Toddlers come to you like a blank canvas, and learn just what you teach them. It is very important to teach them the right things in time. The most important thing to remember is that toddlers copy their parents. Unknowingly, you might be teaching them lessons you don't even know. For example, eating in front of the T.V. for a long time, daily. Your toddler is going to get used to this image and copy it eventually. While it may not be possible to keep small things in mind all the time, the important ones like smoking, should be completely avoided in front of toddlers. It takes a lot of patience to teach your toddler the simplest of lessons; giving up might seem tempting. However, if you follow the tips mentioned below, disciplining your toddler will be easier than you thought it was.
Use the word 'No' firmly when needed. For instance, if your child has done something unacceptable, then do not negotiate the situation. Instead, convey it to your toddler that you mean what you said. At this age, he might take time obeying your orders; be patient, and eventually, every time you say 'No', your toddler will stop doing whatever that he is. Make the command stricter if your toddler still continues doing what he is. However, if he wants to know why you're stopping him, reason out the situation with him. Using reason as a tool, instead of punishment, will also improve your relationship with your child.
It is very important for you to discipline your own temperament when you deal with toddlers. Teaching them something will take time. They still have to learn how to learn. If a particular situation is draining you of all your patience, remind yourself time and again that you've signed up for this as a parent. The reactions that stem from your anger and frustration are going to be picked up by your child. For example, you might scream at him a couple of times without intending to. In his mind, he's going to think it's okay to speak in this volume.
Help your toddler understand the consequence of good and bad actions. For example, if your toddler gives you a hard time while eating his meals, don't hesitate to show him a little anger. However, if after this incident, he eats properly the next day, treat him to his favorite candy. Don't use the tool of consequences to instill fear in him; instead, show the brighter side of things―how good things will come to him if he behaves.
Use empathy as a tool to show your toddler you understand. While this may not work with 1-year olds, it works great as they turn older. For example, if you are not allowing your child to be at the zoo for long, then let him know that even you wanted to, but it's getting late and you guys have no option but to leave. This way, you both become victims of the same situation. Your reaction to this situation will be something he'll learn as a lesson and remember.
Although not always possible, try to find an alternative to unacceptable behavior. For example, if he is stubbornly throwing out stuff from the dressing table, then show him what fun it is to throw clothes in a laundry basket. With repeated attempts, you will be able to teach him constructive behavior.
Discipline doesn't only mean teaching the right stuff. It also means telling your toddler to keep doing the right stuff. The best way to do this? Offer treats. If your toddler learns to drink from a glass without spilling, treat him. If he lets you brush him without a fuss, praise his good behavior. Another great idea is to praise him in front of others.
Realize the importance of being consistent. Just like a cup of tea has to be stirred repeatedly to dissolve the sugar, you need to follow all these tips regularly to achieve the desired result.