Top toddler discipline strategies to try

Handling tantrums well should help toddlers learn how to deal with emotions

Top toddler discipline strategies to try

Toddlers are known for their tantrums — those outbursts of emotions when things don’t go their way. Need to tame the toddler in your home? Check out these seven strategies:

  1. Time in. When your child starts acting out, find a quiet space away from activity where you and your child can spend a few minutes together. Young children have a hard time controlling their emotions and need help getting things under control. Sitting close, holding your child on your lap, or just being near your child can help your child calm down.
  2. Pick your battles. It is not healthy or productive to constantly battle with your toddler about decisions they want to make. Let some things go. Letting your child make decisions allows them to hone this skill they will need in life.
  3. Be consistent. Avoid being inconsistent with your expectations. If you let your child do something one day and not the next, you are sending mixed messages. Inconsistency creates children who will continually test the limits.
  4. Avoid meltdown triggers. If you know your child is tired, hungry, or doesn’t do well during quick transitions, try to avoid these situations. Resist trying to reason with your child at this point as it may result in an unnecessary meltdown.
  5. Validate feelings. Empathy for your child’s feelings can help calm your child down. For example, if your child wants a toy while shopping, a response could be, “I understand you’re sad you can’t have the toy, but right now we are shopping for other things.” This lets your child know you understand that they are upset and their feelings are important.
  6. Redirect and/or distract. If you can tell your child is starting to get upset, try talking about something else or take your child to a different area for a change of scenery. You might be surprised at how this simple strategy works.
  7. Communicate at your toddler’s level. When you are explaining to your child why they are being disciplined, it is best to kneel down so you are looking eye-to-eye versus towering over your child. Standing over your child can be intimidating and seem punitive. Avoid using lengthy explanations that your child may not understand or follow.

For more tips on understanding and managing your child’s behaviors, attend the class “Why I Do What I Do.”

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Posted In Behavioral Health, Children's, Family Medicine, Parenting