Disciplining a toddler

Kylah reared back and with a swift flick of the wrist slapped me across the face.

Kylah disappeared around the corner to the laundry room and when I found her, she had nearly emptied the dog’s food into his water.

Kylah shook her head and hit the spoon out of Kelci’s hand, flying spaghetti allover the place.

Yeah, having a toddler is amazing. But it can also be frustrating and trying and challenging. So what do you do about a young toddler that doesn’t quite get “traditional” discipline? That has been our latest challenge and learning to manage those frustrating moments has been a hard lesson for all of us.

Stern and consistent

The hitting is the most serious of the offenses right now. I bristle when she flails her sippy cup toward the dog and it’s hard to watch her take a swipe at Kelci. We’ve read a lot of different opinions about how to manage what appears to be a common phase that toddlers go through.

Neither of us are in a hurry to start hitting back and she’s simply to young to fully understand the implications of a raised voice or a harsh yell. And forget folding your arms and delivering a stern look. Our little sponge quickly mirrored that causing me to laugh hysterically.

Our method of choice depends on the offense. For hitting, we grab her hands, tell her no thank you and then instruct her to be gentle and showing her what a gentle touch is. Stern voice, but not yelling and careful to not cause harm to her. Consistently reminding her what is OK and what is not.

For other infractions we have chosen to distract rather than punish. A timeout or other scolding wouldn’t work for our little busybody. Redirecting her and telling her what she was doing is not OK seems to be the best we can do. Her trips to the dog bowls have definitely decreased.

As she grows, our strategy will shift. Our methods will change and we’ll all learn how to be happy and not in trouble. But the best advice we can give and the best advice we have been given is be consistent.

And to show you we’re not mean parents, here’s some shots of our little trouble maker… 



Baby hugs

There’s few things in life better than baby hugs. Kylah has recently determined she is going to be affectionate and that means baby hugs. And baby kisses. Sloppy, drooly, baby kisses.

But this new-found affection also has come with one other thing: Attitude. Shaking the head no, hitting and, my personal favorite, mirroring me and crossing her arms and giving me the same stern look I was giving her when she got caught pouring dog food into the dog’s water.

I like baby hugs better than I like baby mockery.

So, it’s now time to figure out “discipline.” Such a scary word. I’ll probably explore our discipline strategies in a different post, but Kelci and I both agree that the core is going to be consistency. And lots of baby hugs…

Oh and in case you haven’t seen it, Kylah made a video for everybody to see: