Toddler Behavior Issues � Why is it so Hard to Discipline Toddlers & Reason with their Behavior Issues?

(March 24, 2010)

A child in the age group of 18 to 36 months is usually referred to as a ‘toddler’. During this period, your toddler is going through a vast range of growth skills and experiences including physical, mental and emotional growth. New motor skills, verbal, skills, social skills, new foods are all being added at a rapid rate. While it is a charming and interesting period, it also leads to certain behavior problems in toddlers.

•    Higher energy levels. Toddlers are brimming with energy and are learning many motor skills such as walking, running, climbing and feeding themselves.
•    Curiosity. Toddlers want to explore everything around them and also want to socialize with people around them.
•    Impulsive. Although toddlers gain motor skills, they are still not aware of the consequence of most of their actions, and do not understand if they are harmful.
•    Independence. At this age, many toddlers want to do many things such as feeding or dressing themselves on their own. But they may not be fully capable of doing so, leading to frustration.
•    Frustration. Since their vocabulary is very limited, they cannot express themselves fully, nor can they understand your explanations.
•    Tantrums. When toddlers become frustrated they may resort to tantrums.
•    ‘Mine’. This is also the age when they become very possessive, and often use the word ‘mine’.

With a little patience and guidance, you will be able to manage your toddler very well and enjoy these early years.

First of all, use positive disciplinary actions. Have respect for your child and communicate positively. Be firm, consistent and kind, and first calm down your child. Sometimes, it is helpful to distract the child. You may offer some other toy, or start another activity. Humor or laughter can also diffuse the situation. Remember that positive reinforcement is the best method of teaching at this early an age.

It is also helpful to give some ‘cool down’ time. Give your child some ‘time out’. This is not as a punishment but as a calming measure. During this time, you can offer some quiet activity like drawing, coloring or looking at a picture book. If it is mild misbehavior, you may prefer to ignore it, unless it becomes too persistent.

Avoid negative methods of teaching, such as disciplinary measures at this age. Your child will pick up negative responses from you. Try and put yourself n your toddler’s shoes, to understand her/his needs. Give warning time. When you want your toddler to follow a certain discipline, give firm warnings only then act before dishing out the punishment. For example, “If you throw food on the floor, I’ll take your plate away.” If your toddler does not listen to two or three warnings, take the plate away and stick to your decision. Whatever you do, always follow with a hug, to let your child know that you are not withholding love.

Submitted by P T on March 24, 2010 at 02:22

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