There comes a point in every child’s development where they start to test their boundaries. Whether it’s around bedtime, food, playing well with others, or dozens of other scenarios where they’re expected to act a certain way, chances are they’re going to take a chance to see what happens if they don’t do what they’re told.
The good news is that toddlers, whether they act like it or not, typically want to know what they are and aren’t allowed to do. Boundaries and rules provide structure and predictability, but only when misbehavior is met with consistent and well-explained consequences.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana. Welcome to this week’s video.
You know, parenting a toddler can both be a very exciting time and a very frustrating time. On the one hand they are the cutest little things. They are learning so much every day. They’re just amazing you with all the things that they’re learning. But on the other hand, they’re also learning that they don’t always have to listen to everything you say. They are learning that they’re their own little person. They have their own sense of autonomy, and they’re learning that, “Hey, ya know what? I can do certain things and see if I can make other people respond.”
So that’s where their will is coming in and so it can be a very trying time for a new parent, getting through this toddler phase. I had an email from somebody the other day saying that her two and a half year old, he just laughs every time she says no. Doesn’t matter how angrily she says no, how loud she says no, he just thinks it’s the funniest thing. So what I want to talk today about is consequences. The best way, and really we all learn consequences, if we don’t get up and go to work every day, well, the consequence will be that you get fired. If you don’t wear your winter coat when it’s snowing, the consequence is you’ll be cold all day.
So this is really important to keep in mind as a parent, is that there has to be some sort of consequence for bad behavior or the behavior you don’t want to see. We don’t need to call it good or bad, but if you don’t want your child to laugh at you every time you say no, then there really does need to be some sort of consequence. And I will tell you, very few children respond to anger. Very few children, they look at it as attention. Attention is attention, whether it’s coming positively or negatively. For most children, not all. But most children.
So the fact that you’re yelling and getting angry, is probably really just fueling his fire. Now he’s getting all kinds of attention, and the more he laughs at you when you say no, the more attention he gets for that. So there’s really no point to lose your temper, start yelling, getting angry. Most kids just don’t respond well to that. So, in this case, what we want to do is give a warning. So let’s say your little one is touching something that you don’t want him to touch, it’s breakable or it’s dangerous. And you’ve said, “No don’t touch,” and he laughs at you. You give one warning, you say, “That’s one.” If he doesn’t respond, you don’t need to say it again.
That’s important to keep in mind. You don’t need to be a broken record, because then they’ll just tune you out. Kinda like Charlie Brown’s teacher, remember the kids always just heard her saying, “Wat, wat, wat.” You don’t want him to tune you out. So then if he continues to touch the item, now it’s a consequence. So then you say, “that’s two. Timeout,” and you move him to some sort of timeout location. It could be a step, it could be a mat that you set him on, it could be a chair somewhere, it could be the laundry room. that’s what I always used with my children, our timeout spot was the laundry room. But there should be some location in which your child now needs to go because they didn’t listen to what you said.
Now given their age, you want to make it age-appropriate. So, if we’re talking about a two and a half year old here, you’re gonna set a timer for two and a half minutes. And that is the length of time they need to stay in this timeout location. If they get out of it, you just put them right back and you start the timer again. And you start the timer again, and again, and again. As many times as it takes for him to realize, it makes better sense to just stay here, let the time run out and then I can go about my business. And this is what’s call a consequence. And there really does need to be consequences for those behaviors, or they just won’t go away.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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