Toddler Discipline: Strategies and Challenges

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learn to discipline a toddler

Do you have two years old too? Then you do have an idea of how difficult it can sometimes be to handle their outburst. Then how to discipline a toddler? Discipling your two-year-old can seem like a battle sometimes. Most parents lose when it comes to addressing the temper tantrums of their 2-year-old.

At times it may seem like you are going nowhere with this endless war between you two. It is called the “terrible twos” for a reason. 

So what to do?

Despite the small size, kids can be strong-willed and impressively stubborn. This is your child’s way of expressing frustration because they do not know how to speak and tell you how they feel.

There are many ways to handle their outbursts other than scolding them. We have put together some effective ways to discipline toddlers in this article. Keep reading to learn about them.

READ MORE: New to Parenting? Check Tips for New Parents

Typical Toddler Behavior

These 2-year-olds are energy bundles. They can keep running around, jumping, and playing until they drop out of all the energy. You should be careful in finding healthy ways of tackling their mood swings.

Many times toddlers tend to become overstimulated and may have difficulty regaining the composure. At times, a break from the stimulating environment can help to calm them down.

Now is the right time to teach discipline for toddlers and socially acceptable behavior.

smiling baby girl in blue dress

Common Challenges Faced with a Toddler

Toddlers can sometimes lie in their defense; they may not know if they are lying. They will start saying “no” when you ask some direct questions, depending 0n the tone of your voice and body language if it indicates that they are in trouble. 

Toddlers have limited words to talk about, and it can be difficult for them to explain how they feel. They instead use their body to show their emotions and express feelings.

Limited verbal skills can make them throw tantrums when they are angry or upset, and this also happens when they are unable to handle their emotions.

Aggression is a part of this. Don’t be surprised if they bite, hit, or maybe throw things.

You can make some simple house rules and then consistently enforce them. You will have to remind your toddler frequently and have them practice over and over.

toddler playing with sand

READ MORE: This is All You Want To Know About Baby Growth Spurts.

How to discipline a two-year-old?

Disciplining toddlers is not very difficult. You can modify the strategies to fit your child’s behavior and what, according to you, is right for them.

Here area few tips that will help when the next time your kid gets out of control.

  • Ignore them

This may seem rude behavior, but it is important not to engage in your child’s tantrum.

When your kids are doing tantrums, then talking to them or trying to explain anything will not work with them at the moment. Wait until they have finished throwing tantrums. Give them a hug when they calm down and go on with your work.

Your child is too young to understand the purpose of tantrums unless you get them in a habit that this is the best way to grab your attention. Tell them in a firm yet in a calm way that they have to use words if they want to tell you something.

Teach them toddler language, hurt, i want, tired, drink, etc. this will also make the bond between you two stronger.

READ MORE: Examples of Positive Discipline

  • Leave the situation

You need to first understand your own limits before trying to discipline your child. If you feel you are getting angry, then walk away and take deep breaths.

Remember that your child’s intentions are not to upset you; they are upset themselves and do not understand how to express the feeling as you can. When you feel calm, try to work on disciplining your kiddo in a healthy manner.

  • Fulfill their demands but on your own terms

For instance, your container is trying an open juice bottle, and your first instinct is to scold them and ask them to put down the bottle. Instead, you should gently ask them to hand it to you and assure them that you will open the bottle and pour the juice in a glass for them.

If they are throwing everything away when finding something, offer them help and fix their problem. This way, you will teach them that they can ask you for help when they have trouble.

If you don’t want them to play with certain items, tell them with a soft voice, why they cannot play with it, and give them something else.

READ MORE: Strawberry Hemangioma: Baby Born With Pink Spot on Skin?

  • Distract them

Our instinct is to keep our children away from any danger. They can start showing tantrums when you take away something that you want. It’s okay to be a little rude if they are heading towards a busy street.

small girl crying

They will show tantrums while learning what to do and what not to.

One more way is to divert their attention to something else and distract them. Call them by their name to grab the attention. When they see you, show them something else which is safe to play with. This way, they will forget what they were upset about in the first place.

  • Think like a toddler

It is usual to become upset when your child is making a mess—drawing on the walls with crayons, tracking dirt into the house.

Now you have extra cleaning work on your hands. Take a moment and think like a toddler. These activities are fun to them and completely normal; they have started discovering and learning things around them. 

If you take these fun activities away from them, they will start the tantrums. Wait for some time, and chances are they stop doing in some time and move onto something else. You can even join them, start coloring on paper with them.

  • Do not underestimate rough spots.

Certain times of the day or situations might trigger the toddler’s behavior. One big reason is the transition from one activity to another. Giving a heads up to your child is a great way of preparing him to switch gears.

  • Pick the battle

If you always say no for everything, slowly, it will lose its effectiveness in your child’s mind. Divide bad or poor behavior into three parts, low, medium, and high priority.

You should always put more effort on the worst offenders. If you keep ignoring small mistakes, eventually, the child will stop repeating the mistakes because it does not get any attention from you.

  • Apply preventive measure

Your house should be made kid-friendly to make it safe for your toddler to move around. Put your expensive jewelry away from the nightstand, so that they do not get their hands on it. When going out for dinner, go a little early so that you don’t have to wait long for a table.

  • Your statements should be short and sweet.

Want to know how to discipline a toddler? Little children have a limited vocabulary. And you need to speak in short sentences like “no biting,” “no hitting.” This way, you will have more impact on the child.

  • Implement consequences

The toddler should start to learn about the outcomes of his/her bad behavior.

For instance, if he is insisting on choosing his own pajama, which will take hours, then tell him then no reading bedtime stories today. This way, next time, he will not take much time in picking up the pajamas or may not insist too much.

  • Focus on the behavior rather than on the child
mother teaching discipline to baby in the playground

Do not say to your child that you are bad; always say that this particular behavior is bad. You always want to make sure that they know you love them, but you do not encourage the way he/she is acting. 

  • Give options to your child.

If you give a choice to your child out will make them feel they have a vote. But do not end up giving too many options. You can ask them either you can wreck pink pajamas or yellow. Which one do you like?

  • Do not shout

Do not yell at the child and raise your voice to discipline the toddler. You should be firm but use a calm tone of voice.

  • Praise for good behavior

Whenever you catch your child doing something good, praise them for their good behavior. This will encourage them to do it often, and they will try to bring it out to your attention. Positive reinforcement has a great impact in promoting good behavior or conduct.

  • Act on spot

Do not take the time to discipline your toddler. After five minutes, they will forget what they did badly. Point out bad behavior immediately.

crying baby
  • Practice what you preach

They say it right; parents are their kids’ role models. If they see you being calm in pressure situations, they will learn the same. In the same way, if you lose your temper or throw tantrums, they will quickly catch up.

Little kids mimic their parent’s behavior really fast. Be a good role model for your kids.

  • Don’t act like they are adults.

The toddler won’t have any effect of a big long lecture from you and will not even understand it. When they throw the food on the floor next time, do not say,” you cannot throw the food” instead calmly tell them you will not enter the kitchen tonight.

  • Do not negotiate with the child.

You should never negotiate with your child to give something else to replace what they have. They will always use this method to get what they want.

  • Don’t spank them

You might be pushed to do so in some situations, but you need to act maturely. There are other good ways of communicating the message instead of scolding and spanking.

If you have told your child not to push the buttons for the hundredth time, then take a step back, ignore for a while, he may stop doing it when you will stop noticing.

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