Welcome to part 3 of Toddler Discipline! If you missed them, here is part 1 and part 2.
This is one of the best toddler discipline techniques you will ever learn. If your child is doing something they shouldn’t try distracting them. Toddlers have an extremely low attention span so use it to your advantage. Let’s say your child is getting into your DVDs and is about to dump them all out and make a huge mess. Before the mess is made, try this, “Hey, look at this ball, let’s roll it across the floor. Isn’t this fun?” Soon your sweet child will be uninterested in the DVDs and will be playing ball. Now say your child is about to throw a tantrum because he or she wants to play with scissors. Try this, “Hey, this crayon is blue. Should we see how it looks on paper? Look, it is blue on the paper too. Do you want to try?” Once you start using distraction, you will be surprised how well it works. Just get your child to pay attention to something else, and you can prevent a whole host of problems.
Say “no” as little as possible, but mean it when you say it
Don’t say “no” to everything. Give natural consequences, do time outs, give choices, or distract your toddler. Try to explain on a toddler level why things must be done a certain way. Let your actions or the consequence say “no” so that you don’t actually have to say it. However, there will be times that you need to say it. When you do say “no” make sure you mean it. Try to reserve “no” for extreme or serious circumstances. For example, if your child begins to run out onto a busy street. Say “no” and make sure they hear you while you retrieve them. For more ideas on how to avoid saying no, check out this website!
Sometimes It’s Okay to Change Your Mind
Sometimes you will be tired, or lose your temper and you will give a consequence that isn’t fair or is completely unrealistic or that just isn’t necessary. For example, maybe your child accidentally dropped some of their food on the floor. Maybe you lost your cool and took away their food and told them they couldn’t eat anymore food until the next meal. Then, let’s say five minutes later, you realize that the consequence you gave wasn’t really fair. It was an accident after all. Go to your child and say something like, “I lost my temper and gave you an unfair consequence. I am really sorry. You can eat the rest of your food, but please try to not drop it on the floor.” Try to stay calm and give good consequences so that you don’t have to do this often. You don’t want to go back on the things that you say very much because then you are just being inconsistent. However, it is okay to change your mind every once and awhile. Nobody is perfect and your child will appreciate your ability to correct a mistake.
Sometimes you just need the help of a higher being to get you through the day when you have to discipline a toddler. :) If you are religious, ask for help with patience, or to think of natural consequences, or to think of good ways to distract your toddler. I remember very clearly once when Little Bear was a toddler. He kept doing something that he shouldn’t. I had applied all of the techniques I knew. I had done everything I could. Finally, I prayed and asked for help. I said “I have done everything I know how, I need your help now.” I don’t remember what Little Bear was doing or what I did after I prayed, but I remember that the problem was gone by that evening. I know that praying can help with parenting so don’t be afraid to pray if you are at your wits end.
I hope you’ve found something to make the terrible twos easier. I would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions you have so feel free to leave a comment or send an email. Thanks for stopping by!