Disciplining your Toddler

By Jamell Andrews

For the majority of parents, finding effective ways of disciplining their toddler is incredibly difficult. Throughout a toddler’s development, he will naturally start to test the boundaries that you impose upon him. It is important to remember that establishing boundaries for your young child is extremely important, and he needs to know where these boundaries exist in order to abide by them.

Throughout the toddler phase, your child will more than likely look for ways around the boundaries you have established. He will test you and challenge you in many ways, but you must be firm in maintaining the limits you have set for him. If you can successfully get through all of this, including his temper tantrums and crying episodes, you will come through it with a healthy relationship that is based on mutual respect.

The Best Methods

If you want to work through your toddler’s bouts of testing his limits and otherwise misbehaving, you need to have some strategies in place for handling his unruly behavior as it occurs.

To begin, you might want to try ignoring his temper tantrums instead of trying to talk to him while he is acting out. To let your child know that he is not going to gain any kind of control over you, either walk away or tell him that you cannot hear him, and he should let you know when he is done so that the two of you can talk.

You might also give him a time out. Many professionals recommend giving your toddler one minute of time out for each year of his age. The attention span of a toddler will not allow for a much longer period than this, so always keep it brief.

Provide structure for every aspect of your toddler’s day. This is important for establishing limits and boundaries, and once created, you need to stand by your decisions.

Other Helpful Strategies

Of course, all parents and children are not the same, so the methods that work for some are not necessarily going to work for others. For the most part, however, parents who follow these general guidelines for discipline have fantastic results.

If you find that you are having difficulty disciplining your toddler, try to get him involved by asking for his help. Children are naturally programmed to want to help, so ask them to pitch in on small activities that they can safely handle. For example, if you are in the kitchen fixing dinner, ask your child to help you wash (or dry) some vegetables. If he is acting up in the car, tell him that you are putting him in charge of safety, which means he needs to tell everyone to buckle their seatbelts.

If you involve your toddler in as many small, helpful activities as possible you will keep his mind engaged and make him feel like he is being useful. This will likely go a long way towards curbing his temper tantrums and other types of disruptive outbursts.