Toddler discipline

Discipline does not need to have a negative connotation. It should not be a word that is interchanged with punishment. Discipline for your baby and toddler is all about setting clear, positive guidelines for them to live by and teaching them about which behaviour is acceptable and behaviour that is not. It is not considered a good practice to use physical punishment as a method of disciplining a toddler. Effective communication is a much better strategy and will help to develop the self-esteem of your toddler.

Here are a couple of key points to remember:

  • Make sure that you and your partner have discussed your method. It’s important to show a unified front.
  • Your child will need to learn what their boundaries are. Give them a chance to find them and don’t expect too much of them for their age.
  • Explain what you expect of them and be prepared to remind them. For example, when you arrive at playgroup each week, remind your toddler that “we don’t push or hit our friends at play group”.
  • Be prepared to compromise at suitable times to show that you have a respect for your toddlers point of view.
  • Pick your battles – this means choose the things in life that are really important to you and make your stand on those.
  • Once you say you are going to do something as a form of discipline then you must follow through. For example, if your toddler has behaved inappropriately at the park and you have told them that you will take them home if they do it again, you must be prepared to leave the park just as you have said.
  • Be consistent with the rules. A toddler needs to know where they stand to make sense of a situation.
  • Even from a young age you can involve your toddler in learning about the consequences of their actions. For example, if they tip their blocks on the floor then they must help to pack them away.
  • Most importantly, positive reinforcement for ‘good’ behaviour is a much better learning tool than negative words. So pour on the praise, it has an incredible affect.

If you feel you are struggling with setting clear boundaries for your toddler, talk to your local health nurse for some support and guidance.

For more, see the rest of our toddler tantrums information.

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