You are at the crowded zoo and your child runs away from you. Like full-blown Erica Bougard sprint [Google my track star cousin – #shamelessplug]. She is weaving in and out of the crowd. She throws her jacket. And she even has time to look back at you and smirk. You are yelling her name as you also weave through the crowd, retrieve her jacket, and give the angry mommy snarl. Two women are “aww”-ing at how cute she is. NO, THIS IS NOT CUTE! Finally, you catch up to her, after what seems like forever [This probably only really took about 30 seconds]. You look her firmly in her eye and say, “No you, do not run away from mommy! You could get hurt!” You explain to her that she can no longer leave her stroller. Mind you, this isn’t the first time she has done this escape trick.
So, my question to you is, how do you tame a toddler?
As my 22-month-old gets closer to the 2-year-old mark, the more I question my sanity. One minute she is the sweetest little girl you have seen, and then the next she is literally rolling on the floor crying, because I asked her to pick up her toy. Everyone says, “Oh just wait until she actually turns two!” Are you telling me this gets worse?! I can’t deal!
As much as I say I can’t deal, I really don’t have a choice. I’m no expert, and as a first-time mom I’m new to this [like everything else], but let me tell you what I have learned so far.
First, it’s important to be consistent. No matter how many times you have said, “No, we don’t throw our food.” Keep saying it. One day it will click and your child will listen [Sometimes].
With that being said, secondly, you have to learn to pick your battles. Sometimes we say “NO” and “STOP” so much we don’t know anything else to say. Praise your child when they do something good, but make them pick up their mess if they decide that throwing their peas on the ground is a good idea.
This brings me to my third point. Remember that you are the adult. Sometimes I find myself trying to reason with my child. I have learned that doesn’t work. You can’t give a paragraph long explanation to a 2-year-old. It just doesn’t work. They aren’t listening and most kids around this age can only focus long enough to understand short and simple commands.
Next, don’t overreact. I repeat DO NOT OVERREACT! Try to remain calm but firm. I know it can be hard, but the important thing is to try not to get emotional. If you are yelling and your child is crying, you probably will end up with an emotional mess. Nothing will get accomplished, and you look like a crazy person.
Learning what triggers a tantrum or overwhelms your child is important as well. If my little one has missed her nap, it’s probably not a good idea to take her out shopping with friends. I know she probably will be overwhelmed and either cry, misbehave or some combination of the two.
Lastly, if repeated threats (Or reprimanding) doesn’t work – timeout, taking away toys or privileges, or for some spankings may be the next step.
Now, I can’t tell you how to discipline your child but you have to know what works best for your child and your situation. Timeout is most effective for my child. If she continues to act out after multiple warnings, we send her to time out. The rule of thumb is 1 minutes for each year of age. She usually hates it. Well, she ALWAYS hates it. I try to reserve time out for special circumstances. I still want it to have an impact. If I send her to timeout for every little thing she will eventually get used to being there. I also know my child has a love of Curious George. We try to limit T.V. time but everyone once and awhile I let her watch a little Curious George. However, if she misbehaves, there will be no “George”. So far, this is working well for us. Spanking is a whole other subject and I know the experts frown upon spanking. Once again, you have to find what works for you.
Ultimately, all we are trying to do is raise healthy, happy, and responsible people who provide a positive contribution to society. All I can do is pray that I am teaching my child what’s right.
So, tell me how you discipline your child and what methods you find work best.
Can’t wait to read your comments!