I guess it all started with the terrible twos. Tantrums, fits, pouting, but nothing a mom can’t handle with the right guidance or tools, and a bit of research to find out what’s normal and what’s not; at least that is what’s been helping me with disciplining my own toddlers. And every day, it’s a new chapter with a new situation that needs a little tender loving care or just some straight up tough love.
And with two quite active toddlers, hungry to explore the world, I have needed quite some guidance myself in disciplining my toddlers. Here are a few pointers that usually stick with me on a day to day basis:
- I remember reading in Parenting magazine, that the best way to avoid a testy toddler situation is to prepare them for what’s coming their way. For example, before walking into church, explain to them what they’re going to be doing in there, and how they’re expected to behave. Granted, my toddlers always forget about ten minutes into the service,but at least they’re not surprised and totally confused when I put them in time out for trying to play skip hop on the church benches.
- Another good way to help them adapt to a situation and figure out the best way to behave is to just let them experience it, a local family psychologist suggested. He found that micromanaging your toddler leaves them confused and indecisive on what the right behavior is for a given situation when you aren’t there. He always said to give them a chance, and let them learn. He also recommended continuing with situations even if your toddler continuously goes crazy and misbehaves. He said that toddlers need to learn that you are in control, and throwing a tantrum is not going to get them out of a long grocery shopping trip, or out of a Christmas mass service.
- According to a recent issue of Web MD Baby, the best way to handle a toddler’s temperament is to not blame it so much on yourself. Some kids are just born super active, and that is just the way they are going to be, even if you’re number up prime grade toddler trainer. And then some kids, are born with a quiet personality who like to just sit and observe. Nothing you can do about it. And with that knowledge, you might be equipped with a little more peace of mind to focus on the things that you can indeed control.
- When your child misbehaves, make it a point to explain to them what they are doing wrong. When Toddler Boy acted like a terror at Summer Camp this week, my husband and I sat him down and talked to him about what he did wrong, what he should have done, and why he was being punished and for how long. This changed his behavior for the nest day at Summer camp by a complete 180.
- I watched with amazement a dad at church with his own toddlers. They were sitting a few pews ahead of us a couple weeks ago. As my kids went absolutely insane in my pew because mass was conflicting with their nap schedule, his two toddlers sat absolutely still and facing forward, listening to the priest. And any time his toddlers dared to stir or turn around to check out the mayhem my kids were causing, he quickly took control and reprimanded them, reminding them to focus. I guess what I learned from that is the importance of consistency and patience. Because to be honest with you, sometime I just give up and leave the battle. So it was refreshing to see that it is totally possible to keep your cool and stay in control.
Now this isn’t to say at all that with these pointers, my toddlers are now saints. Because anyone who knows me and my kids know our crazy dynamics. My toddlers are who they are, and I adore that. But it’s always nice to have these bread and butter words of wisdom to help me discipline my toddlers in situations that I can indeed improve by working on their behaviors!