Discipline and children: birth to 12 years

Discipline and your toddler

Your toddler learns through touch and trying things out - this often means they make a mess or use things the wrong way.

They will like to do things their own way and may get frustrated because they don’t yet have the skills they need.

Your toddler will probably say 'no' a lot, and not yet understand consequences or know how to change their behaviour.

The more your toddler feels competent, in control and able to do things, the calmer they will be.

The following information can help:

  • be patient and praise your child as you teach and show them new skills
  • keep it simple - one new lesson at a time
  • avoid battles, particularly with eating and toilet training. 

Unless they’re ill, your child will usually eat what they need if you give them a choice of healthy foods. 

Don’t waste energy trying to make them eat if they don’t want to. Avoid a struggle by saying ‘You’ve had enough? OK, let’s get you down from your high chair’.

Try to distract your toddler from behaviour you don’t want  by giving them something else to do. You could say ‘Where’s that book you like?’ rather than ‘Don’t touch the TV’.

Read more about understanding your toddler or children and tantrums.

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Last updated: 11 March 2016

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