How to Discipline a Toddler

With children especially of age 2-5 years, it is very important to be consistent while applying some ground rules. It is very confusing for them if you let them do something some days and not allow the same to be done another day. They begin to seek reason and when none is forthcoming, they get further confused. Also, when disciplining them, never overlook bad behaviour which you disapprove of. Bad behaviour is best stemmed from the beginning itself. Make sure you speak to other members in the family beforehand, especially indulgent grandparents, so that everyone in the house is on the same page and discourages the child from doing the same thing. Be careful, children intuitively know who to turn to when reprimanded! All your hard work at setting limits will come to naught if others in the family give in to the child’s wants.

As parents we are focused to notice and stop bad behaviour in our children, so much so that after a while the child begins to find it monotonous and irrelevant and does it anyway. Very often one comes across a parent yelling at his/her child, “Don’t throw/ don’t hit” but the child still throws and still hits. Don’t give up – developing good behaviour may take time, but it stays with the kid for long. Do not forget to reward their positive actions so that they know what is expected of them rather than just telling them what to do or not to do. Notice and appreciate your child when he/she does something you expect him/her to do. Tell him and show with your actions how much you love him – a hug or a kiss goes a long way in building their self-esteem.

Often, we find parents in shopping malls failing miserably in handling their cranky child. The child is more often than not on the floor, flaying his/her hands and legs and shrieking at the top of his/her voice. There is just one way to avoid such an embarrassing situation – do not let it occur. Catch the warning signs – 90% of the time the child throws tantrums either due to hunger, boredom or fatigue. Make sure your child is well fed and has had a nice refreshing nap before you venture out. Always carry a pack of healthy snack and water.

Children are intelligent! They whine to make you give in to their demands. With experience they are also able to conclude what kind of whine will trigger irritation in you and when you will start to give in! This enhances their attention seeking behaviour. So, the next time your child whines or sulks just don’t pay any attention, no matter what. When the child sees that the trick isn’t working, he/she will stop.

Parents try and engage pre-schoolers in some activity or the other throughout the day, thinking that the child will tire and easily fall asleep. But the actual opposite happens. The more the activities the child engages in, the more time he/she will need to unwind and calm down. Before its time to get the child to bed, ensure you do not include too many activities. Give him/her time for free play so that he can go to bed peacefully and relaxed.

Keep these parenting tips in mind and see for yourself how well behaved your child turns out to be!