Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Misawa, Japan
Re: Toddler Discipline Tips
We definitely try to avoid situations that will encourage defiance and I reserve some things for when I need them. For example, putting on shoes - she loves to put on shoes, but doesn't love to always go upstairs to get her diaper changed. So, I'll use that to my advantage to get her upstairs without a fight. Also she loves her current toothbrush and will stop doing almost anything to go upstairs and brush her teeth, so I talk about that as opposed to naptime, etc.
so, little things like that help.
I sorta just concentrate on what makes my life easier in a lot of those respects. She rarely fights diaper changes and clothing changes when she's on the changing table - she will tantrum if you try to do either thing on a bed or the floor.. so, we never do them anywhere other than the changing table.
a big help has been the book 'First the Egg'. She quickly has learned the 'first, then' agreement. So now, if we're struggling with anything, it works 90% of the time so say 'first you sit in your chair' and she'll say whatever like 'then, we read the book'. And I'll answer 'first the chair, then breakfast, THEN the book' and she seems to understand that she's not getting told 'no', she's going to get what she wants eventually. It works with a lot of things around here. First the diaper, then the shoes. First pick up your bear, then we'll do this puzzle, etc etc etc.
and then I try, instead of really disciplining, to tell her what to do. If she's hitting or throwing her bear or whatever, I try to tell her 'be sweet, be nice, bear gets sad when you throw him'. It takes times and consistency, but it works. Now, if she throws bear in frustration, for example, she'll say 'bear is sad' and go pick him up. Doesn't completely solve the issue, but she's 2 and she has no impulse control - she's gonna throw him. The important thing I can do is make sure she knows that it's not nice.
a lot of 'use your words' when she's whining or starting to tantrum. So she learns that she needs to use words to get what she wants instead of just screeching.
same with the cat. Except I don't have a lot of sympathy for our cat because she asks for it. Some things I will sharply tell her 'no' like stepping on the cat. But other things, like hugging the cat too tightly, I let the cat deal with it. The cat can get away.
Used to, she'd get in trouble for banging or scraping her utensils across the kitchen table. Now, we simply take the utensil from her and set it on our placemat. We tell her she has to 'act like a big girl' and 'forks are for eating'. but there's no real punishment, except she's learning that every time she does it, she loses her fork.
tons of positive reinforcement - she's practically a narcissist when she does something right 'good job, so sweet, I'm so proud of you' is what she'll say to herself when she's doing the right thing.
there are some deal breakers that land in 'discipline' right away. Which includes writing on anything other than the chalkboard with chalk and a few other things like that which, if left alone, can lead to other things I don't want her to do like writing on walls and floors with markers. Running away from me in public gets her a small spanking. And she knows it. I can pretty much trust her to stay on the sidewalk now because of that as well. She'll tell me 'stay on the sidewalk, not in the road!'
tantrums depend. If I can just walk away, I will. If not, then time out is used until she calms down. I don't put a timer on it because I'm not using it as punishment, per se, but as a 'you need a moment to calm down' thing. So, as soon as she's done, she gets to tell me 'no fits, I'm sorry mommy' and give me a hug.
so.. that's a lot.. but consistency, positive reinforcement, choose your battlegrounds, but don't overlook any battles (you let it go once and they'll try 100 more times to see if you'll let it go 2x).
can you tell I'm right in the middle of it? cause I have a ton of thoughts on it. I win and fail every single day. but it's getting better.
SAHM to Magnolia May (09/10), Luke Russett (04/13) and expecting 11/16. Wife and best friend to my airman.