Six months ago, I would and should have been the last person shelling out advice on toddler training, considering what a handful my own was. But they are called ‘terrible twos’ for a reason.
This age and stage, however, shapes your child’s personality for life so a little time and effort on your part can go a long way. Before I begin though, let me make it clear that no set of rules or blogs you read online can discipline your child overnight. There sure are some tried and tested universal practices that seem to work for everyone but you know your child’s personality and their problem areas best. So you should also know what would work best for them..
The most valuable lesson I have learnt working with my own is that instead of force feeding them every rule, practice them yourself so your kid follows naturally. What you are not consciously teaching your child but practicing yourself is something they pick on the quickest and most easily. No matter how busy or tired you are with work or whatever else, you need to make an effort!
After figuring one day that I had had enough of this drama and needed to do something about it, this is what helped me retain my sanity. I am going to try and keep this crisp and short and lay the groundwork for you. Work on forward your own way.
1. Set a Routine
I cannot emphasize on the importance of this enough. Plan out the entire day for your child. When they know what to expect next, be it a nap, bath time or dinner, there are lesser chances of tantrums and drama. This helps bring discipline in everyone’s life around the house.
2. Stick to it!
You cannot under any circumstances give in! Be firm and no matter what, no compromise on the routine (unless of course under dire unforeseen circumstances). Even at two, kids can sense our weakness, believe it or not. If they know you’d give in ultimately, no rules can work in your house at any age EVER!
3. Stay calm, connect and bond
Do not and I say do not lose your cool. Shouting never works! Look your kid in the eye and try to reason with them. ‘NO’ is not a sufficient answer for a kid of any age. Let them question or refuse as many times as they want but make sure they know who is boss at the end. Reward, acknowledge, express and punish accordingly just so children can establish there are consequences to everything!
Communication and Consistency is the key. You will be laying the foundations of trust and bonding between yourselves at as young an age as this. Let them place their trust in you. This will also develop the ability in your child to express themselves and to involve you in their daily lives. Be a good listener!
4. Spare time
There is nothing as precious as quality time spent with your tod. I know it is too much to ask of someone with a 9 to 5 job, laundry to do, kids to bathe and cook for but trust me it will get easier with time. Even five or ten minutes of one on one play time can make a world of a difference. Just make it a habit so your child can count on you. Once they are older, past three, you would be begging them to spend some time with you!
How hard is planting a kiss on their forehead on your way to the dryer or a pat on the back, ruffling the hair, a quick hug?? Knowing that you are loved is a wonderful feeling and can bring out the best in anyone, remember that. Just know where to draw the line.
In toto, don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no wrong or right way of doing it but what matters is that it HAS to be done! You are the parent and you set the rules. Make sure your child knows that.