How to Discipline a Two-Year-Old
I've reached that point in motherhood where I have a constant throbbing pain behind my right eye and a can of something caffeinated in my hand constantly. I try my best not to lose it, while practicing my breathing techniques, when my son does something else ridiculous that I feel I have no control over.
If you couldn't tell by my overly worded and annoying intro, the terrible twos have absolutely knocked our door down and moved in. So the real question is what on earth are you supposed to do to keep this from happening? What can our young toddlers understand?
For all their adorable qualities, our little tots are full of independence and strong opinions on just about everything. With that new found independence comes a limited self-control, which is manifested in those sweet little things we like to call tantrums. For my little love, it's laying on the floor (yes any floor, anywhere) throwing a tantrum over not getting a fourth bag of fruit snacks. Their little minds have a hard time processing their emotions and combined with a limited vocabulary, they run into a lot of frustration during the day. But also frustrating for mamas everywhere is the short attention span that comes with our tots wanting to explore everything! All of this developmental magic adds up to one heck of a parenting challenge.
Here's a short list of ideas for helping toddlers work through their terrible twos, so that we can all have a few more smiles and a few less meltdowns:
Be ConsistentOur tots soak up everything! So make sure that when you're trying to break a bad behavior, or let your little one know that something isn't allowed, you need to be consistent. Our kids will respond so much better if they know what to expect from us when they behave certain ways. And that doesn't just mean when they behave poorly. If our little toddlers know we'll respond positively when they're being sweet and appropriate, they will seek out that type of attention.
Short and Sweet
Toddlers definitely understand more than we give them credit for. Because of this, we need to make sure we keep our reprimands short and in terms our little ones can understand. If we want to make sure they aren't playing with the controls on the stove, their attention spans are not going to hold on to more than a few words. So make sure you get your point across so your toddler understands when things aren't safe or appropriate. Words like, "no, don't, stop" work great for the immediate issue, but you should follow up with something like, "not safe," so they understand why they're getting in trouble.