Toddler Discipline: Strategies and Challenges

If you’re the parent of a toddler, you probably find yourself yelling, “Don’t touch that!” several times a day. You could worry that every time you take a seat, one of these inquisitive critters is sneaking something from under your seat. Your toddler sounds about average if you’re meeting resistance and tears whenever you try to divert them.

Young children tend to act out as they explore the boundaries of their world. After all, they’re relatively recent arrivals to the world; naturally, they have a lot to learn. “Developmentally, there is more going on in your toddler’s brain now than at any other moment in their life,” says Paul McLaren, a Norland-trained nanny and the former head nurse of Norland College.

The good news is that children aged one and two are at a critical stage for social and behavioral development. The onus is on you as parents to instill proper behavior and social norms in your children; we’re here to assist you in this endeavor.


Your child may not stop running, jumping, and playing until they are very spent, which means that you may be exhausted from chasing them about all day. Babies and toddlers appear to have boundless reserves of vitality. They are insatiably inquisitive and eager to learn about the world around them by using all of their senses, especially their touch.

And they’re all about standing firm in their own way, with “no” maybe being their favorite word.

And here are some other typical toddler antics:

  • They are restless creatures who thrive when on the go.
  • As a result of their boundless curiosity, they must touch everything in sight.
  • They are trying to learn how to act like the adults they observe, for as by sweeping the floor or operating a vehicle.
  • That’s why routine is so important to them.
  • You may have witnessed a toddler’s spectacular meltdown after refusing to buy their favorite cereal at the shop. It’s normal for a toddler to have the occasional tantrum. Once a compliant infant, today’s toddler is “a mighty one who says ‘No’ a lot, who wants to do everything for themselves whether they are able to do so or not, and who suddenly does not want to eat the food they used to enjoy or go to bed happily,” as McLaren puts it.

The “terrible twos” are often the result of these young children’s poor capacity for expression, which can lead to a period of extreme emotional volatility.

People often resort to using their bodies to communicate their emotions when they are unable to do it verbally. Tantrums in toddlers might be triggered by too much stimuli or too strong an emotion.

Strategies for Effective Discipline

While every child is different and your disciplining methods should reflect that, these techniques tend to work well with toddlers.

The Moment of Peace

It can be challenging to help your toddler calm down once they’ve become upset. Young children often require assistance in learning to control their emotions. If your toddler seems unable to regulate their own behavior, you may need to teach them how.

An effective strategy for dealing with difficult children is the “time-in,” during which you sit with the child in a quiet, peaceful area and hold them in your lap. Still, there are kids who do better when left alone in a child-proofed room to figure it out on their own. The specific circumstances will determine whether a positive time out or a time-in is appropriate.

Direct Modeling

You know it isn’t going to help if you try to reprimand your toddler’s conduct from across the room. In order to teach a toddler something new, it is much more effective to demonstrate it to them. McLaren advises parents to “get down on their toddler’s level, make eye contact, and give clear and precise directions” when talking to their young child.

Do not expect your dog to understand what “gently petting the dog” means if you remain at a distance and never get in close enough to see it for yourself.

Some children of this age group will thrive under direct instruction as they acquire new abilities and habits. Place your hand over your child’s hand and pet the dog, telling them, “Gentle touches,” while you do so. Then, remind your youngster of the lesson whenever you observe rough behavior.

Sooner or later, they’ll learn to be more gentle in their handling of others.

Determine the Cause

There is probably an explanation for your toddler’s behavior, even if it doesn’t appear to be one.

Due to their size and the difficulty of conveying their demands, small people are prone to tantrums and other forms of misbehavior when they are hungry or overtired. Physical inactivity is another risk factor for developing behavior problems. If your child is having a tantrum or is behaving in an undesirable way, it is in everyone’s best interest for you to investigate the underlying causes of their actions.

Toddlers require three main meals and two snacks per day, all at roughly the same time of day, even if they don’t eat much at each sitting. Furthermore, they require 10-12 hours of sleep every night, an afternoon nap, and around two hours of free time for physical movement per day.

It’s possible that your kid is feeling misunderstood or speechless even if their needs are being met. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, MD, a pediatrician and consultant for Mom Loves Best, advises parents to “remember that your child may lack the language to express their frustration.”

See if you can figure out what they’re trying to say, and then help them express it. You may use a phrase like, “Oh, you’d like to swap out your outerwear. The phrase “Blue jacket, please, Mommy!” could work.”