A mother’s love for her child is unlimited. But our patience? Well, even the most well-behaved children (aka unicorns aka they don’t really exist) can try a parent’s patience and the strong-willed kids? Well, they test and push our limits to the snapping point. Sometimes I don’t even think I know how to handle a difficult toddler!
So if you’re wondering how to deal with an unruly toddler, here are some tips!
Try these tips for dealing with toddler misbehavior:
Understand why children misbehave.
Toddler taming requires detective work. Learning how to deal with an unruly toddler means looking out for these signs and factors.
Are they hungry or tired?
Children may misbehave when they’re hungry or tired. If you ensure they have eaten adequately and take naps regularly, you may have fewer tantrums to contend with. While this is easier said than done, realizing that a child might be overtired can help us parents deal with unruly behavior.
Children also misbehave when they’re feeling angry or frustrated, especially if they’re told “no.” Sometimes they want to do something on their own but we can’t let them yet. We don’t want to give them everything they want, whenever they want it. But we do expect that children throw tantrums when they aren’t given their way.
So you might think you’re raising a difficult toddler, but really they’re just young and unable to control their emotions yet. But if you’re wondering about toddler aggression and when to worry about it, do bring up the behavior at your next pediatrician visit.
Give your children the attention they deserve.
Often, children misbehave because they’re seeking attention. Since they don’t know the difference between positive and negative attention, they’ll act out when they want you to notice them.
By giving children positive attention, you’ll reduce the tendency for them to act out. Spend as much time as possible with your children to provide plenty of positive attention and fill their bucket, so to speak.
I heard that you need to have five positive interactions for each negative interaction to balance it out. So stack the deck by creating simple fun positive interactions with your child.
Praise positive behavior.
When parents have unruly children, they often focus on punishments and consequences. While you can read a lot about strong-willed child discipline techniques, also remember to balance out the discipline by focusing on positive reinforcement. By praising or rewarding good behavior, you’ll be giving your child the attention they desire while also reinforcing good behavior.
Stick to a routine.
When circumstances are out of the ordinary, children will sometimes act differently. By sticking to a consistent daily routine, you’ll reduce the chances of that happening.
Help your child understand expectations.
Set clear boundaries and ensure your child understands the rules.
Set rules and practice with your child following them at home. It’s easier to discipline a child at home when you can take your time and be patient.
If you can get your child to control his or her behaved at home, you’ll have an easier time getting them to do the same in situations outside the home.
And if your child has trouble regulating and understanding emotions, this toolkit might help!
Change a child’s behavior by suggesting an alternate activity.
If your child is doing something you don’t want them to do, suggest an activity that’s more acceptable. This is called redirection. It gives your child something more appropriate to do, and you’ll have corrected the behavior without anyone getting upset.
Give your child choices.
If you let your children choose between two or three different activities, they’re likely to be more cooperative. Providing several choices increases the chances of you suggesting something that they would want to do.
Letting your kids make the decision, rather than just being told what to do, gives them a sense of power.
Avoid making empty threats.
If you threaten punishment, you need to be prepared to follow through with it. If you fail to follow through with a threat, your child will learn how to take control of the situation. They’ll learn to wait for you to cave in, so they can get what they want.
When you follow through with your punishments, your child will learn that there are consequences for failing to follow the rules.
Whenever possible, be sure the consequences happen immediately. Avoid waiting until you get home, two hours later, to give a toddler a timeout. They’ll think they got away with bad behavior earlier, and they won’t understand why they’re being punished later.
Ensure that your consequences are age appropriate. A general rule of thumb is to give a toddler a timeout that lasts for 1 minute for each year of their age. For example, a three-year-old can handle a 3-minute timeout, and a five-year-old can handle one that lasts 5 minutes.
If your toddler is starting to get out of control, stay calm mama and remember these tantrum taming tips. Getting frustrated or angry will only make things worse for both you and your child. Staying calm and using these strategies to tame your unruly toddler will most likely result in your child learning to behave and cooperate with you.
Did you enjoy these tips on how to handle a difficult toddler?
Want more parenting advice? Check out this amazing Positive Parenting Solutions program!
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