We hope you caught Part 1 of this post on how to effectively discipline your toddler. Perry Schroeder, Lead Early Preschool Teacher at Brookridge Day School, is sharing her tips and strategies based on her experiences!
Don’t fear saying “No”
Telling your child no in a constructive way is good, please do not be afraid to tell them “no!” If a child is rarely (or never) told “no,” then it becomes a crisis when they do finally hear it. Kids need to learn that the world is not for them, that we have to share things and take turns and that when sad choices are made, there will be consequences. Parenting (and teaching) in this manner should be thought of as giving your child a gift!
Don’t baby your baby!
Toddlers are masters of manipulation and are really good at playing the “baby card.” Yes, they are your “babies,” but you don’t want to treat them that way forever or you’ll only create bigger issues in the future. Talk to them like real people, explain things fully, praise them when they’ve accomplished something, and constantly be reminding them of the expectation so they aren’t surprised if they mess up.
Learn to recognize a tantrum vs. frustration
Another tricky part of being a parent to a toddler is learning the signs for a tantrum versus them being emotionally frustrated. It is OK for kids to be upset about situations because they haven’t learned everything yet and don’t always know how to regulate their emotions, but that’s what we’re there for! As a parent, you need to learn your child’s ticks as to what will set them off in a tantrum way versus not understanding why their brain is upset.
Being the bad guy can be hard for some parents, but just remember that eventually these toddlers will grow into teenagers where everything you do to them is “mean and horrible,” so being the bad guy to a three-year-old is not the end of the world and they will get over it. Parents and teachers are there to implement rules so that kids can learn how to be safe and create a fun, enriching environment. If children are never told no, they’ll turn into adults that never hear no and that is just asking for trouble.
If you’re struggling with discipline or implementing rules/expectations at home, you can always check in with your child’s teacher to see what techniques are being used at school or see what the action plan is for your child when they act out. That way you can keep it consistent at home and the child will realize Mom, Dad and teacher are all on the same page.
Being a parent is great…but trust me I know (at this age especially) they can drive you bananas and make you question how anyone does it. Just remember to ask for help, take a breath, never yell and always stay positive. If you’re in a grouchy mood and talk to your child in a grouchy tone, they’ll catch on to it instantly and just continue to behave in a way to egg you on to test you. Rise above, don’t let your two-year-old control you, and be the parent you set out to be! You got this!