Disciplining Your Toddler

Young children seem to get into everything. If they are not playing with their toys, they are playing with your toys and messes are never far behind. Being the parent of a toddler is very demanding. Using effective and consistent discipline techniques can only make your job easier.


When dealing with young toddlers and their misbehavior, it is important that you not give in to your child’ demands. A two-year old will scream and throw a fit to get their way; it is important that you not give in to such demands. Giving in once will teach your child that if they put up enough of a fuss, you will eventually give in.

So, what do you do when you are the parent of a toddler? Well, it is important for you to be firm and consistent. Being firm means not giving into your child and following through on what you say you are going to do. Being consistent means responding to specific behaviors the same way every time.

For example, if your child throws a ball aggressively in the house, you should tell him that if he throws the ball again, you will take the ball away. If your child proceeds to throw the ball again, simply take the ball away and have your child choose another toy to play with. Toddlers are testing their boundaries and your authority when they willfully disobey you. Therefore, it is important that you follow through quickly with the consequence you warned your child about.

It is a good idea to tell your child to do something or not do something only once. If you give your child several warnings and proceed to tell them two or three times that their behavior is bad, you will get frustrated and your child will learn that they do not need to listen to you the first time. Therefore, warn your child once. If they proceed to misbehave, follow through with the consequence you warned them of.

Toddlers will often throw a fit if they do not get their way, but they will quickly learn that their efforts to change your mind are futile if you consistently do not give into their tantrums or tears. This can be hard, but it is important for you to remain firm.

It is also important to be aware that toddlers are exploring and starting to figure out how life works. As such, they may get into mischief without trying to be disobedient or bad. It is, therefore, very important that you master the skill of diverting your child’s attention. If your child is doing something that is dangerous, find them a toy or something to do that is safe. Physically remove your child from the hazard and get them interested in something else.

There is no one correct technique to use when disciplining your toddler. Regardless of the technique, be firm and consistent with whatever method you use (see Techniques for Disciplining).