Disciplining Toddlers

Disciplining Toddlers

Spare the rod and spoil the child. This is a saying that folks from past decades stood by. However, today’s parents are less observant of that way of parenting, with some even believing that hitting your child, even as a form of discipline is abusive.

However disciplining a child is every parent’s responsibility. And if you’re not too keen to choose the traditional method, then there are other means parents should consider.

The best time to teach your child discipline is during the formative toddler years. By this time, believe it or not, your toddler has already figured out ways to manipulate you. Your toddler knows when to cry and for how long — in order to ensure results.

Therefore, parents need to remember to always be in control at all times, and to ensure that they follow through with their threats.

All children require structure and boundaries in order to thrive. Some parents find asserting their authority difficult. However, always remember that you are the parent.


Teaching discipline

The best way to teach your toddler discipline is to develop a routine for her. Remember, that your toddler depends on you for everything. So develop a schedule that your child can depend on such as meal time, sleep time and wake time. This puts you in control. Be sure to include other activities too, such as play time, and reading.

Be sure that your child is clear on the fact that these are daily activities that will be carried out every day. If you don’t keep up with these activities that your child expects you to do (and you initially started to do), then you are sending a negative message to your child, and so it will prove much harder for you to apply discipline to your child who will no longer trust your actions and your judgment.

Remain consistent

With discipline of a child, there has to be consistency as with other aspects of the child’s life. For example, if your toddler hits the dog despite the fact that you told your toddler not to do so, then you know that your authority is being challenged. It is time for you to take matters in hand and possibly take away a toy from your toddler that they really love. This will show your toddler that you mean business, as well as the extent of your disappointment in their refusal to listen to you.

Your toddler may be cute and adorable, but this should not prevent you from helping your child to realize that in life, there will be certain authoritative people that must be respected and, it first starts with you.

Consistency on your part is going to be the key to getting your toddler to listen to you and to behave accordingly. If you apply firmness and consistency, then your toddler will have no hesitation in listening and obeying you. You don’t need a raised voice for your toddler to listen. One look can say a thousand words.

The toddler phase is the stage where it becomes quite challenging for most parents, but this is the phase where you can make matters better or worse with regards to discipline. Toddlers are smart enough to understand right from wrong when you teach them.



Once you have established specific boundaries and your toddler crosses any of these, be sure to have consequences for failing to adhere to these boundaries. The consequences do not have to be physical. It can be a time-out or sleep time (as most toddlers think that sleep time is missing out on everything). Time-out will help to calm both you and your toddler down.

Identify a room or corner in your home as the -time-out spot. Time-out should be no more than three minutes. After this is over, sit your toddler down and explain in toddler terms what the time-out was all about and that the same punishment will happen again if the behaviour is repeated.


Expect resistance, yet stay persistent

A toddler will rant and rave if she does not have her own way. The energy of your toddler is now at its peak during this time, and you can redirect all this energy.

For example, if your toddler is crying about not getting her way, you can ask her to help you with washing the dishes. This is a good time to get a stool and let your toddler climb up and feel important. Toddlers love to play in water. As soon as she is on the stool, she will quickly forget what it was she was ranting about in the first place.

Try to avoid shouting at your toddler. Toddlers don’t respond well to shouting, because this communicates that in fact, you are not in control of the situation.

Remember that even though disciplining your toddler might be challenging, it is not impossible. You must gain the respect of your toddler by -sticking to your guns,’ understanding your child’s behaviour and making the boundaries realistic.

You are the one who knows what is right from wrong, and your child will learn from you. Set the example for your toddler to follow by being firm with the rules that you have set. Also remember to show your child that you are doing this out of love, by being friendly after the lesson has been taught. Your toddler will catch on soon enough.


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