If you are a dedicated parent, you know that parenting is full of little struggles. Your child might be too stubborn sometimes, and your patience might wear thin in the process. There may be times when your toddler starts acting out or exhibiting unwanted behavior that contradicts what you have taught them. Sometimes these behaviors are merely minor, and sometimes they can be as bad as hitting another child or a parent. So to get things in control, you may start to yell at times to get your toddler to listen or give them punishments to teach them that what they did was wrong.
When it comes to toddlers, most parents have tried to get their kids to listen or be good by giving meaningless threats or punishments. These may include taking away favorite toys and even spanking them when they do not listen. While these methods are effective for a time, they may cause more harm than good for your child. It will result in your children being terrified of you and developing a strong negative reaction. And it is not what parents want.
Suppose you are one of those parents who has resorted to punishing your toddler in order to control their behavior. In that case, you need to stop this now as these punishments will only make things worse and create a bigger problem for your child in the long run rather than making them better. Instead, you must take a different approach and learn how to parent in a more effective way. To give you an idea, you may consider the following tips.
How To Get Your Toddler To Listen Without Punishment
- Negotiate With Your Child
Negotiating with your child works for both you and your child. And the aim of this is to make your toddler listen to you and understand what you want from them rather than simply yelling at them. It will make them comprehend why they should listen to you. It is how it is done. You need to get down on their level and make eye contact. Then tell them what they did was wrong and why they should not do it again. For example, if they hit another kid, you should explain to them gently why hitting is wrong and that they will get hurt if they keep hitting others. Make sure to stay calm. Then ask your child if he understands why he should not do that again. Then you can give them a choice where they will have to choose between apologizing or doing something else to make it up to the person they hit. It may not immediately work on toddlers, but with practice, it will result in a much better outcome.
- Avoid Power Struggles With Your Toddler
You need to avoid power struggles with your toddler by any means. It will only result in them getting more defiant of you, and it will not get your desired result. If you are doing something wrong, it will only make things worse. For example, if you are trying to get your toddler to eat a vegetable they do not like, rather than forcing them to eat it or threatening them with the consequence of being punished, try giving them another option instead. Try suggesting that they have another vegetable or dessert or snack instead. Your toddler may prefer one over the other or may want both. If they are not willing to eat the vegetable, then they can be given the option of having dessert or snack instead.
- Know Your Child’s Triggers
Remember that toddlers are not perfect. They may exhibit some behaviors that annoy other people. There are times when they may throw tantrums, have temper tantrums that you have to handle, or seem defiant. For this reason, you will need to understand your kid’s behavior and know what your child’s triggers are before trying to get them to listen. You should know why they do things that may make others annoyed or upset them in the first place so the process will be easier for both you and your toddler. For example, if they do something annoying like hitting other kids, you could use positive discipline and explain why hitting is bad and why they will get into trouble if they do it again. Understanding your child’s triggers will help guide you in how many times you give warnings or punishments before giving up.
- Use Positive Reinforcement For Good Behavior
This part is also very important. This step aims to focus on positive behavior and avoid negative reinforcement. It means you should give children positive reinforcement when they do something right to understand why it is right and what to do when they do it again in the future. Therefore, this will teach your child to repeat good behavior and make sure that they know what to do when you encourage it. For example, if you see your little one doing something right, such as putting their toys away or cleaning up their toys, then you should tell them. You can say things like ” Wow! What a good job,” or “I’m so proud of you for putting away your toys,” or “You’re doing a great job for your sister.” Or you can tell them that they should do it again in the future.
- Always Keep Your Patience Intact
Parents also have to remember that toddlers can be hard to handle sometimes, and mistakes are going to happen now and again. It is your duty to educate your little one on the right ways to behave. It means you have to keep your patience intact and try your best not to get angry whenever they do something wrong or listen to you or their parents. For instance, if your toddler starts misbehaving and you try to discipline them but get no response or a bad reaction from them, patience is the key. You need to keep telling yourself that all you can do is try your best and hope for the best. You should never use your frustration and anger as an excuse for anything or give up on disciplining your child altogether. If you do this, then it will only make things harder for other parents in the long run who have to deal with similar problems in disciplining their children.
- Make Consequences Clear To Your Children
Sometimes even if you are giving them warnings, there will still be moments when they do not listen to you. In that case, it is your job to make sure they know their actions’ consequences. The consequences should be clear to your children in a calm way. For example, if you tell your little one “No hitting,” but your child does still hit the other child, you should tell them that they will have to sit at the table for 2 minutes if they do that again. If they continue to hit, you should increase the time they have to sit at the table. You can also take it one step further by saying you will not allow them to play with other kids or watch TV for a certain period, for hours or a day, until they learn their lesson. It is a gentle way in which you can threaten them with consequences if they do not listen.
- Set Limits And Boundaries For Your Toddler
The last positive parenting technique is to set limits and boundaries for your toddler. It means that you have to teach them about the world around them and what is acceptable in our society. You can do it by giving examples of what things are not allowed, such as giving kisses to strangers, hitting people, or hitting animals when they do not obey the rules. Having these proper guidelines set out for your child will help them understand where you stand in life and what is right or wrong. You have to remember that children this age tend to mimic their parent’s behavior, so if you set a good model, they will follow suit as soon as they can.
Positive parenting techniques are not just useful in disciplining your child, but you can also teach your child important life lessons that they will carry with them through life. You can use these techniques as much as possible so that your child will learn from you and understand why you are doing it and its purpose. These are very important for toddlers if they want to realize right and wrong in society and behave properly when dealing with other people.
I’m Andrea Gibbs Born, raised, and still living in New York. I’m a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I’m a blog contributor at Baby Steps Daycare in Rego Park, New York to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.