Tips on Teaching Your Demanding Little Toddler Discipline

Teaching discipline to a demanding toddler takes patience. Consistency is one of the keys to dealing with your toddler's behavior.

Your sweet little infant who was entirely dependent on you has now become a little toddler. He or she is walking; feeding themselves, learning to be potty trained, and is trying to figure out all sorts of things. Your toddler is developing as an independent individual. This can be a trying time for both you and your toddler. Are you up to the task of teaching limits and boundaries to your little charmer?

You will need to be patient. First of all, remember that you are the adult and try not to lose control of the situation. You will need to dig deep on some days when you have told them NO and steered them from harm’s way for about the 50th time.

Have a positive attitude. Try to look on the bright side. Enjoy your toddler’s good moods. They are a lot of fun. They are energetic and you need to provide things for them to do that take advantage of that energy. Be sure to plan outdoor activities for them when the weather is nice. Go for walks or go to the park and swing. Take them places where they can interact with others. Take them shopping and occasionally out to a restaurant.

Teach them manners. Please and thank you is something that they can manage at their age. They need to know when it’s okay to run around and holler. Church, restaurants, and stores are places where they need to learn control. Don’t avoid going out with them because you’re afraid they might cause a scene. Consider these types of situations learning experiences. If they do cause a scene, take them completely away from the situation. Don’t subject others to a screaming raging toddler. Take them out, calm them down and take them back in. If they persist in bad behavior, then it’s time to go home.

If they do get to the point where they throw that tantrum, let them go for a couple of minutes. They are having a hard time communicating and this is their way of showing their frustration. Try singing or doing something that will distract them. They have pretty short attention spans. Once you get them distracted get them on to another activity and they will forget what they were fussing about, most of the time.

Be sure not to skip naps too often. The more tired you toddler gets the harder it is for them to be cooperative and pleasant. Adults also get cranky when they don't get enough sleep. You can't expect a toddler to be any different. Sometimes they won't want to take a nap, but it's best to put them in their bed and let them have a little alone time. Most times they will fall asleep on their own.  Missing a nap once in awhile is not the end of the world. Your life doesn't have to revolve around naps, but you will need a measure of consistency.  Try for naps to be around the same time, and in the same place each day.

When you tell your toddler no, mean what you say. Don't give in. Your little one will test you in many ways every day. You will need to be firm. It's not easy, but eventually your child will learn what is expected. The older they get the more you will be able to reason with them. Putting a child in time out usually works. It gets your point across much better than yelling at them. Surprisingly this is a method that works quite well. It’s not necessary for lengthy time outs. A good rule of thumb is a minute for each year of their age. So a two year old could be put in time out for two minutes. If you start to yell, that means you’ve lost control.

* Warning: If you let them have their way on everything, you will be creating a very difficult situation. There is nothing worse than a selfish spoiled child who throws tantrums to get what they want.

* Spanking is not necessary.

* Never pinch or squeeze or jerk on a child's limbs.


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Judith Barton
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Lisa Jensen
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Sharla Smith
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