As far as raising children are concerned, the toddler stage is quite a task. They learn, they explore and they want more and more, with every step they take. As a parent, you have to find a way to achieve a balance between what your child can, and cannot do.
You often hear parents talking about the terrible twos, not to mention embarrassing tantrums. It is not easy to deal with a toddler but you can still correct his/her inappropriate behavior and reinforce positive behavior, by trying out some of the ideas given below.
- Give your child a chance to learn from his/her own mistakes and help him/her understand, that every action has a consequence. This does not mean he/she should be left to deal with dangerous situations. But if he/she does things like throwing or dropping his/her toys, make him/her do the picking up. If he/she refuses to do so, put the toys away and call a timeout.
- Try distracting your toddler from what he/she is doing by suggesting a more interesting activity. For instance, if your child is playing with the cushions on the sofa, bring out one of the child’s own toys and show him/her something to do. Get him/her to have a little race with you, using toy cars. This is also a great chance to spend some quality time with your child.
- You can also try getting your kid to do something similar but more acceptable. For instance, if your toddler likes drawing on the walls, bring him/her paper and washable or erasable crayons. This way, he/she can be as creative as he/she likes, without damaging the decor.
- Sometimes toddlers misbehave to get your attention. In such cases ignoring their behavior can make them stop. However, make sure they are not indulging in any unsafe activities. Avoid screaming at a toddler when he/she misbehaves. It will only teach the child to scream when he’s displeased. Also, don’t give lengthy explanations about wrong behavior since young children rarely understand an adult’s reasoning.
- Be consistent while disciplining a toddler. If you let him/her off for misbehavior once in a while, he/she is not going to take you seriously and will probably take advantage of your weakness. Bear in mind that the level of discipline should equal the misbehavior. If your toddler is hitting his baby sister, or biting you, a stricter and firmer approach is necessary. Try not to always say ‘No’ or ‘Don’t’. Use more positive language to discipline your child.
- Don’t use corporal punishment like spanking. Instead, use disciplinary measures like restricting television privileges or a short timeout for 10 minutes. Make note that timeouts may not be effective for a child less than two years of age.
Tips and Warnings
- Remember that no matter how angry or shocked you are at his/her behavior, you should never hit a toddler on the face or head, as you could seriously injure the child.
- Never excuse a toddler if he/she engages in dangerous behavior like running out on the road or jumping off a high surface. Be firm so that your child comes to no harm.