Time outs? Restrictions? Spankings?
We have a very stubborn toddler here in our home. She like most three year old children need discipline.
The punishment she dislikes the most is time outs. We have followed the rule that the time out is equal to her age. So she is getting 3 minute time outs right now.
A frequent issue that we have been dealing with is during our travel. I am very careful to keep her within eye sight at all times when we are traveling on the road for my husband’s work. I’d prefer her to sit quietly beside me but she often unable to do this. So while I am being spoken to by our seminar guests she runs off. So the following is a list of things I need to remember in her discipline.
5 Important Tips on Parenting A Toddler
1. Better communication. My Princess is still learning what is appropriate and what is not. She is not old enough to actually make ‘good decisions’. I need to clearly communicate what I want her to do and what I don’t want her to do. Eye contact and no distractions during this time are important. There are times when I might get upset with her instantly without explaining what she has done and what I expect. She just knows I am upset. I need to explain each time what she did wrong and what I want her to do next time. Having her repeat after me is important.
2. Set limits. I need to be consistent. There are times when I tell her to stay by me quietly or she will be in trouble, but then when she runs off there isn’t always consequences. There are many nights that I don’t feel like ‘fighting’ with her over an issue and I let her have her own way. This is a big no-no for mommy. I need to keep those limits in place and take charge so she learns that mommy means business and it is my job to keep her safe and ‘good’ in public.
3. Temper tantrums are not fun. If I don’t give credence to it, or ignore it, they dissipate pretty quickly. Usually, I will tell my Princess that if she is going to throw a temper tantrum I will put her in the bedroom alone until she is done. She hates being alone, so she will usually quit the behavior.
4. Encourage. Use encouraging positive words when asking your child to do something. Instead of saying, “Bring me that toy”, say instead, “Could you help mommy and give me the book, please.” My Princess loves to be a helper. She is a great helper. If I just ask in this tone, with these types of words, I would have more cooperation from her.
The technical word for this discipline is: positive reinforcement. This is one area that I need to practice more. Instead of using “No”, I can get more creative. Studies are showing that toddlers respond better to positive reinforcements than to punishment. When she does things I want her to, I need to be quick to praise and tell her that mommy loves that behavior. And when she does things that I don’t like, I need to respond with words in a firm voice, not yelling. (Another thing I need to work on!)
5. Love them, stay calm, and be patient. I realize that I am not the only one struggling with this. It is a normal thing for my toddler to be testing her boundaries. I need to show her love and keep pointing to our Savior, Jesus. She is learning now that disobeying mommy is like disobeying Jesus. She is learning that He wants her to honor me. And since we love him and each other we should treat each other with love. I cannot forget to pray with her after every discipline action. Also, allowing her to pray is important.
My husband even taught her the fifth commandment. It is cute to hear her say it on her own when kids at church are fighting. (She is confused that fighting in any form relates to this commandment.)
When she is tempted to disobey, I have asked her to say, “Jesus help me.” So last month when we were in Northern California, she listed to her daddy and stayed in one place when he went to the bathroom. When he came out, he praised her for her obedience. She said, “Jesus helped me. I asked Him, and He helped me.”
She is starting to get it…
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.
For more about my struggles with parenting visit my post: