Parenting a toddler brings new challenges and discoveries each day. There is a delicate balance between too much and too little disciple. Here are some useful parenting tips which we find helpful from this website to keep our toddlers grow happily into well-behaved, responsible little people:
Parenting and Behavioral Management Tips
The 18-month-old child gets around easier and may soon be running. It is easy to expect too much of our toddler. He or she looks so different from the crawling baby of a few months ago, and many parents think their youngster is no longer a baby.
- Keep rules to a minimum. Long speeches of explanation are completely useless. “Because I said so!” should be enough.
- Be firm and consistent, but loving and understanding with discipline. Praise your toddler for his or her good behavior and accomplishments.
- Encourage your toddler to make choices whenever possible, but the choices should be limited to those you can live with (“red shirt or green shirt.”) Never ask a toddler an open question (“Do you want to take a bath?”) unless you are willing to accept the answer.
- Use the two “I’s” of discipline (ignore or isolate) rather than the two “S’s” (shouting or spanking). Keep time-out to no more than two minutes per child’s age, and be consistent.
- When disciplining, try to make a verbal separation between the child and his or her errant behavior (“I love you, but I do not like it when you touch the TV.” Pick-up your toddler, hold him or her, or remove her from dangerous situations. Reassure the toddler once the negative behavior has stopped.
- Provide alternatives. “No, you cannot play with the telephone, but you can play with these blocks.”
- Avoid power struggles with your toddler. No one wins! The toddler uses a powerful weapon against the parents: the temper tantrum! These occur when the toddler is angry, tired, frustrated, or does not get his or her way. Again, handle temper tantrums with the two I’s of discipline – ignore or isolate (time out!).
- Reinforce self-care and self-expression. Praise what the child does for himself (putting his hand in a sleeve, self-feeding, washing his hands, etc.) Parents should say “and you did that all by yourself!” The 18-month old child is highly pleased by parental approval.
- Show affection in the family. Be a good role model by using seat belts, saying please and thank you and showing respect for others. The toddler is a great imitator.
- Do not expect the toddler to share toys, wait for his or her food in a restaurant, or be patient while you try on clothes at the store or go food shopping.
- Early toilet training does not mean your child is super smart. Pushing the toddler will only make him or her rebel and be in diapers even longer. Signs that a child might be ready are dry for periods of about two hours, knows the difference between wet and dry, can pull his or her pants up and down, wants to learn, and can give a signal when he or she is about to have a bowel movement. If you insist on toilet training when your child is not ready, a battle will develop and it is a battle you cannot win!
- Remember that aggressive behaviors – hitting and biting – are common at this age. They are, of course, not acceptable behaviors. How parents respond to them determines if the behavior will continue.
- Do not discourage your child from using a security object – a stuffed animal, favorite blanket, etc. These are important for a toddler and the child will give it up when he or she is ready.
- Despite your child’s desire to become independent, you will find the 18-month-old will still cling to a parent.
- Read simple stories to the child regularly, especially at bedtime, to enrich his verbal expression and increase his interest in the spoken language and his listening skills.
- Limit television viewing and do not use it as a substitute for interaction with the child. Watch children’s programs with the child when possible.
- Raising a toddler can often be demanding. But above all, praise the child when they are behaving well, and always show unconditional love and affection.