Uh oh! Who just coloured all over the hardwood floor? Now that your baby's past two, it's time to start thinking about discipline
Babyproofing was the beginning — sticking those childproof plugs into the electrical sockets, installing baby gates and putting away breakables. As your baby became a toddler, you continued making your home a place where she could play safely without getting into too much trouble. All of that is still important. But now she’s past two, and it may not be enough anymore. It’s time to start thinking about discipline.
By discipline, we don’t mean being spanked over a parent’s knee or standing in the corner. Anne Leon, the mother of six boys (ranging in age from three-year-old Dominic up to Michael, 14) has learned a lot about more positive approaches to discipline. “It’s really about teaching them or showing them the right way to behave,” she says.
The first step, she adds, is having reasonable expectations. What is fair to ask of your child? This will be different for each child, since children develop at different rates and have different temperaments.
It’s easy to assume that a toddler with a larger-than-average vocabulary and fluent language skills is more mature than others the same age, but that’s rarely the case. Your very verbal little girl probably has no more self-control, patience or social skills than any other two-year-old. Leon also points out that what’s reasonable also often changes from moment to moment: “If your child is tired or hungry, he’s going to be less able to be co-operative,” she says. If your child has been confined to a car seat for two hours, asking him to sit quietly for another hour or two when you arrive at your destination is probably not reasonable, either.
Next: Leon's tips for positive disciplining >