With toddlers, you have to keep a few basic principles in mind. These range from them not being able to tell you what they want nor can they move as fast as they like – just as well! That is the perfect recipe for acting out, temper tantrums, hitting siblings and an astonishing range of bad behavior. Here are the basic parenting toddlers tips.
If you think that it is all uphill, it helps to remember that if you consistently show praise, encouragement and affection as opposed to talking about rules, criticism and consequences all the time, then you are on to a winning strategy. Long term, of course! It is also useful to keep in mind that bribes, threats and punishments do not work with this age group.
Did you know that parents are often afraid to set the boundaries and want to avoid embarrassing moments when in public? This usually means that they will give in to the child and that is when the rot starts to set in as parenting expert, Emma Jenner, explains in this short video. Watch this video before reading on.
Parenting Toddlers Tips – The Basics
1. Explain the rules by showing them
First, you have to keep the rules to an absolute minimum. This is essential because a toddler is not going to able to remember them. He or she will probably remember none of them. This is why it is always better to offer an example or make a suggestion. If your toddler is biting or hitting out at his sibling, then you just say, “Why don’t you take turns?”
2. Make good behavior a game
Having problems in getting your toddler to pick up his toys? Best tactic is to make the whole thing into a game. Challenge him or her by saying “Bet you cannot get all those toys back in their box by the time I count to 20.”
When things get a little dangerous, like when a kid starts to play with a rather delicate household object, offer him a soft toy or ball to throw so that his efforts with the glass are redirected to a much safer object.
If you want to learn a clean up song to help with parenting toddlers discipline, watch the video below.
Clean up is fun, when we clean and sing this song.
So come on and clean together and sing along.
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
So, come on and clean together and sing along.
Plan ahead to prevent your child’s triggers
Usually, frustration, boredom, fatigue, hunger and a whole lot of other things are the triggers that will set off bad behavior. You know these very well as they happen so often. Plan ahead so that they will not get too hungry by providing snacks. You can also ensure that they are getting enough sleep as tiredness can often trigger a tantrum. Then make sure that if they have to be out for a long time, they are going to a have toy to play with. Avoid situations where the kids have to sit for a long time or they do not have a space for play. Plan to take activities and games on a long journey. Don’t forget the food and snacks!
4. Tantrums are bound to happen but……
There are a few things you can do to reduce the frequency and intensity of these events. If the child knows the schedule, then this will avoid unpleasant surprises. It is always wise to keep in mind that the child has no effective way of self-control. A tantrum is the only way a toddler can vent his frustration. We do the same as adults by banging doors or swearing!
Once he or she loses it, then you need to intervene. If your kid starts kicking and screaming, it is best to hold him closely and remove him from the situation. Bear in mind the following points:-
- Physical punishment is out because of the negative after effects.
- Forget about explanations as to why they should stop!
- Try ignoring it if there is no risk to others but keep your toddler within sight.
- School age kids should be sent to their rooms but with no time out. Just tell them that they can come back when they have calmed down. This helps them to regain self- control.
- For bad behavior such as hitting siblings and lashing out, you may want to set a time limit n the time out. Usually one minute for every year of age but there is no need to follow this rigidly.
- Giving in will never work as it is sending the toddler the message that having a tantrum gets results!
- When things are calmer, you can talk to older kids (6-9) about their anger issues. There is a kids’ story here which is specifically written for this purpose.
- Punishment or consequences?
Punishment in the form of spanking is sending the wrong message and causes long term side effects which should be avoided. It teaches kids that aggression and violence are effective when you need to get your own way! Parents are doing it to them so they can try it with their peers, siblings and later on with their partners. They are also less in control of their emotions and are less likely to take responsibility for their actions. Punishment is a convenient shortcut for parents but is missing the point in teaching a kid about self-control and learning to manage their emotions. This is one of the most important parenting toddlers tips that really needs to be stressed.
Natural consequences are much more effective as a means of discipline. They work better than those imposed by a parent. If a toddler hits a playmate, that child will no longer want to play with him. That is a natural consequence and is a great teacher. If a child breaks a toy by throwing it around, then he no longer has that toy to play with. Obviously you will not buy him a new one!
If your toddler grabs his sibling’s coloring book, take the toddlers’ crayons away for a time. If there are problems during bath time play, then just stop the games. If they insist on throwing their food around, you have to end the meal as the food has been thrown away. These are not such natural consequences but rather ones imposed by you, the parent, but they are also effective. The secret is to take action immediately after the incident rather than waiting till later when the child will not be able to remember why this particular consequence is being imposed.
6. Positive reinforcement is a great investment.
Love, affection, encouragement and support are not just useful when parenting, they actually are essential for a child’s healthy neural development. Scientists have found that for every second of the toddler’s life, up to 1,000 new neural connections are being formed. The child’s brain is growing at an extremely rapid rate. The best way to maximize this healthy development is to:-
- Bond with your baby
- Talk to him or her and forget your smartphone!
- Use facial expressions and touch to forge the bond
- Play with your toddler.
The author of the book Brain Rules for Babies, John Medina, says that the best brain boosting technology is probably a coloring book, crayons and two hours of your time!
As regards parenting toddlers discipline, positive reinforcement is the best way forward. This is what we have to do when good behavior happens. We have to reward the toddler with praise and encouragement, rather than continually nagging, criticizing and punishing. It is another way of bonding with the child and is essential in building their self esteem. We can use high fives, clapping and cheering and a thumbs up when we want to reward good behavior. Now that is much better than repeating ‘no’ for bad behavior because your child will soon learn to tune those negative remarks out.
- Keep it short and sweet
Lots of parents try to explain everything to their toddlers and end up with over talking. The child will soon tune out. The parent says that there is always a reason why we do it like that. The child’s reasoning and logical abilities at the age of 3 are not very well developed so it sounds all rather academic and irrelevant to them. Also their attention span at that age is pretty short.
It is much more effective to speak in short phrases. We can tell a two year old that jumping on the sofa is dangerous but there is no need to go into more detail. We can tell a three year old that that longer she takes for brushing her teeth, the less time there will be for bedtime stories. There is no need for a running commentary about how Mummy or Daddy are feeling or what they have to do next.
Finally, setting the example as role models is extremely important when talking about parenting skills. Arguments, threats and insults should never take place when kids are around. Children are great copycats so we have to be decent role models.
Photo credit :- https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesjordan/3531044626 James Jordan via Flickr
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