Instilling discipline in children, especially toddlers, is one of the hardest responsibilities of parents. Very often, parents are faced with a dilemma when it comes to toddler’s discipline. You do not want to spare the rod likewise; you do not want to abuse your child. Mastering the art of discipline can help you in when faced with such options.
It is important to state that most parents see the art of discipline as punishment. However, parents and care givers need to undergo a renewal of the mind to see otherwise. Disciplining a toddler should not be seen as a punishment but rather as a form of learning. This change in perspective will significantly influence the result of the process. The following suggestions below show how you can best instill discipline.
Step 1- Never tell a lie
Telling a lie is one of the easiest things to do to dismiss a child. But, as tempting and as easy as it may seem, it has side effects. More often than not, these lies go south and you will have to do the double explanation. Sometimes, using scare tactics work for a while but it is not the best thing to do. What you can do instead is explain the consequences of inaction to your toddler. At this stage of their development, they are exploring their environment and are very malleable. So, you do not want your child to develop on falsehood.
Step 2- Lead by example
Now this is where doers are separated from talkers. As parents, most times, we are more relaxed with giving the orders and doing nothing. If a 2 year old is proving difficult, probably in learning a new skill for self reliance. A good way to instill discipline in your toddler is by showing him/her how it is done. Because they learn fast by imitation, you will be amazed at how fast the skill will be developed. For instance, getting a child to brush their teeth before bed can be war. However, if you brush your teeth alongside your child daily, it becomes a tradition.
Step 3- Always keep your word
One of the surest ways to raise defiant kids is not to carry out your threats. As parents, it is easier to tell a child if you do not do what I say, you will be punished. The proper way to discipline a child is to either carry out your word or do not threaten them. Often times, parents say such things like, I will take away your toys if you do not behave. After saying such words, they do not follow their words. The child develops a resistance to the parent’s warnings. Also, not only for the negative things, parents should keep their words when promises are made.
Step 4- Do not break your rules
There is a high tendency for lawmakers to break the law. Parents are not exempt from this rule; hence adequate care should be taken. It is a common thing for toddlers to be restless. For instance, when a toddler picks up keys and other valuables, parents often smack the child. In the short term, this method works, but there is an inherent danger. The danger here is that toddlers mimic at a very fast rate. A child who has experienced such will do so to his mates in preschool. If only parents know how much of their actions their kids mimic on a daily basis. For instance, if there are no shouting rules in a home, there is every tendency for the parent to flout the rule. Proper care should be in place to ensure we do not break the rules we make.
Step 5- Save the long talks
Toddlers are not teenagers, so reasoning with them is not the best way to resolve an issue. A two-year-old does not have the mental capacity as an eighteen-year-old. Hence, when a child seems to prove difficult, do not spend too much time talking. Toddlers do not have the discipline to follow a train of thought for too long. So, keeping it short and simple is the key. You do not need to give a toddler a lecture on how babies are made. Simplicity is the hallmark of wisdom, use simple and clear terms when communicating with them.
Step 6- Reward good behavior
Parents will agree that toddlers sometimes put up certain behavior to gain attention. When such situations arise, it is clear that you communicate disapproval to the child. However, a child follows the rules at other times. It is also important to praise the child for such behavior. When your toddler puts his/her shoe on the shoe rack after an outing. Rewarding such behavior reinforces the message and encourages further compliance.
Step 7- Mentor as much as you control
This step is very crucial. Self-governance is a part of the developing process. It is normal for toddlers to want to legislate among themselves. The best way to help them develop self-reliance skills is to guide them. Sometimes, toddlers tend to fight to settle issues among themselves. The fighting should be monitored to ensure no harm is done. Yet, allowing them to fight sometimes is good for their development.
Step 8 – Consistency
Parenting can be energy sapping most times. Hence, there are tendencies for parents to relax on rules and discipline over time. However, the key to any successful endeavor in life is consistency. Consistency is interwoven with discipline. Doing the right thing whether you feel like doing it or not. A consistent parent helps to model a toddler who in turn becomes a better citizen. The effect of your little assertiveness in your closet cannot be overemphasized. These toddlers become the adults of the future generation.
In conclusion, no one is an island of knowledge. Also everyone has what works best for them. I would encourage that you interact with other parents and learn from them. Two is always better than one.