Disciplining Your Toddler

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Disciplining your toddler can be such a headache. It’s a season of “No!” and “Stop That!” It may seem like it will never end and nothing you do works.

Worn-out mamas, there is hope. Here’s a few things you need to know to help your kiddo along with saving your sanity to fight another day.

disciplining your toddler

Disciplining Your Toddler: Get Both Parents On Board

You need to have a sit down with your partner and decide what the rules are.

There might be things you think are natural to not want them to do like standing on a chair for their safety. It could be your counter-part doesn’t feel that’s a big deal but that throwing food off of their tray is the highest of offenses to them.

Once you have your list, keep adding to it as your kiddo comes up with new an exciting ways to push your buttons.

Being on the same page helps with the next must have for discipline!

Disciplining Your Toddler: Be Consistent

It’s so crucial to have your list of what’s not okay so everyone involved in the discipline is consistent.

If Parent A spent the whole day saying “sit on your bottom” every time they stand on the chair but when Parent B comes home, they aren’t reprimanded, you’ve lost the battle! 

This also means you have to have the same rules when you are tired. It’s for your own good, I promise. 

Showing weakness is a no-no!

Disciplining Your Toddler: Communicate Headline News

My sister was a jibber jabber growing up. Her teacher told her she needed to give her the “Headline News” instead of the full story.

Think “Headline News” when talking with your toddler about the behavior that needs changing. Short statements with simple vocabulary that you can repeat easily said without emotion behind them.

Acknowledge their feelings that are triggering the behavior:

  • I know you think it’s fun to stand on the chair.
  • I can see that you are mad right now.

Call out the undesired behavior:

  • It is not safe to stand on the chair.
  • It is not okay to pinch me.

Give them a choice to feel in control of the situation:

  • You can sit on the chair on your bottom or you can stand on the floor.
  • You can take a deep breath or you can clap your hands to help with your anger.

Disciplining Your Toddler: Redirection or “Time Out”

Chances are, your headlines won’t mean jack to that spunky little button-pusher about 50% of the time. You’ll need some other options.


Remove them from the location of the temptation. Get them playing with something or reading a book. It could be they are acting out because they’re tired or have become bored with the activity they were doing.

“Time Out”

If the behavior is just over the top and something that needs to be escalated as far as addressing the situation, a “time out” might be in order.

You need a space free of toys or anything else that can become stimulating. They need to be able to sit in the quiet and experience the feeling of being separated as a result of their actions.

Web MD recommends calling it by a positive name like going to your “cozy corner” and limiting the time spent to 1 or 2 minutes.

Disciplining Your Toddler: Give Grace

After you have followed through on your consistent headline news and redirection or “time out”, forgive and try to forget. Do your best to think of the next time as the first time because they have short term memories and like to test boundaries.

Take deep breaths and just repeat the cycle.

If you fail at following the steps, give yourself some grace and start over. You get to have fresh starts too mama!

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