Parenting children, especially toddlers can sometimes be overwhelming, frustrating and quite simply tiring! Toddlers can be very insistent about getting what they want and quite often do the exact opposite of what you want them to do. They say “no” often and want to do what they want to do. They want to do things for themselves and become more independent. They have difficulty controlling themselves.
Toddlers love to explore and are often full of energy. During this phase of your child’s development (which is completely normal), he needs to be guided by rules. Try and remain calm and avoid yelling or hitting your toddler during misbehavior. Try these strategies to promote appropriate behavior:
Tip #1: Positive Reinforcement
Focusing on your toddler’s positive behavior works far better than punishment when it comes to discipline. Acknowledge and reward positive behavior. This helps teach toddlers the correct behavior and also gives them the attention and affection they need.
Tip #2: Set Limits (and Stick with Them)
Toddlers are notorious for being boundary-testers. It is critical for them to learn where boundaries are and also what the consequences are for crossing these boundaries. Boundaries provide your toddler with security and also protects them from harm. It will be tough at first, but when your toddler tests the limits, you must be consistent with consequences.
Tip #3: Ignore Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums are a normal way for your toddler to express feelings of frustration, anger and tiredness. Sometimes, negative attention is preferred by a toddler than no attention. If your toddler is having an attention-seeking temper tantrum or throwing a fit because he is not getting his way, try your best to ignore this behavior. Help him to realize that temper tantrums don’t work. Tantrums can scare toddlers, so stay near during a tantrum. He needs to know you are there, in control, and you will accept him and love him when it’s over.
Tip #4: Routine, Routine, Routine
Toddlers need to feel secure and they also like to know what’s coming next. Routines quickly become familiar and are both reassuring and confirming to toddlers. Routines structure the way we handle the “givens” in daily life: waking up, mealtimes, snack times, bath, story time and bedtime. Create a flexible daily routine that can be changed slightly if you find your toddler getting bored. Your toddler will soon know it’s story time after he’s had his evening ;bath.
Tip #5: Distraction and Redirection
The best way to handle situations where your toddler wants to cross boundaries such as exploring something dangerous or touching something breakable, is by offering redirection. This approach can be very helpful in avoiding potential power struggles. Since your toddler has a very short attention span, it won’t take but a minute to get him interested in something else. Divert his attention to a safer alternative such as a new activity or toy.