Consistency is king
Whichever method you use to discipline your toddler, decide which tactics to employ and stick to them. Never make idle threats or turn a blind eye to bad behaviour. Your toddler will soon stop pushing the boundaries when they are clear what they are.
Build up the discipline
Try not to switch from Mother Earth to the Wicked Witch the moment your toddler starts making a fuss. Start by reasoning with them and then give them a warning. Only resort to more stringent tactics if the tantrum turns from a minor whinge into a major scream.
Count to ten
Avoid kneejerk responses to your toddler’s tantrums. Counting to ten and taking deep breaths while you decide how to deal with bad behaviour will ensure you respond appropriately.
Take time out
Send your toddler to the same quiet place in your home when they misbehave. Call it the “quiet and calm zone” and tell them to stay there and think about their behaviour for as many minutes as they are years old. If your two year old continues making a fuss, remind them their two minutes will only begin when they have calmed down. Tricky toddlers will bounce in and out of the quiet zone like a yoyo but if you stand your ground early on, the time out trick will come in handy for many years to come!
It can be a shock when your toddler kicks or punches but most two year olds will occasionally lash out. However, treat this behaviour as serious and send them straight to time out. Your child will pick up most of their behaviours from you so don’t smack them or they are likely to end up with a more serious behavioural problem.
The age-old count-to-five method is a valuable trick in every parent’s toolbox. Tell your tricky two year old they have five seconds to do as they are told and start slowly counting backwards. Toddlers are usually so unsure about what will happen after the count of one that they will do as they are told immediately!
Be a toddler whisperer
When your toddler wails, your instinct will be to shout back. If you respond in a quiet voice they will be forced to calm down to hear what you are saying. Speaking to your toddler in a low tone will also set a good example.
Reward good behaviour and ignore the rest It’s all too easy to ignore your toddler when they are behaving well and give them lots of attention when they are not. Remember to acknowledge good behaviour and do your best to look unimpressed and distracted when they throw a tantrum.
Don’t label them
When you discipline your toddler, try not to make sweeping generalisations about their character and focus on the behaviour in hand. Instead of saying: “You are very naughty”, say: “You are being very naughty”. There is a subtle but big difference.
No smiley faces Sometimes the sight of your toddler creating a major drama over a minor incident can have you in fits of giggles, but disciplining is a serious business that requires a serious expression. If you can’t wipe the smile off your face, resort to the count-to-ten trick before dishing out the discipline!
Make a scene
It can be embarrassing when your toddler starts screaming in the supermarket, but don’t let your discipline slide because you are worried about what other people think. Just keep counting, breathing and a serious expression on your face!