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All about Parenting Toddlers, Issue #025 - Effective Discipline for Toddlers
May 06, 2004
Shaping the life of your precious onesAll about Parenting Toddlers
5th May 2004
Welcome to another issue of All about Parenting Toddlers .
In This Issue:
1. Effective Discipline for Toddlers
At some defining moment, your baby becomes a toddler. It may take you completely by surprise, but you'll know when it happens. The two of you will be casually shopping or strolling across the parking lot hand in hand when suddenly she will demand her freedom with a stomp, a scream or a defiant "NO!" How should parents cope with taxing toddlers during this phase of childhood? Create a plan and be prepared.
"The toddler years are years when children begin individuating from their parents," says Dr. Margaret Koraneck, a psychologist for Lebonheur (Hospital) Center for Children and Parents in Memphis, Tennessee.
"When they begin this process, they need two things. First, a lot of nurturing. Secondly, encouragement toward independence." Dr. Koraneck suggests these two goals be accomplished in children by giving them many choices during this phase, but making sure the choices are safe. For instance, she says, don't let them choose whether or not they will hold your hand, but do let them choose which hand they will hold.
Anita Urban of Moscow, Tenn. sees the reach for independence almost daily in her 22-month-old son, Peter. For Peter, the most effective means of discipline has proven to be immediate, consistent reproof.
"Oftentimes he will try to get into things that are not safe, such as under the bathroom or kitchen sink and ... the Christmas tree," she says. "There are days when we have battle after battle, and I am sure he is not getting it. But I have found if I firmly tell him, 'No' accompanied by a swat on the hand, if necessary, he does get the message."
Urban says she realized his ability to understand recently when Peter walked up to the fireplace and, pointing a chubby finger, said, "No! No! No!"
When parents make limits a priority, they are not only teaching internal discipline but also safety, nurturing and values which will carry the child through his adult life. "Remember, you're the parent. Toddlers can be extremely bossy, therefore it is important for the parents to set good limits," says Dr. Koraneck.
Robert Miller, a father of seven from Cordova, Tenn., agrees. "I've found it is during this phase when leadership is established," he says. "If you don't get the message across during this crucial time that you're in charge, you can count on being the one the other parents talk about in the grocery store or restaurant."
Dr. Koraneck also encourages parents to ignore the inevitable tantrums toddlers often throw. "It is okay, even healthy, for a toddler to want her freedom," she says. "But it is up to parents to ensure their message still gets across." Especially in instances such as sitting in their car seats or holding hands in the parking lot, she adds. Parents should compel children to do what they want them to do, despite the tantrums.
Linda Avery, a mother of seven from Arlington, Tenn., has found an effective way of coping with 2-year-old Savannah's daily tantrums at home. Avery says she has designated a chair in her home as "the crying place."
"I tell her, 'Go to the crying place and find your happy face.' When she returns, she says with a smile, 'Happy face, Mommy.'" Through consistent visits to the crying place, she says, Savannah learns that her tantrums are not acceptable behavior. An added plus? A designated crying place removes tantrums from right underfoot, something most parents would agree is one of the most exasperating traits of the toddler years.
How do you know when to begin disciplining your toddler? Laura Hatcher, a mother of five from Brighton, Tenn., says the earlier the better. As soon as Jack, 13 months, became mobile and began getting into things, she began setting limits. "I tell him, 'No,' the first time and every time, and I don't give in until he understands," she says, adding that consistency is key. Hatcher confirms that she sees a big difference in the effect of consistent discipline as compared to when her older children were Jack's age.
"But it wasn't because they were particularly more difficult," she is quick to add. "It was only because I allowed them to get away with more when they were toddlers."
Not only is consistent discipline important, adds Miller, but a consistent routine. "We do bed time the same way every night," he says. "This enables my toddlers to behave themselves more easily than when they don't understand what is expected of them." Miller adds that he believes a snack helps his toddlers sleep better, and a bed time story gives them some important quiet time with Dad, to say nothing of a much needed break for Mom.
Although these years can prove to be exasperating, having boundaries, consistency and a plan is sure to smooth the transition of toddlerhood during this precious but exhausting season of your child's life.
Wish you could work from *home* and spend more time with your toddler/young children? Here are
some of the things you could do right from the comfort of your home …..
For toddlers, basic movement skills such as running, jumping, throwing and kicking do not just appear because a child grows older, but emerge from an interaction between hereditary potential and movement experience. These behaviors are also clearly influenced by the environment. For instance, a child who does not have access to stairs may be delayed in stair climbing and a child who is discouraged from bouncing and chasing balls may lag in hand-eye coordination.
Guideline 1. Toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity; preschoolers at least 60 minutes.
Guideline 2. Toddlers and preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours per day of daily, unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.
Guideline 3. Toddlers should develop movement skills that are building blocks for more complex movement tasks; preschoolers should develop competence in movement skills that are building blocks for more complex movement tasks.
Guideline 4. Toddlers and preschoolers should have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for performing large muscle activities.
Guideline 5. Individuals responsible for the well-being of toddlers and preschoolers should be aware of the importance of physical activity and facilitate the child's movement skills.
During the preschool years, children should be encouraged to practice movement skills in a variety of activities and settings. Instruction and positive reinforcement is critical during this time in order to ensure that children develop most of these skills before entering school.
"Obesity is a major health problem in children and adolescents. Over the past 20 years, obesity has tripled among adolescents and doubled among children in this country," said Nazrat Mirza, M.D., a general pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. "The rapid rise of obesity is due to decreased physical activity and increased sedentary activities such as watching television and computer and video games."
"Prevention and treatment of obesity entails changes in lifestyle that promote physical activity and minimize sedentary behavior," said Dr. Mirza. "Although there is no data to show strong correlation between obesity in early childhood and adult obesity, promoting positive behaviors early on in childhood may lead to persistence of these behaviors into adulthood - helping alleviate the problem of obesity."
According to NASPE Executive Director Judy Young, Ph.D., "Because children are not small adults, these activity recommendations are based on the developmental characteristics of children. For instance, children develop skills through involvement in physical activity and parent involvement plays a significant role in children developing motor competence and enjoying physical activity. Only through devoting time to these skills will they become a regular part of a healthy lifestyle. Children and youth who do not participate in adequate physical activity are much more likely to be sedentary as adults than children and youth who are active."
If you are looking for bargains on children’s books, check out the clearance sale at Bookcloseouts. They are having an additional 50% off every single kids' book on their Web site. The offer ends May 31, 2004.
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