When it comes to discipline, it's better to prevent undesired behavior before it happens. To do this:
- Make sure your rules are clear and that your child understands them. A toddler who doesn’t know the rules doesn’t know he’s breaking them.
- Model good behavior by following those rules yourself. After all, toddlers learn from their parents.
- Remember that toddlers have very little impulse control. Removing temptations before they become problems can help you avoid having to discipline your child.
If your child does break a rule or act out in anger, experts recommend discipline rather than punishment. This means the emphasis is on teaching your child how to behave.
Here’s how to do this when unwanted behavior occurs:
- Clearly and firmly say 'no' and remove your child from the situation.
- Distract him with a toy or another activity.
- Use time-outs sparingly—only for very negative behavior—and don’t keep him in it for more than a minute or two.
- Remain consistent with your rules and consequences.
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