Instilling discipline in a toddler can be quite a challenge.
They are called “terrible twos” and “tyrant threes” for a reason. Toddlers can be rather headstrong, so you’d better be ready to deal with resolute defiance. A toddler is a child anywhere from 1 to 3 years old. It is an age when social, emotional, and cognitive development is significant. Toddlers are notorious for standing their ground with parents or guardians. If the adult is not equipped with adequate patience, the confrontation can end in a mishandled learning opportunity. Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to discipline a standoffish toddler.
Adopt Their Mentality
Toddlers do not have the logic and understanding of an adult. They will insist on doing things because they want to, regardless of consequence. To discipline them to follow simple instructions, one must get into a toddler’s head. For instance, if you tell a toddler not to swing so high in a playground, explain that you know it is fun, but could also be dangerous.
When establishing discipline, nothing is more confusing than an inconsistent adult. When you set ground rules on routines like playtime, eating time and the like, make sure you are consistent. It will be difficult to discipline your toddler if you keep changing a routine or schedule. Also be consistent with other rules like “no soda,” for instance. Do not give in on days when you aren’t feeling so strict.
Reprimand But Do Not Get Mad
It easy for an exasperated parent to lose their composure. Once anger takes over, there is a tendency to miss a teaching opportunity. Anger emanating from a frustrated adult communicates the wrong message and could be mistaken for bullying the toddler.
Be Calm But Assertive
When trying to discipline a toddler, an adult must demonstrate leadership by being calm and assertive. Having to shout or bang on things to assert authority shows a lack of control and failure on the part of an adult. Instead, speak in a calm but authoritative voice, and be firm with what you say.
Choose Your Battles
Do not forget that you are dealing with a Toddler. They will have their days of recalcitrance. When you sense something will turn too contentious if you assert a point, let it go. Return to the subject another time when you can manage it better. Discipline will not get instilled overnight.
Never Forget That You Are the Adult
You can be certain that even as the adult, you will make some wrong judgment calls. Nobody said trying to discipline a toddler is easy. Nevertheless, always keep in mind that you are the adult and are always in control. You may not get 100% compliance every time from your toddler, but that does not mean you are failing. Learn to calibrate your authority with the weather. One might say that instilling discipline in a toddler is like a dance. You move along together to the music until you both get the rhythm right.