Do you have a toddler? Are you confused by all the advice on how to discipline him or her? Here is a set of guidelines collected from various experts and interweb pages to make your life easier.
Your child just threw a shoe at your head. Ignore it. They just want attention. Don’t ignore it. It needs to be addressed. Your toddler deserves respect and to be treated like an adult. Use a calm tone to explain why you don’t enjoy having Crocs in your face. Your toddler is not an adult and doesn’t understand complex sentences. Talk like a cave woman: “No Croc in face.” A calm tone doesn’t convey how serious you are, so use a stern but polite Mom voice: “PLEASE, NO CROCS IN MY FACE!”
Only offer your toddler what you eat for dinner. Don’t be a short order cook. When they refuse and claim they are hungry an hour later say, “You had a chance to eat that bone marrow and charred octopus at dinner time and now you are hungry. This is your natural consequence.” Be a short order cook. Make several small plates — some with food they like and some with food shaped like animals they like. When they eat one grape that was forming the fruit caterpillar’s eye, ask if they want dessert.
Timeouts are great. Start timeouts before babies can crawl (so they will stay put). Make sure the time out area has no toys so your one-year-old can learn to form sentences like, “Thank you mother. This reflection time has allowed me to understand the error of my ways.” Toys in the timeout area are fine. If you are lucky, your child will get really focused on building a Lego hippopotamus and you can take a break and go to lunch. Timeouts are awful. You shouldn’t leave upset kids alone. Instead take them to a spa room with incense and wooden flute music. Perform deep breathing exercises and yogic headstands together. If it’s hard to devote time to this because you have another kid, what were you thinking?
Wait until they are ready to do it themselves and you won’t have to do anything. If this time doesn’t come before college, request a very understanding roommate freshman year. If you encounter resistance, stop; you don’t want to create a battle. If you encounter resistance, keep pushing through; this is the only way they will learn. Train them in pull ups — no mess! Don’t train them in pull-ups. It won’t work. Have them run around naked until they understand their bodily functions. This works best if you live in a culture that doesn’t shun pooping in the gutters.
Try to tire them out. Take your toddler to a park, a trampoline center, and an iron man competition before bedtime. They will sleep great. Tiring kids out makes them sleep worse. Keep them as sedate as possible in the afternoon. When they ask if they can please stop playing the iPad and go outside, download an app with a virtual playground.
When you notice a toddler at the playground calmly eating their rutabaga and head cheese sandwich while your toddler hangs from the tree branch above them, ask his mom what her secret is. When she says, “Oh, he has always been this calm,” say, “That’s awesome. I’m sure it’s because you have been following all the right rules.”