Discipline
Toddler Discipline: 18-24 Months

Toddler Discipline: 18-24 Months

Welcome to the thrill ride! The toddler years are full of wonderful milestones, but they’re also full of stressful parenting moments as your child challenges limits and battles with huge emotions.

If you read our article on parenting styles, you know that authoritative parenting has been proven to be the gold standard over four decades of research. Here are a few authoritative techniques for teaching your toddler how to respect others’ expectations and control her emotions.

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Toddler Tantrums

Tantrums peak between the ages of 18 and 24, however, they might begin younger. For toddlers, they’re a rite of passage, but for parents, they’re a source of frustration. Here are some strategies to consider:

Prevent – Tantrums are more likely in toddlers who are hungry, exhausted, or have access to forbidden items. Routines and babyproofing can help keep your child well-fed, rested, and away from items, she shouldn’t be playing with.

Distract & Redirect – If you know your toddler gets upset when Grandma departs after a visit, have a fun activity ready to divert her attention soon after she says goodbye.

Connect – When your toddler’s tantrum is caused by exhaustion, irritation, or grief, this method works effectively. Hold her and empathize with her: “You’re upset because your toy broke,” until she calms down.

Ignore — Ignoring your child while she is crying on the floor because you won’t give her a cookie teaches her that tantrums aren’t a good way to attract your attention or obtain what she wants. As soon as she comes to a halt, engage with her in a positive manner so that she understands the need of calming down.

It’s easier said than done to keep your cool. When you’re upset, none of your tantrum-busting tactics work. It’s fine if you take a step back and take a deep breath (or several). 

Natural & Logical Consequences For Toddlers

Because toddlers can grasp good and wrong at this age, natural consequences (the unintended repercussions of their actions) tend to function effectively. Let’s assume your kid throws a toy behind the sofa on purpose. You take it back and tell her that you’ll get it this time, but you don’t want her to do it again. She does it again, you guessed it! As a result, she loses the toy for the time being, at least until you clean beneath the sofa again.

Logical consequences, like natural ones, are linked to her actions. They are imposed by you, as opposed to natural consequences. For example, during supper, your child puts her cup on the floor. “Cups remain here,” you remark as you take it up and place it back on her tray. “We don’t toss cups.” When she tosses it again, the only natural response is to declare, “No more cup,” and toss it in the sink. If she’s thirsty, you can offer her water after the meal.

Natural and logical consequences are usually sufficient, but if they aren’t (or if your kid engages in “red-light” behaviours such as striking, biting, or run awaying from you in a parking lot), you may want to explore time-outs or time-ins.

Time-Outs & Time-Ins For Toddlers

Little ones despise being forced to stop what they’re doing, sit quietly by themselves, and be ignored for a certain amount of time. The idea is that kids will learn not to repeat the behaviour that landed them in time-out in the first place since time-outs are so painful.

Only when your kid reaches the age of 18 months does the American Academy of Pediatrics advocate using time-outs for “red-light” behaviours. Follow these phases based on your childrens capacity to cooperate with a time-out that lasts one minute each year of age:

Face your child away from you while holding him or her on your lap.
Encourage her to take a seat in a chair while keeping her hand on her lap or shoulder.
Tell her to sit in a chair (or somewhere else) until the time-out is over.
Allow your kid to resume what she was doing when the time-out has ended without more discussion or lecture.

Time-In — In parenting circles, there is a lot of discussion regarding time-outs. Some argue that it doesn’t truly teach the child anything and instead recommends “time-ins.” There are several variations of time-in. One popular method is to take your child out of the environment where she is misbehaving and sit with her. Assist her in calming down and discussing what went wrong and what is expected of her. Another option is to create a quiet zone in your house with books, cuddly animals, and other relaxing items. Send your child to this time-out room when she misbehaves so she may learn to relax and reflect on her actions.

Things to Keep in Mind

Even when your child is engaging in button-pushing behaviour, one of the hallmarks of authoritative parenting is being emotionally sensitive to your child. This translates to:

“No biting,” rather than “bad girl,” is a good example of focusing on the behaviour rather than the kid.

“You’re insane. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. You’re mad. It’s fine to feel angry, but hitting me is not. Please take a break.”

“I understand It’s a bummer that we have to leave the park.”

“We don’t bite because biting hurts,” 

Giving your kid options: “You can either stop hitting me with your teddy or I’ll take the bear away.”

Try incorporating comedy into your discipline; it’s quite effective! Here are several examples of how to accomplish it.

Above all, remember that consistency is essential for successful discipline. Make an effort to link particular behaviours to precise consequences, and stick to it.

What You Should Do Next:

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More Discipline Tips

References

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  13. 14.Eisenberger NI. The Neural Bases of Social Pain. Psychosomatic Medicine. Published online 2012:126-135. doi:10.1097/psy.0b013e3182464dd1
  14. 15.Tucker D, Luu P, Pribram K. Social and emotional self-regulation. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1995;769:213-239. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8595027
  15. 16.N/a N. Temper tantrums. Medline Plus. Published 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001922.htm

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