Despite your best efforts, at some point your toddler will break the rules and saying no does not always work. Every day, bit by bit, toddlers are mastering new abilities and are exciting to use these skills. It is never fun being the bad guy, but there has to be consequences for bad behavior. Setting rules and limits early when your child is learning what behaviors are acceptable will help prevent bigger problems in future. Consider using these parenting tips to enforce good behavior.

1. Natural consequences
Let your child see the consequences of his or her actions as long as they’re not dangerous. If your child throws and breaks a toy for example, he or she won’t have the toy to play with anymore.

2. Logical consequences
Create a consequence for your child’s actions. For example, tell your child if he or she doesn’t pick up his or her toys, you will take the toys away for a day. If your child doesn’t cooperate, follow through with the consequence.

3. Withholding privileges
If your child doesn’t behave, respond by taking away something that your child values such as their favorite toy. Don’t take away something your child needs, such as a meal.

4. Timeout
Guide your child to a designated timeout corner, ideally a quiet place with no distractions. Enforce the timeout for one minute for every year of your child’s age for example it could be 4 minutes for a 4yr. old. Alternatively, you could take a timeout away from him or her for a few minutes. Make sure your child knows why he or she is in the timeout. Afterward, guide your child to a positive activity and explain the behavior you’d like to see.

Whatever consequences you choose, remember the following;

i. Make sure the punishment fits the crime.
ii. Do not wait too long to enforce a consequence or else you will confuse the child.
iii. Act, don’t just talk. When you threaten and do not act the child will not take you seriously. Teach your child that you mean what you say.
iv. Do not break your own rules, be consistent and don’t cave it when the child resists.
v. Stay calm and positive, don’t get emotional.
vi. Know your child’s triggers for bad behavior and enforce preventative measures.
vii. Know when to give in; some issues aren’t worth the headache of an argument. Pick your battles.

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