This page answers the age-old question of disciplining your child. It
is targeted at helping toddlers improve their behavior, but many of
the ideas apply to preschoolers.
Dealing with behavior problems in children under 4 years old requires some specific strategies - toddlers often operate according to their own unique logic.
The upside of this is that a lot of toddler behavior is very predictable and there are many things you can do to nip problems in the bud before they kick in.
the section on tantrums for specific advice on toddler outbursts.
Preventing behaviour problems has some useful ideas and strategies about solving problems before they come to a head.
But let's be realistic.
However hard you try, it’s not always possible to minimize toddler behaviour problems.
Children of this age will always test your limits as their sense of self and desire for independence grows apace. It's a natural part of being a toddler.
Here are some practical tips on how to cope with the next stage for a toddler.
You cannot even begin to discipline toddlers if they can’t hear or see you properly.
When talking to your little one, crouch or sit down so you are face to face.
This ensures she can understand what you want her to do – disciplining your child is impossible if she can’t actually hear you.
How you look at and speak to your toddler when reprimanding him is important.
Christopher Green (amongst others) talks about the importance of confident parenting, and a no-nonsense look (eyebrows raised, pursed lips) conveys this very well.
Lowering your voice alerts your toddler to the fact that something is wrong – it also helps you to calm down and feel more in control.
The combination of a look that takes no prisoners with a quiet voice is far more effective than shouting ever will be.
I can put my hand up now, and say I was guilty of this.
It was not something I planned, it just happened over time.
Let me explain, my eldest Son had terrible hearing problems as a toddler. I knew this but I could not get someone in the medical world to believe me.
So obviously I started to talk louder and louder when just talking to him. Not telling him off, just chatting. Words like "would you like a tomato with your sandwich", "please bring me your cup", were said with such a hard expression on my face, as I had to use extra facial muscle to shout. I was horrified when I looked in the mirror and said it. My poor little boy must have thought that I was angry all the time.
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