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6 Positive Discipline Strategies That Work With Toddlers

Whether you’re a mom or a nanny, caring for a toddler can be tiring. Balancing the need for safety with the need for safe exploration can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. As toddlers begin to discover their independence and test boundaries, encourage them to do so while setting limits and creating a safe place to learn more about themselves and their world.

1.      Set your toddler up for success. Taking an overtired, hungry toddler out on errands is a recipe for disaster. Bringing a toddler to Aunt Mildred’s for dinner when her home is filled with porcelain collectables is going to end badly. Heading to a restaurant after your child is already famished isn’t going to make for a pleasant dining experience. When possible, make plans around your toddler’s schedule and minimize exposure to potential problems.

2.      Be consistent. Your child can only live up to your expectations if he knows what they are. Don’t allow jumping on the couch one minute and become irate when he does it the next. Pick your battles, set your rules and consistently and constantly enforce them. Setting limits will help your toddler to feel safe and secure as he discovers his world.

3.      Be sure your words and your actions match up. When speaking to your toddler it’s important to be calm but firm. Telling your toddler “no hitting” while cuddling him and rubbing your nose against his sends him mixed messages. Be clear in your expectations by ensuring your words and your actions send the same message.

4.      Use distraction and redirection. When disciplining toddlers, distraction and redirection are your best friends. Nothing can get a toddler to stop tearing books out of his bookshelf like saying “Wow look at that car!” as you eagerly point out the window. If you’re toddler’s throwing toys, remind him toys aren’t for throwing and offer him a ball to throw instead. You’ll eliminate the need or unnecessary power struggles when you do.

5.      Avoid saying “no.” Toddlers like hearing “no” as much as you like saying it. To keep “no” effective, save using it for when it’s absolutely needed. Instead try using “danger” or making a sound like “ah, ah” to get your toddler’s attention.

6.      Give him choices. Instead of asking your toddler if he wants to go potty, tell him it’s time to go potty and ask him if he wants to use the upstairs bathroom or the downstairs one or if he wants to use the stool to climb up to the potty or have you help him on. When you give your toddler acceptable choices you reduce the likelihood of having a battle of wills.

True discipline means to teach and to raise up. When parents and caregivers understand the real role of discipline and the importance of it, it’s much easier to implement and commit the time and energy required to so positively and successfully.



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