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… 



Give them a hug

Just a reminder to grab somebody you love and give them a hug like you actually mean it.

I was talking with a friend about a neighbor of hers who has three kids. A wife. And brain cancer… He is on hospice care and is no longer capable of walking, talking, kissing or hugging. So grab somebody nearby and give them a hug.

There’s a couple of things that I haven’t talked about publicly and that list is about to get a little bit shorter. I know full well what those children are about to go through. When I was four, my dad and his brother died in a plane crash. I remember that day all too vividly. I’ll spare the details here, but the point is, I know what those kids are about to go through and I really don’t want anybody to go through that.

I’m not trying to be a downer… But Kylah’s about to turn one soon and being there for her is the most important thing I can do. So grab somebody you love and hug them like you mean it.