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Discipline is grounded on a healthy relationship between parent and child. To know how to discipline your child you must first know your child. Build and strengthen this connection between you and your child and this will lay the foundation for discipline. Once your child trusts you to meet her needs, she will trust you to set her limits.

The following lists out some ways for toddler discipline:

Time out

Despite your best efforts, at some point your toddler will break the rules and you will need to administer discipline. This is where time-out can be your friend. A time-out has the benefit of giving your child a chance to “cool-off” and regain control over misbehavior. Keep this time-out time to a minimum, 1-3 minutes only. Let the place for this time out be constant such as high chair, his room, or the corner of a room. Toddlers don't usually stay in the corner so it means stopping what you are doing and standing over them with your side or back to them so that they can't engage your facial/body language. Once time out is over, you can remind them what they did wrong in very simple language and then if they do it again they go back into the corner. Be discreet, and remember always NOT to do it in front of others to avoid bringing down his self-esteem


This is the best form of toddler discipline. You distract your child from his original intention and quickly divert him towards a safer alternative. You can give him something else to do for example, helping with the household chores and soon he will start enjoying himself. While there will be times where punishment is necessary, helping kids find distractions when their good behavior is starting to wane is a key to preventing unwanted behavior or tantrums. For example, if your toddler is whining for chocolate, bring out his favourite story book or toy, and attract his attention to this instead.

Never give in to a tantrum

Toddlers usually throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. It is important not to give in when they do, as this reinforces the idea that they can throw tantrums to get their way. Sometimes toddlers misbehave for the attention, particularly when they throw tantrums. In such cases, simply ignoring them can cause them to stop as they soon realize that their tantrums will not get them what they want.

Set clear boundaries and rules

A basic list of ground rules, whether they’re house rules, rules for going out in public, or rules while playing with other kids needs to be established and made clear to your toddler. Stick to simple, general rules that are easy to understand. Examples of such rules could be “no hitting” or “no climbing onto furniture”.

Set limits

You decide what behavior you cannot allow and stick to that limit. This will be different for each family and each stage of development. Toddlers want someone to set limits. It makes them feel secure and loved, and helps them to understand boundaries. As a parent you have to ensure that the rules you set are simple, easy to understand, and consistent. Plan what you will do if there is a clear breach of pre-agreed rules. For example, “if your toys are not put away in five minutes, you won’t get to watch TV”. Don’t use idle threats and always be consistent.

Set rules

Be clear about your house rules and make sure everyone else in the household is clear about them too. Make sure that the adults all buy into these, and are consistent in rewarding compliance with them. don’t have too many rules, just a few important ones, and be lenient on less important ones. Agree in advance the consequences of breaching the rules, and make sure everyone including grandparents knows them and is prepared to carry them out. If your child won’t cooperate, don’t lose your temper. Take time out to think and calm down before raising your voice.

Create an environment conducive to good behaviour

Create an environment that encourages desirable behaviour. For instance, when your toddler learns to climb, keep all the keep breakable stuff out of his reach, or child proof the house. This way you will free the child to be a child and provide the opportunity for him to grow and mature. By a bit of preplanning you remove most of the "no's" so that a generally "yes" environment prevails.  If you’re in a situation where you require your child to be still or behave, be sure to give them something to do in order to keep them busy. Help your toddler follow the rules by childproofing your home and eliminating as many temptations as possible.

Enforce consequences

There are many ways you can let your child see the consequences of his actions. If your child throws and breaks a toy, he won’t have the toy to play with anymore. Or create a consequence for your child’s actions. Tell your child if he doesn’t pick up his toys, you will take the toys away for a day. If your child doesn’t cooperate, follow through with the consequence. You can also try withholding privileges. If your child doesn’t behave, respond by taking away something that your child values such as a favorite toy.

Whatever consequences you choose, be consistent. Never resort to punishments that emotionally or physically harm your child. Spanking, slapping and screaming at a child do more harm than good.

Praise good behavior

Remember to praise your toddler when he does follow the rules. Praise and positive reinforcement is just as important to toddler discipline as punishment. In fact, positive reinforcement works far better than punishment.  Examples of positive feedback are to let them know they did a “nice job”  or “good job”, with lots of hugs and kisses. Try using other "No" words like stop. You don't need to yell but you do need to put firmness 'don't mess with me' tone in your voice.

The good thing about toddlers is that they are just as easily pleased with a sticker on a calendar or a happy face drawn on the back of their hand as they do with sweets. Try accompanying whatever token is given with a genuine, great job, well done.

 Be consistent

The key to toddler discipline is consistency. Once you have set limits and rules, created an environment conducive to good behavior, and you have established the consequences for breaking the rules, be consistent in how you apply the rules and punishment. Also ensure that you enforce your rules consistently with all of your other children. The best way to teach your child to whine, nag, argue, or be aggressive is to give in occasionally to his behavior. This teaches him to persist even harder. Although it is extremely difficult, being firm from the start will make the future much easier for you all.

Be patient and calm

When your little one is throwing temper tantrums at the shopping mall or refusing to follow even the simplest of instruction, it’s easy to lose your temper. However, it is important that you remain calm and patient so that you can not only avoid escalating the situation, but you can think logically as well. This is important to both your child as well as your own mental well-being.

Try to see the situation from your child’s point of view

 It's much easier to know how to go about improving behaviour if you understand why it exists in the first place. Sometimes, when bad behaviour persists, even in the face of Time Out and other punishments, it's because there's a compelling reason behind it, such as fear, anger or jealousy. In these cases, punishments can help to reduce the behaviour, but any real progress in changing behaviour patterns depends on your ability to help your child to get through the issue. It’s important to try to use their perspective when applying discipline or trying to avoid tantrums. By doing so, you can apply discipline and set boundaries while also helping them learn from their mistakes.

Encourage cooperation

Your child is more likely to do what you say if you uses soft approaches like these:- Ask rather than tell. Say "Would you give me the book, please?" instead of demanding "Bring me the book."

Get help

 If your child's negative behaviour continues despite your best efforts, don't let too much time go by without finding a professional who can support your effort in dealing with a difficult behavioural challenge.

Focus on connecting with your child, not on controlling or disciplining him. When you have a warm, loving connection with your child, he will naturally be more co-operative, better behaved, and a lot of fun. When you use discipline, you should focus on teaching your child the positive behaviour you want to encourage, and setting limits around the behaviour you want to discourage.




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