Toddler discipline is tough! They say raising a toddler is just as hard as raising a teenager. I’m beginning to relate! My own toddler, Bryan, is always getting into something so my husband and I struggle to discipline him. It can be difficult to get the point across that something he did was wrong. I have been doing the following techniques for toddler discipline in the small amount of time I get to spend with him after work.
My Toddler Won’t Go To Bed!
Bryan, my precocious 3 year old, didn’t want to go to sleep for the hundredth time. My husband and I were trying everything to get him to stay in his bed.
“I want cuddles!” he would shout out to us.
Cuddles means that he wanted to be held in the comfy chair next to his bed until he fell asleep. It was getting late, almost 9 pm, and really past Bryan’s bed time.
I was firm and didn’t give in this time. “No, you have to go to bed and get to sleep”.
Bryan frowned and came over to hit me as hard as he could on my arm. It didn’t hurt but I was upset that he was resorting to hitting again. I had thought he overcame this!
I got down to his level and looked him in the eye. “Bryan, you are in time out for hitting”, I said calmly.
It is always important to remain calm when a toddler is violent. Don’t fight fire with fire! Also, it is good to get down to your child’s level so they can see eye to eye with you when enforcing a rule.
The little tot didn’t budge and started to cry. He hated time out!
“Bryan, go to time out or you won’t get your game in the morning”, I replied.
My son uses my IPad, which he refers to as “game”, for 30 minutes a day. Sometimes he gets it for longer if he is a good boy. Bryan loves playing on his game so this got his attention.
It helps him behave better when I threaten to take away something that my he loves. You might try this technique with your toddler too. What toy does your toddler enjoy the most?
Bryan finally went to his stool in the corner of his room and sat silently. I was pleased that he was listening but it was getting later and later. I needed sleep too because there was work in the morning!
After five minutes, I said “Time out over!”
Bryan got up and went over to me and looked down. “Mommy, Bryan sorry for hitting”.
I comforted him with a loving pat on his back.
“Bryan, we don’t hit. We hug”, and then gave him a big warm hug. He hugged me back and gave me a kiss.
I always tell Bryan to replace a bad behavior with a good behavior, which is helping me discipline him. I can’t always be there, however, since Bryan goes to daycare 5 times a week while my husband I work full time.
Should I Discipline My Toddler for Misbehavior at Daycare?
My son’s daycare gives a paper report at the end of every day when I pick him up. At the bottom, it says if there was an incident or if he behaved badly.
Sometimes, it will say that Bryan hit or took away other kid’s toys. When that happens, Bryan does not get his favorite toy when he gets home, which is his “game”.
On the way home from daycare, I will say “Bryan, you won’t get your game when you get home because you hit one of your friends at school”.
This usually resorts in him crying in his car seat as we drive away. I ignore his cries and don’t give in whatsoever.
Even though I can’t be there with him all day, I still need to punish him when he gets home. I know the daycare worker has put him in time out right after his altercation, but I still have to reinforce this.
If you always rely on a daycare worker to punish your child, then your child will start questioning your authority. You don’t want the worker being better with your child than you are if you can help it. If you spend a considerable amount of time away from your child, then that may sadly be the case like the child from my story.
Always be consistent and punish your child that night if they misbehaved at daycare. I have cancelled a birthday party on a Saturday once when Bryan acted up at daycare on a Friday. He bit another child and then rolled his eyes when told to go to time out, so it was very serious.
This morning at daycare, Bryan would not eat his breakfast. He is an extremely picky eater.
Should I Discipline My Toddler For Not Eating?
My son will only eat macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or fried Chic-fil-a nuggets. These aren’t very healthy meal choices.
Good news! I got him to eat broccoli recently by calling it “dinosaur trees“. It’s a great tip to call a healthy food something fun for your toddler.
What I do to get Bryan to eat something other than his favorite foods is provide 2-3 different alternative meals. These are usually quick and easy meals I can prepare for the family. Toddlers like the power of choice so he is usually more likely to comply.
If Bryan refuses to eat his dinner then I will say he can’t have his favorite toy to play with after or that he has to go to bed with no stories or cuddles. This usually get him thinking and he will then take more bites. If you threaten to take away a favorite toy then it helps heaps when keeping a toddler in line.
My Toddler Made a Huge Mess!
When a toddler makes a mess, it is usually an accident so you don’t need to discipline them. If they made the mess on purpose and you know for a fact this is true, then discipline may be needed.
First, don’t get upset. Toddlers are uncoordinated so are always making messes while not being able to help it.
Bryan wants to do things himself, like all toddlers, such as pouring water in a glass from our fridge water dispenser. He spills water on the floor all the time! I get a towel and have him help me clean up the mess.
If you and your toddler clean up the mess together, then it can be a teachable moment on keeping things clean.
Best Books To Help With Toddlers
The following books have helped me tremendously when disciplining my 3 year old toddler. My commute to work is 1 hour each way so I used Audible to listen to these books in the car. I hope you will find them helpful.
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
- No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
- Whole Child Parenting: Birth to Age Five – Parents, Educators and Caregivers will Learn how Best to Encourage Growth and Skill-Building in all Six Developmental Areas
- No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
We Should All Help Each Other With Toddler Discipline
I’m not the best parent and still have many things to learn when disciplining my precious baby toddler. Even though I work full time, it is paramount that I still take action and discipline my toddler. I should not rely on others like the daycare workers to do it for me.
If you have great ideas on how to discipline toddlers then please leave a comment below. It’s important that we all learn from each other to grow as better moms.
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