The “terrible twos” may arrive before the second birthday! Parents of toddlers often ask for my tips on how to handle public outbursts with really young kids. Here are Dr. Jen’s tips on discipline—for pre-two-terrible-twos!
- At this age, we’re focusing more on “teaching” than “discipline”. Teaching that outbursts are not an effective communication method for expressing wants and needs is where you can both optimally focus your energy.
- Talk to your baby. Tell your little one, “Mommy (or daddy) will listen to you if you use your words; crying and yelling are not going to work anymore”.
- Proceed to ignore (yes, ignore…) the outbursts. Yes, you can leave the supermarket or shopping mall (we’ve all been there!!). Leave, and continue to ignore.
- Rinse and repeat! Do it again. Be consistent. This will teach your child that there will be no response (positive or negative) or attention from you with behaviors you are trying to dissuade her from.
- Share these techniques with anyone who will be with your child, so there will be a consistent approach in any environment.
- Applaud your child when she/he effectively communicates wants and needs. Positive reinforcement is a very important part of parenting!