts recommend a time out of one minute per year of age, but let your own instincts guide you. Make a habit of warning your child that if they don’t cease their bad behavior, a time out is coming. If they don’t listen, then remove the child to the time out space in your home. Always set a timer and when it expires, ask your child to apologize. Then always follow up the apology with a hug and a smile, so your child gets positive reinforcement. Since toddlers do not want to be alone away from parents, a time out can be very effective. A time out is also a good thing for parents, who need a few minutes to take a deep breath.

  • Marriage Communication After Baby: 4 Tips for Discussing Household Chores
    One of the happiest moments of your life is the day you bring your first (or second, or third) baby home from the hospital. In the days and months ahead, you will experience incredible highs and ...
  • How to Baby-Proof Your Home
    If you have an infant, it may seem too soon to start baby-proofing your home, since your child is still learning how to lift his or her head. But child development happens quickly. One day your baby ...
  • Diapers and Their Alternatives: Finding the Best Choice for You
    Statistics claim that you will change about 7,000 diapers during the first three years of your child’s life. Disposable diapers were invented in the 1970s in order to make parents’ lives ...
  • How to safely introduce your toddler to a swimming pool
    It can be an anxious task with the mere thought on how to safely introduce your baby/toddler to a swimming pool. But it’s not as hard as you think if you know the right and safe way to let your ...
  • Managing Gestational Diabetes for a Healthy Baby
    Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy-related condition that affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your ...