A toddler can be cheerful and happy one moment and throw tantrums in the next. The biggest challenge for parents is to figure out how to inculcate the right values in the little one, teach them right from wrong and do it all without losing patience. Well, here are the parenting tips you need to nurture your toddler into a confident, independent individual you will be proud of.
10 good parenting tips you can use every day
The first thing to know is that while good parenting is challenging, it is not impossible to achieve. The parenting tips you see here will help you hone your skills and learn the ropes as you grow up with your little one. Remember that while these are parenting tips for toddlers, many of them can be applied even as the child grows to ensure that they learn the right values in life:
1. Respect your child
Imagine you have an acquaintance who puts you down at every turn, no matter what you do. Will you respect this person and want to spend time with them? Would you be inclined to listen to them? Definitely not.
Now think of a person who respects your views, your feelings and who makes you feel like your opinions matter. You are very likely to not only listen to this person but also trust their advice.
Now apply this to your little one. While he may be too young to understand respect in all its forms, he will see and begin to learn from you some basic traits such as:
- not interrupting when someone is talking
- respecting other’s feelings/ possessions
- listening attentively to other people
- respecting other people’s personal boundaries
Simple things like letting your toddler express his feelings without stopping him, allowing him to make safe choices like which clothes to wear, which flavour of ice cream to eat, accepting his ‘No’ when he doesn’t want to be cuddled. All this lays the foundation for respectful behaviour.
2. Adapt your parenting to his age and personality
Positive parenting tips are aplenty, but you must understand that you cannot use the same guidelines for a 2-year-old and a 12-year-old. A 2-year-old has very little exposure to the world, and he may not understand consequences in the way a 12-year-old would. Similarly, the way a 2-year-old reacts to things, the fears and insecurities he has, the way he views the world- they are all different.
Also, every child is unique and each one grows at their own pace. First, adapt your parenting to match a toddler and then be flexible enough to give leeway to your toddler’s unique personality. For example, imagine your best friend’s 2-year-old may be potty trained but your little one isn’t. Don’t put extra pressure on your child to conform to what you think is normal. If it takes a further 2 months, it really doesn’t matter.
3. Build self esteem
Positive parenting tips go a long way towards nurturing self-esteem in kids. Always keep in mind that your child sees himself through your eyes. The way you treat him tells him how he deserves to be treated. If you are always yelling at him or treating him with disdain, his self-esteem never has a chance to grow. To bring up a child with positive self-esteem, when you are interacting with a child to bring him, you must watch your:
- body language
- eye contact
Speak to him the way you would want to be spoken to. Respond to his questions with encouragement. Answer him patiently and lovingly. Communicate politely, gently and respectfully so he knows that he is worthy of being treated this way. When he does something good, make sure to praise him and tell him what the achievement was. Never compare your child with another. Growing up is not a competition.
4. Adopt positive reinforcement
One of the simplest parenting tips is to turn off our critical mechanism and turn on a positive reinforcement mechanism. When you find yourself finding fault with what they do far more often than you are complimenting the good stuff that they are doing, it’s time to reset. There may be many things the child is doing wrong, but constantly harping only on these tells the child that he can’t do anything right. While you can correct things, try to do it without criticising the child. For example, if you want them to pick up the toys littered all over the floor, ask them to help you clean up instead of criticising them for being messy.
One of the simplest parenting tips for toddlers is to use positive reinforcement liberally by highlighting good behaviour at once. You will begin to see that the child simply tries to repeat more of the good behaviour, and gradually the undesirable behaviour fades away. You can use positive reinforcement for the smallest of things:
- Wow, how nicely you have put your blocks back in the box
- I noticed you cleaned up your plate today. That’s good!
- Did you drink your milk without spilling a drop? That’s amazing!
- I saw you help that little girl put her puzzle together. That was sweet of you.
Notice good behaviour and appreciate it.
5. Learn the difference between punishment and discipline
Punishment arises from anger or frustration and aims to hurt the child. Discipline arises from a need to correct the child and aims to teach. Obviously, you want to discipline your toddler and correct what he is doing wrong instead of hurting him. Good parenting tips for effective disciplining reiterate how it is necessary to set rules beforehand so that the child knows what is right behaviour and what isn’t.
For example, before a playmate comes over, you tell the child that he is not allowed to grab toys from the other or hit him. Now the toddler knows what he’s NOT supposed to do.
To ensure that your child understands how discipline works, you must also have consequences for indiscipline and tell the child about them in advance too. The consequence for grabbing toys from a playmate could a time out or cutting short the play date.
6. Do, don’t just tell
You are your child’s most influential role model. You are being watched all through the day and your actions, behaviour, tone are being observed and noted by the child for reference. Demonstrating the behaviour you desire from your child is a simple way to get them to follow. Pay attention to how you treat not only the child but also everyone around you.
For example, thank the delivery boy who brings groceries to your doorstep. At the super market, greet the cashier with a smile and end with a ‘Good day to you’. Step up to help a neighbour struggling with bags. Be polite at restaurants. Treat even strangers with respect and ensure that your behaviour and language are dignified at all times. Soon, you will see your child mimicking your tone, body language and behaviour not only at home but even outside.
7. Demonstrate your unconditional love
One of the simple parenting tips that we surprisingly forget is that children flourish with love. Make sure your child knows you love him and that the love does not depend on how well he does something or how quiet he is or how much he behaves like his older brother. Every child deserves to know that he is loved for who he is.
Telling your child you love him is not the only way. Showing it through action is often more memorable. Choosing to spend time with the little one is a simple but very effective way to show your love. Hugs and cuddles are great too.
Many parents mistakenly believe that providing for their children, ensuring they never want for anything, is an adequate expression of love. It isn’t. Especially not for a toddler who is too young to understand this. A toddler understands that his Mom smiles a lot when she is with him, that she greets him with a squeal of excitement and squishes him close when she comes home from work, and that she sits down with him every night, reads a story and asks about his day.
8. Encourage communication
Toddlers are not perfect. They will mess up, make mistakes, and repeat mistakes too. In such situations, you must make them understand what they did wrong and why they must not do it again. Communication is essential here in two ways. First, you must encourage open communication without fear of harsh repercussions so the child will open up and tell you what they did honestly. Second, you must have a habit of talking heart to heart with the child on matters, so you sit them down and convey to them what was wrong and how to correct it. Letting the child know that they can discuss anything with you and expect to be heard without judgement. This is very critical all through the growing years.
These eight parenting tips for toddlers tell you how you can bring up your child to be a valuable member of society who is confident, respectful and productive.
Also, Learn: 6 Things Your Baby Wants You To Know!