Are there any parents who haven't felt complete and utter love for their toddler and, at the same time, frustration and anger?
Our beloved little ones test our nerves because they're testing
boundaries all around them. Every day, little by little, they're
mastering new abilities and accomplishing new feats, and are anxious and
excited to use these skills.
Sometimes it's tough to reel in a toddler, but it can be done. And
setting rules and limits now - when your child is learning what
behaviors are acceptable - will help prevent bigger problems down the
Here are some ways to help you keep your youngster on the right track.
When it comes to discipline, it's important to be consistent. Parents
who don't stick to the rules and consequences they set up don't have
kids who do either. For example, if you tell your toddler that a timeout
is the repercussion for bad behavior, be sure to enforce it. Only issue
warnings for things that you can follow through on. Empty threats
undermine your authority.
And don't forget that kids learn by watching adults, particularly
their parents. So make sure your own behavior is role-model material.
When asking your child to pick up toys, you'll make a much stronger
impression if you've put away your own belongings rather than leaving
your stuff strewn around the room.
By now, you've figured out that your toddler wants to explore and
investigate the world. Toddlers are naturally curious, so it's wise to
eliminate temptations whenever possible. That means items like TVs,
phones, and video equipment should be kept out of reach, as well as
choking hazards like jewelry, buttons, and small items that kids can put
in their mouths.
And always keep cleaning supplies and medications stored safely away where kids can't get to them.
If your roving toddler does head toward an unacceptable or dangerous
play object, calmly say "No" and either remove your child from the area
or distract him or her with another activity.
It's important to not spank, hit, or slap your child. At this age,
kids are unlikely to be able to make a connection between the behavior
and physical punishment. The message you send when you spank is that
it's OK to hit someone when you're angry. The American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) discourages spanking, which is no more effective than
other forms of discipline, such as timeouts.