Toddler misbehaviors are natural and normal because to toddlers, they aren't misbehaviors at all — they are simply doing what they do. Toddlers learn by experimenting and play which can sometimes make for a real mess. The truth is, even awesome parents struggle with disciplining toddlers, so try to learn these simple strategies BEFORE you encounter problems:

• Offer Choices
Be ready for when your little one misbehaves by having a choice-making plan in place. Offer your toddler the control he seeks by letting him make a decision: "Do you want to wear the blue shorts or the yellow ones?" "Do you want to take a walk with me or play in the backyard while I watch?" Whenever possible, give your little one choices so he feels like he's in control.

• Get Used to Short and Simple Reasoning
Know that toddlers do not have long attention spans, so get over thinking a long and sensible explanation will work. With toddlers, it's best to keep directions short and simple. Speak in short phrases and repeat. If your toddler draws all over a wall, you can say calmly, "No, Timmy. We don't draw on walls we draw on paper." Keeping your explanations short will really help your little one.

Raising toddlers is difficult. By knowing a few techniques before your child gets to this stage, you can help them along more easily!

• Distract Your Child
When you sense that your toddler is working up to an emotional breakdown — parents often can see it coming — try distraction. Avoid shouting, "Stop!" or something else that will just drive your child toward his breakdown. Instead, distract him with a new activity or give him time to play with a toy that you offer.

• Opt for Time Out
Time-out is a where you very briefly deprive your child of two precious things: freedom and the privilege of being with you. Time-out requires a timer and three simple steps: 

  • Step 1: One last warning. If your toddler is doing something you don't want him to do, say, "No," and provide one sentence: "Jamie, we don't write on the walls." 

  • Step 2: Count to three. If your child ignores your warning say, "No," and count to three. You want your child to learn that the time-out is something he's doing to himself (not something you're doing to be mean). If your child stops the misbehaving before you get to three, don't do a time-out and praise him.

  • Step 3: Put your child in isolation. If your child continues to misbehave, calmly lead him (or, if you have to, carry him) to the time-out place such as a chair. For a 2-year-old, make the Time Out for 2 minutes or a bit longer. Determne the length by the child's age. Set a timer on your phone and turn the sound on so your child can hear it when it goes off.

     

SOURCES: The Happiest Toddler on the Block; The Discipline Miracle