Let’s face it, toddlers are a handful and parenting a toddler requires buckets of patience. Toddlers are notoriously difficult, but when you think about it then it really makes sense. For the first time in their lives they are able to voice their unhappiness (yes those tantrums) and they want to be independent. They want a say in their lives instead of having everything decided for them. Unfortunately for them they are nowhere close to being mature enough to make all the decisions that they want to make.
And this is where often the battle of wills between parent and toddler comes in. Another big challenge is that while a toddler may know what he wants he may be unable to properly express himself which can lead to frustration.
Here are some positive parenting tips for toddlers to help you through this challenging stage of your child’s development:
1 Set An Example
While you may feel like screaming in frustration remember that this is what your toddler is busy doing right now and you are trying to teach your child to behave in a mature and responsible manner. It is essential that you stay calm and keep your emotions under control as this is the best way to teach your child – by setting an example.
Children pick up on their parents emotions very easily, if you let your child upset you then this will in turn affect your child. Staying calm and speaking to your child will have the best outcome.
Yes easier said than done, but practice makes perfect and trust me, you will have plenty of occasions to practice being calm and collected.
2 Choose Your Battles
Your toddler is going to be butting heads with you day in and day out for a few years over almost everything. You cannot possibly fight over everything. It will be negative for your toddler to hear no so much and it will be exhausting for you to push every point.
Decide what is important and what is not so important. Focus on the important things and don’t worry about the other things. There will be plenty of time to work on your child’s behavior in the years to come.
3 Consistency Is Key
Part of being a good parent is being consistent with how you discipline your child. Your child is pushing the limits and trying to figure out what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t. If your child gets away with something today but gets disciplined for the same thing tomorrow it will confuse him and he won’t know where the boundaries are.
If you are consistent with how you deal with situations then your child will learn much faster than if you keep changing the rules.
4 Be Positive
Praise your child when he does something right. Children love attention and will strive to get attention. If they are only getting negative attention that is the attention that they will go for. If they know that certain behavior gets them positive attention they will work hard to get it.
If you child behaves in a negative way then discipline your child immediately and put it behind you. Don’t dwell on it or focus on it too much.
When you speak about your children be positive and loving, they will pick up on this and adore the praise. Sharing your frustration about your children in front of them to other people it will cause negativity with your children. Once again you need to set an example for your children to follow.
5 Keep It Simple
There is no need to go into a long detailed explanation with your toddler. Your toddler won’t understand it all. Rather keep everything short and sweet. Let your toddler know what behavior is negative, ask your toddler to stop and say what will happen if he doesn’t.
Counting to 3 works wonders. Ask your toddler to stop and say you are going to count to 3 and then you will give a consequence. Make sure that you are consistent and hand out the consequence immediately.
As your child gets older you will be able to give a consequence that is carried out a little later but for toddlers try and stick to immediately giving the consequence.
Wherever possible try and keep consequences for negative behavior relevant. So if your child is throwing the ball in the house and won’t stop take the ball away.
It is also important for the consequence to be carried out immediately because a toddler won’t understand if you discipline him later. Only something that happens in the moment will help to change the negative behavior.
Giving a time out is a great way to discipline your child if you cannot come up with a relevant consequence. Make a place in your home a special time out spot. You can give your child one minute time out for each year of his age. So if you have a two year old he can have 2 minutes time out.
7 Understand Your Toddler
Lots of your toddler’s misbehavior can actually be prevented if you understand your toddler’s triggers. Toddlers are bound to behave badly if they are hungry, tired or frustrated. Small things like making sure that your toddler eats regularly so he doesn’t get too hungry will make such a difference to his behavior.
There are also plenty of situations where certain things trigger your child. It may be that you need to remove some items from your child”s reach and sight to keep the peace.
While you should not try to just keep the peace all the time it is also pointless to have to encounter daily struggles that can be avoided, especially at this tender and sensitive age.
Try also to keep in mind that this toddler tantrum stage is an important stage of your child’s development. It may be a very trying period but your child is learning a lot and while it may seem like it will never end it will.
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Also published on Medium.