How to discipline a toddler: 10 things to do before disciplining your child

How to discipline a toddler: 10 things to do before disciplining your child

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when it comes to how to discipline a toddler. Read this to know what you should do before disciplining.



None of us are perfect. We’ve all had those days when we lose it with our kids; yelling at them, not taking the time to find out what really happened and over-reacting in the discipline department. That’s right…being grounded for a week for not picking up dirty socks is a bit much.

We aren’t proud of those moments and we aren’t in any hurry to have a repeat performance. But geez, sometimes it’s just more than you can handle, right? Wrong. By using the following tips on how to discipline a toddler, you won't have many or any of those ‘I sure wish I could do that one over’ moments.

1. Be calm. If you try to discipline your child when you are angry, embarrassed or hurt, you will end up angrier, more embarrassed and more hurt. You also run the risk of being unreasonable in your means of discipline.

2. Be reasonable. Being reasonable is simply making sure the discipline fits the ‘crime’. Pronouncing your child the sole dishwasher for the next 2 years after he/she carelessly slops through doing the dishes so they can play with their friends is a bit much.

Instead, revoke their playtime and allow them the privilege of re-washing the dishes plus a few extras.

3. Get the facts. How many of you have ever been accused and disciplined for something you did not do? It’s an awful feeling, isn’t it? Make sure your child truly is guilty as charged.

4. Don’t be blindsided. This is just the opposite of jumping to conclusions. Your child is far from perfect (as we all are). You need to get the facts rather than automatically assuming your child can do no wrong.

Doing so gives them a false sense of security that they do not have to be accountable for their actions.

5. Consider the child. A two-year-old cannot be expected to sit in ‘time out’ for more than two to three minutes, max. It just isn’t in their ‘wiring’. The general rule of thumb is a minute per year old up to age ten.

A child older will likely need a different form of discipline in order for it to be effective. Other things to take into consideration are their personalities and their likes and dislikes. Withholding television from a child who prefers reading isn’t going to teach them very much.


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6. Balance discipline with praise. Acknowledging only negative behavior is a dangerous parenting plan to follow. By giving your children great big doses of encouragement and well-earned praise, you’ll reduce the need for discipline.

7. Don’t argue. Arguing isn’t discipline. It is handing over control to your children. Once you make a decision, stick with it to the end. If your child tries to engage you in an argument over the situation, calmly state that their behavior will not be allowed and walk away or listen to them without interrupting.

Once they are done, simply tell them you are sorry they feel that way, but that your decision still stands. And be done.

8. Don’t embarrass or humiliate. There is no doubt it will be necessary to take swift and immediate action in the form of pulling a toddler out of a dangerous situation or to swat their hands for continually trying to grab an expensive vase or things off the grocery store shelves.

But to discipline a child over the age of three in the presence of anyone other than their parent is embarrassing and humiliating to the child. These feelings may turn to anger and resentment.

9. Explain yourself. It doesn’t do any good to know what you are expected to do if you don’t know why. Knowing why makes the how and what easier to handle. Many times small children honestly won’t understand that they have done something wrong.

To discipline without explaining why and giving them alternatives for handling the situation the next time is poor parenting and confusing to a child.

10. Always remind children you love them. Children need to be held accountable for their actions. But no child should ever be made to feel that what they do makes them unlovable or unworthy of your love.


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Sinulat ni

Darla Noble

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