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.
• 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