Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The How To's on Disciplining a Young Toddler

I'd always been warned about the terrible two's. For most of us, this is known as an infamous age. Each time our mother's mothers prepared us for parenting the resounding message was beware of age two.

Legend has it, two is the age where your toddler is in full-on tantrum mode. 

But what our mother's mothers never prepared us for is age one. This age where the sweet moments of toddlerhood are presenting themselves. The moments where they want to sit on your lap, hold your hand and smother you in open-mouth kisses. A seemingly magical age. 

What they failed to mention is that sprinkled amongst these moments is the beginning of the infamous age two tantrums. 

Lately we've been battling blood-culring screams because Jackson's realized what a great set of lungs God has blessed him with. He's learned that the word "no" means no and that if you continue to feed your food to the dogs you can in turn watch your mother's head explode. That tiny innocent toddler of mine has also learned that throwing himself on the floor is the perfect way to get onlookers attention. Scratch that, anyone's attention! If life isn't going his way, he so carefully throws himself to the ground, rolls to his tummy and lays there screaming, stiff as a board. 

This is what we're up against mamas. 

Clearly, it's time for some discipline, but that word sounds so harsh to apply to a mere 1-year-old. Seeing as Brandon and I know something needs to be done I took to the interwebs to find some advice. And wouldn't you know, we were on the right path already. 

Thanks to What to Expect When You're Expecting's website I now hold the key to toddler training. 
Because let's face it, that's what it is, training. 

Do tell and show your baby how much you love him. Remember, you’re correcting his behaviors, not him. Model politeness and respect (with him and everyone else!).

Don’t be too strict or rigid. If you set your standards too high, it’s hard for your little one to feel like he can succeed and to develop the self-control he needs to behave even when out of your sight. But …

Do be strict enough. Setting limits that are fair helps him feel loved and protected. If you’re overly permissive, he may get the sense that you don’t care what he does.

Don’t let down your guard about safety. You might be teaching your baby that the stove is hot or the stairs are steep, but don’t count on him to avoid temptation.

Do take personality into account. Some babies require a firm tone of voice, while others respond better to a gentler one. Still others must be physically removed from a dangerous area before they get the message. And circumstances (a new sitter or an erupting tooth) matter too when it comes to getting your message across.

Don’t shame or criticize. Your baby isn’t trying to be cruel to the cat by pulling her tail; he’s just curious about what will happen when he does. Calling him a “bad boy” doesn’t help him learn to be kinder to kitty and can crush his developing self-confidence.

Do be consistent. Telling your baby not to climb up on a chair one day, then letting him do it the next is confusing. So is saying “don’t touch” without following up if (when!) he ignores your request. It takes a lot of patience and repetition to teach compliance.

Don’t always say no. A constant chorus of “no, no, no!” strips the word of its power, fast. Choose your battles; safety (of people and things) is most important. Try distractions and alternatives whenever you can (“This knife is too sharp for you, but you can stir with this big spoon”). Turn “don’ts” into “dos”: “This is how we pet a cat” instead of “Don’t pull Fluffy’s tail!”

Do catch him being good. Praise him for offering a toy to a peer or for “helping” you with a chore. Accentuating the positive is truly powerful!
I for one am reading and re-reading this tips each morning. Because while age two may be the infamous toddler-tantram era, age one certainly presents its own battles.

*I was not compensated by What to Expect When You're Expecting for this post, I simply love their brand and trust their advice in parenting.* 

9 comments:

  1. I have been told that the terrible two's actually start around 18 months or even before that! These are great tips by the way!

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  2. Very helpful tips! My toddler just turned 2 and she is testing and retesting her boundaries daily.

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  3. Great tips. Something I also found helpful while survivng my 3 toddlers was that just a little time alone for myself helped me to faec their tantrums so much more effectively.

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  4. These are very helpful tips! Ethan just turned a year and OH MY he's starting to learn how to meltdown with the best of them!

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  5. Great tips!!! I'll be reading those each morning. I was just talking to my mom about how I feel like Mackenzie is 'crying' all the time because she can't get on the couch or do this or do that. That I think I say no too much.
    Glad that there are other one year olds doing what mackenzie is doing and moms feeling the way I do. :)
    Good luck!!

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  6. Thanks for sharing- My son is definitely in the Terrible Two's Phase!!!

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  7. How great!!! I am going to tweet this out!

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  8. Yep, it's interesting! We are full on TWO now in all senses of the age. I didn't realize how much energy it takes!

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