Supernanny Tips To Discipline Your Toddlers
Speak to any parents about their toddlers’ behaviour and most will agree that it is very challenging. Many parents have commented that their toddlers do not do as they are told, will repeat the ‘bad’ behaviour even though they have been punished and worst, if they do not get what they want, they will throw a huge tantrum.
Why do toddlers misbehave?
Toddlers are very curious about the world around them. Everything is new and exciting. They have a very big desire to explore and experiment. At the same time, they have limited language and understanding skills which very often lead to frustrations. The need for attention, separation anxiety, tiredness and hunger are also factors that cause them to misbehave. These misbehaviour are not planned nor are they deliberate.
Discipline means to punish or to teach. Toddlers do not have the ability to manage their emotions efficiently or stop being curious. Hence they appear not to have heard what you said or learned from their punishment. Although it may upset you when your toddler appears to be ‘defiant’, smacking is not encouraged as it does not teach him what the desired behaviour that is expected from him is. It may instead, teaches him to smack or hit when he is upset.
What he needs is guidance, assistance and encouragement as to how to have socially acceptable or more positive behaviour.
How do we encourage positive behaviour?
Minimising the triggers factors will reduce the incidents of misbehaviour.
Avoid overtiredness and hunger by having a simple routine. Adhering to a routine allow both you and your toddler to know what to expect at certain times of the day. When children are well rested and well-fed, they are more fun and easier to manage.
Childproofing the home will enable more opportunity for your toddler to learn without the un-necessary restraints which often leads to frustrations and tantrums. It is too much to expect a young child to understand and remember what he is allow or not allowed to touch. If the child is not to play or touch a particular object, it would be better to remove or place the object out of reach and out of sight; teasing him will only causes him to be more frustrated.
Create a safe environment
By having a safe environment for your toddler to explore, there is less stress for all parties involved. There will be minimal “No”, Stop” or Cannot”. You do not have to hover around or be a ‘mother hen’ following him all the time. Your toddler will have both the freedom and the confidence, not forgetting the fun, to explore and experiment
Setting Ground Rules and Having Appropriate Consequences
It is not too early to set a few simple ground rules. When setting these rules, explain to your toddler in short simple sentences what you would like him to do. Explain the consequences if he does not comply. An example will be a no hitting rule with quiet time as a consequence. If he hits, remove him swiftly from the scene and put him in a quiet corner.
A ruling has no effect if there is no effective implementation. A child will very quickly learn when consequences are not carry through and hence will not comply.
Be consistent and united
Consistency is necessary when encouraging positive behaviour. Young children are easily confused; they cannot understand why there are different responses to their behaviour.
Unity among parents and care providers will encourage compliancy and lessen confusion in the child.
We have always been told how important it is to praise our children. But the Art of Praising takes some practice. When praising, it is important to praise the action or the behaviour. An example will be: “Well done! You have finished your toast”.
Like most of us, young children and toddlers like to feel that they have control in their world. By having a choice, they feel they are in control. Offer two choices, both of which you can agree with, to your toddler and this will encourage him to make simple decision and take responsibility for his action.
Relate to your toddler how his actions affect you by saying in a level but firm voice. A simple short sentence will suffice. If you prefer, you could also show a sad or an upset face as a result of his action or behaviour. Children including toddlers need to know what is expected from them. A simple sentence such as: “When we are at the shops, I want you to hold my hands” will tell your toddler what he is expected to do when out shopping.
Avoid rewarding misbehaviour
While it is necessary to encourage positive behaviour, it is just as important not to reward misbehaviour. Very often, a ‘bad’ behaviour may accidently be rewarded and this will lead your toddler to repeat the behaviour. Accidently rewards may include negotiating or ‘bribing’ him. On the other hand, ignoring his tantrum or demands when he has been warned will send a very powerful message to him that you are not playing his game.
While it is no easy task managing a toddler, it is more positive to be proactive rather than reacting. A cycle of reactions will cause more stress to all parties involved and not necessary have the desired outcome. As parents, it is also important that we take care of ourselves physically and emotionally so that we can better care for our children.