When Toddler Discipline Fails: Preparing for Meltdowns
Fully prepare yourself ahead of time so that you can maintain discipline and avoid a meltdown when you're out and about. Here are three preparation tips:
- Watch the clock. Don't go anyplace that is going to take you too long, and don't center your errands or outing too close to your toddler's nap time or a meal time. No one is at their best or most receptive to discipline when they're tired or hungry! (Even you, we'd bet!)
- Be packed. Keep snacks, toys, and extra clothes close at hand. If you're driving, make sure you have a few toys that can distract your toddler in the car seat, or a CD to listen to in the car. I always keep an emergency bag in my car that has an extra outfit, diapers and wipes, snacks, toys, and even a blanket. I check it once a week, and I'm never caught off guard.
- Make no surprises. Tell your child the game plan ahead of time and try to make a game out of it. Before entering a hot zone like a supermarket or mall, prepare your child for what you are about to do. For example: "We are going to the store to buy some food. I need you to help me look for apples." This can work with toddlers as young as 18 months! (They may not be able to say the words, but they can recognize the object and point.) Pictures are also great for young toddlers: You can cut out pictures from magazines or draw them yourself; the list keeps the kids focused on what they are looking for and helps prevent them from becoming bored—a huge tantrum trigger!
And no matter what you do, make sure they're well-rested and well-fed!
Get more child behavior tips from the Nanny 911 Nannies!