How to Discipline a Toddler | Parenting Guide

How to discipline a toddler

As parents, one of your most important jobs is to teach your kids how to behave well. Normally, it is a long process and you might want to start it as early as possible, which is from 2-year-old. And, we guess you probably already have a suitable teaching method for your child. However, some parents find that the more they rely on a single method, the less effective that method becomes. Therefore, it’s vital to have more than one trick up your sleeve. There are many ways that you can use to deal with their bad behaviors without having any negative impact on them or their development. So, here are a few tips for how to discipline a toddler.


This might seem harsh, but one of the best ways of responding to your child’s tantrum is doing nothing. Whether your kid is whining, crying, or having a total meltdown for no reason, these misbehaviors are often done for attention. Once your toddler is having a tantrum, their emotions have gotten the best of them, and talking with them might not work at that moment. On top of that, if they know that having an outburst is the easiest way to get your attention then you may want to use this technique right away. If parents, family, or other caregivers consistently can ignore these behaviors, they will eventually stop. Furthermore, you should find a way to talk it out when your kid is calm because it can help you build a stronger bond and also prevent bad behaviors from happening again.

On the other hand, dangerous and destructive behaviors should not be ignored. These misbehaviors should be stopped immediately by discipline and consequences such as time-out. Always make sure they are safe and when they are calm again, you should give them a hug and go on with the day.

Distract and Divert their Attention

how to discipline a toddler

Maternal instinct will make you want to get your kids away from whatever potentially dangerous they are heading toward. But, doing that can upset your child because you are removing them from the thing they are interested in.

With the activities you don’t want your kid to do, instead of keeping them away from it, you should focus on finding a similar but more appropriate activity. For instance, if your kid likes to draw on walls then, you can find a broad or a big paper (A1 or A2) and start drawing on that to divert their attention.

Another useful method to distract your kid is using their name. Call your child’s name loud and clear to get their attention. Once they’re fixated on you, call them over and show them something else that is safe and interesting to them such as their favorite toy. Don’t give up if they are not interested and go back to the first one, keep distracting them. In addition, this method works best with behaviors that are not inappropriate or harmful.

Be a Part of the Experience

how to discipline a toddler

It’s easy to become frustrated when your child is making a mess. But, you should try to think like them before responding to that. Like all toddlers, your child wants to explore the world. Children see these activities as fun, and that’s normal. They’re just learning and discovering what’s around them. So, don’t be upset. Instead, wait a few minutes and they’ll most likely go on to something else. Or, you can join in and constructively guide them and help them figure out what should and shouldn’t do. If your kid jumps in a puddle and starts splashing everywhere, you should join and play with them. After all, their clothes are dirty already, there is nothing you can do about that. However, being a part of the experience and telling them that they need proper clothes to play with puddles will definitely make your kid understand.

Set Limits

Kids are very curious and they will try to ask you why you don’t let them do this. Sometimes you might not know what to say and “Because I said so” is not a helpful way to discipline your child. Instead, you can set limits and explain why you do it to your child. For example, if your child pulls your cat’s fur, you should hold his hand and tell him that it hurts the cat. After that, you should show them how and where to pet your cat correctly.

Also, you can set boundaries by keeping dangerous objects out of their reach. Your child may become frustrated when they can’t get what they want. But, by setting limits you will help them learn self-control better. While doing it, you should have clear and consistent rules for your children to follow. Be sure to always explain these rules in simple terms so they can fully understand.

Reward good Behaviors

how to discipline a toddler

All behaviors are more likely to happen again when followed by a positive consequence like a reward. If you do it correctly then what your kid learns the most will be proper behaviors.

Also, rewards can help increase self-esteem. Toddlers often hear the words “no,”, “stop,” or “quit” many times during the day. This is normal and also one of the ways they learn right from wrong. However, when children have to hear it over and over, their self-esteem might begin to suffer. Therefore, your kid may start to believe that they cannot do anything correctly.

In fact, when a child earns a reward, they know they have done something good or something you like. And, they will feel more confident and it encourages them to do more things you like. On top of that, both you and your kid will feel happy while giving and receiving rewards. From material like toys to social rewards such as a high five, there are many ways for you to reward your children. And, sometimes social rewards are more powerful than material rewards. In addition, you should reward your toddler immediately after a good behavior for the optimal result.

While some dangerous actions should be stopped ASAP, other activities with minimal risk should not be worried too much like climbing. Just remember to stay close and keep an eye on that.

There are many more effective ways to get your message across. But, no matter what method you choose, remember that when you’re angry don’t make things physical. Violence is a huge problem in many countries and it often starts in the family. Monkey see monkey do! So, you should only do something you want your kid to learn. Let us know more about the ways you use to discipline your toddler in the comments!


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