5 steps to discipline your toddler

You have to start early, you have to lay down boundaries and stick to them. But what does that mean? SmartParents gets words of wisdom to help you.

5 steps to discipline your toddler

Disciplining your child is arguably one of the most unpleasant parts of your role as a parent. There will be times where your child gets on your nerves because you can’t seem to get through to them.

While such occasions may make you enforce harsh punishment in the hopes of teaching them right from wrong, here are strategies that'll ensure they understand why you are mad without without raising your voice...


1. Make “no” have weight “Start from the age of 10 or 11 months with the word ‘no’,” child expert Dr Miriam Stoppard says. “Say it firmly, WITHOUT SMILING, so your child gets the message.”

2. Reward good behaviour Dr Stoppard says, “Everyone responds well to praise and rewards. So, encourage your child’s good actions and try to downplay bad behaviour. Children sometimes behave badly just to get attention, so only responding when they’re good will give them more incentive to behave well.”

3. Do what you say “If you threaten to take away your child’s privileges when she oversteps the mark but don’t follow it through, you’re letting her know you don’t mean what you say and need not be taken seriously,” Dr Stoppard highlights. “The same applies if you consistently say ‘no’ to something, then eventually give in when your child asks for the twentieth time.”

4. Ignore a misbehaviour “Remove eye contact and stop talking to your toddler for up to three minutes,” family psychologist Dr Tanya Byron advises. “Once she’s calm, re-engage and give her a hug. She will learn that calm behaviour is rewarded with cuddles.”

5. Use “if/when” and “then” “So, say, ‘If you keep screaming, then you can’t go to the park’, or ‘When you are nice to your sister, then you can play with her’,” Dr Byron suggests. “Your toddler needs the consequences to be simple and immediate as she won’t be able to relate to ‘later’.”

Photo: INGimages

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