7 Principles of Effective Discipline for your Toddler

It’s never easy to put a firm foot down and discipline a child. As parents, we have no other choice but to do so. Then come times when we question our worth as parents especially when our methods are rejected by our kids. Questions like, “Did I do the right thing?“, “Why won’t they listen?” or “What else am I supposed to do?” come crawling from the back of your mind and resonate with you.

It’s okay to question your methods, especially if you feel like they are not effective enough. Every child is different, and what works for your friends’ kids might not work with yours. If you feel like you’re running out of options and there is simply nothing you can do to establish some order at home, fear not. There are few rules you should follow, no matter what discipline techniques you use.

Keep these in mind and you’ll see improvement over time, both for you and the kids.

Stay Calm

One of the most important techniques when you discipline a child is your approach amidst the mistake. If you are assertive and calm, your child is more likely to respond with understanding instead of a tantrum.

If you discipline when you are angry, chances are they won’t listen to you, respond in screaming fits or disregard you altogether. Remember to be calm and assertive and ready to forgive. Your kid will show remorse if you talk to them as if you were having a serious conversation with an adult.

Be Consistent

When you implement a punishment, stick to it. Don’t let a cute crying face win you over. Yes, it will tug on your little heartstrings, but be firm. Be consistent with disciplining them. If the same mistake happens again, don’t let it slide because you don’t feel like disciplining your child at this very moment.

You may not believe it but kids remember these things. They know when they do something bad, when to expect a punishment and they remember when you decide to skip. The next time they do something wrong, they’ll be quite expectant of you skipping punishment this time around as well. Your mood should also be consistent.

Pick Your Battles

“No” shouldn’t be your go to word in everything that your child does.

If you’re always saying, ‘No, no, no,’ your child will tune out the no and won’t understand your priorities. Plus you can’t possibly follow through on all of the nos. -The Discipline Miracle

Set your boundaries and priorities clear. Identify what are the most important things you want your child to learn. You can’t always say no otherwise they would not learn much. If you say no to something as simple as running around in the park, then you clearly do not know what a healthy childhood is like.

Choose where you say no and make your kids aware of them. If you’ve watched Freaky Friday, you might have a Lindsay Lohan moment from your kids if you say no to the simplest things. Choose your battles wisely. Doing so reduces the chances of your child thinking of you as a nagger.

Stick to Simple

Keep it plain and simple. There’s no need for theatrics or drama when you discipline a toddler. They won’t understand why you’re crying or why you made them kneel on salt with books on their head. A little bit of pain with a plain and simple explanation of why they were punished goes a lot farther than 3 hours of nagging or unorthodox punishments. Save that for severe mistakes and when they’re older.

Simplicity works with toddlers. They understand and dread a simple time out facing the wall, a spanking or no TV time and sweets. In the future when they’re able to argue, that’s the time when you bring out the bigger guns.

Be Sensitive

Did you know that you can avoid some misbehavior? Well, now you know. As a parent, you learn over the years to observe you child in the most scrutinized way possible and by the time they’re toddlers, you probably have a clear grasp of what sets them off. These triggers can be very helpful in keeping your child in check.

For example, if you know your child will act up if another kid takes his toy, then avoid it. Bring extra toys other kids can play with so your child is without and when you get home, teach him the importance of sharing. If your child likes to grab everything from the shelf, bring toys he can play with inside the cart while you’re grocery shopping. Have a game plan ahead of time by knowing what triggers your child’s misbehavior.

Use Positive Reinforcement

It’s not about the punishment itself but the lesson reinforcement you give your child after the punishment. Never leave your kid crying after a spanking. They’ll think you don’t love them. After a spanking or a time out, make sure you sit them down, explain what they did wrong, why you punished them and give them a hug. A hug seals the deal all the time.

Always leave your child with the thought, “Mommy spanked me because she wants me to be good and she loves me.” Rewards can also be a positive reinforcement. Reward your kid if he willingly stops before you tell him to, apologizes for what he’s done or remembers why he was punished before and chooses not to commit the same mistake.

Be Loving

As I have already stated to not discipline your kid when you’re angry, you also must always put love into it. Yes, it’s hard to stay calm and loving when your kid did something wrong and you have to clean up the mess but we can never and must never discipline without love.

These techniques are easier said than done.

When you get to the stage when you are angry and you have to deal with a child who is also upset, it’s hard to keep cool and do your job as a parent properly. Practice makes perfect – remember to give yourself a bit of credit and celebrate small victories and improvements over time.

You and your child are both on a learning journey. There’s no better way than to learn through it together.

If you have any discipline secrets that worked wonder for you, help us out! Leave a comment below!

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Fueled by fun and the simple things in life, I am a full-time writer, a baker on some days when I actually have spare time and a back-up vocalist on the weekends. Coffee and I don't work well together but give me a glass of milk tea or really rich cocoa and we'll be friends for life.

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