18-Month-Old Toddler Development: Discipline
You know what they say: Rules were meant to be broken. And no one lives by that creed more than a toddler. Seems toddlers just looove to push, push, push the boundaries ... until you're ready to dial Nanny 911. What you're thinking: "How did my precious little baby morph into the offspring of the Bride of Chucky and Freddy Krueger?!"
- Maybe you're a natural disciplinarian or maybe you cringe and feel like the Big Bad Wolf when it's time to put your kid in line. Just know that discipline is important because it helps a young kid feel safe and secure and let's him know you care (even if he hates you for caring at the moment). Try these time-tested discipline techniques when you find yourself at a loss.
- Pick your battles. You can't argue with your toddler over every little thing (although he'll try). So if he's doing something annoying, like banging a spoon on the coffee table, you might want to practice ignoring it and save your disciplinary ammo for when you'll really need it ... like five minutes later when he's trying to stick that spoon in an electrical socket.
- Distraction is one of the absolute best ways to discipline a toddler. If your kid is doing something dangerous or disobedient, just pick him up and redirect his attention. That said, get in the habit of using words to explain why you're doing what you're doing because as he gets older, verbal discipline will be key. And be prepared to repeat yourself a zillion times. Toddlers can't remember the rules you laid out for them yesterday ... or even five minutes ago.
- And if you're really ready for the Nanny 911 nannies ... we've got 'em! Check out our Child Behavior Boot Camp, where Nanny Deb and Nanny Stella give you 30 days worth of info to improve your kid's behavior.
- Finally, don't sweat it too much. At one point or another, we're all pushed to the limit by our kid and we snap. We say things we don't mean. We scream and rant and rave. But before you go hating yourself for life for losing your cool, cut yourself some slack. There's only so much an exhausted parent on her last nerve can handle. Hey, we're not perfect, we're parents. Just say you're sorry, promise yourself you'll handle things better next time and hang in there until you can tuck your little maniac into bed ... and retreat to a bubbly bath or, even better, a bubbly glass of somethin' somethin'.
- "I am sick and tired of parents who excuse their children's rudeness, destructiveness or poor manners by saying that they are "just active" or "too young" to be disciplined. How hard is it to get a kid to understand "No!" or "Stop hitting!" or "Pick up your toys!"? And is it so unusual to expect kids to address adults as Mr. or Mrs.?"
Read more of "Proud Mean Mommy" by Brandy Carrelli
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your kid's next checkup.