It has been scientifically proven that in the first four or five years of life, a child’s brain undergoes the maximum growth and development. Most of an infant’s brain develops the fastest during that time — around 100 billion neurons are formed in a couple of years. This is the time when child is at his or her curious best and they learn quickest.
Saying no to something at this stage could hamper the child’s growth. For hassled and busy working parents, a ‘no’ comes easily to discipline
kids but that might not be an effective method feel specialists.
Avoid saying a ‘no’ to toddlers
Agreed, toddlers need their limits. More often than not, they are blissfully unaware of most dangers in our simple day-to-day life and rely completely on their parents to keep them out of trouble — avoiding sharp edges, not falling off sofas, chairs, beds etc. But saying no constantly could kill their curiosity. Experts say that there are better ways to discipline a child than just saying a ‘no’.
Babies are smart, and seek consistency in interactions
Anna Koerbitz, who routinely deals with toddlers and their parents as a part of a parent-toddler program says, “If you get it right in the beginning, you don’t have to worry about issues like discipline and behaviour in the future. Babies are very intelligent and always seek consistency in their interactions.”
Adopt a positive outlook towards discipline
Educationist and parenting mentor Swati Popat Vats says, “Instead of the word ‘no’, maybe you need to adapt a positive outlook towards discipline. When used too often, children become immune to the word and don’t pay enough attention to a single no. Whether you are trying to keep your child away from trouble or simply showing them the right way, maybe it is time you used a more effective method than simply saying ‘no’.” Parenting expert Sue Atkins, who always speaks about the importance of motivating children in the right way, suggests the following options.
How to motivate children the right way
Is reasoning with toddlers good enough?
Several parents feel it is important to explain their reasoning to toddlers. More often than not, this reasoning simply bounces off or escapes their attention span.
Rephrase with alternative action words
You can’t rely on a toddler to look after themselves even when they are under your watchful eyes. You still need to tell them how to behave and what misbehaviour is. Instead of saying ‘no’, tell them what they can do instead. For instance, your child may want to play with your phone at all times, but it is not a toy. What you can do is give them another engaging toy the next time they pick up your phone instead of saying no and snatching it of their hands. Toddlers respond better to positive instructions instead of negative ones.
Keep simple rules and offer simple reasons
Toddlers can’t follow complicated reasons. Hence, if your toddler is throwing his toys all over the place, remind them of the ‘rule’ — where do we keep our toys? And show them with an example.
Don’t give them vague answers
Most toddlers can be stubborn when it comes to what they want. So, a parent needs to calmly and firmly tell them otherwise. Avoid saying something along the lines of ‘maybe tomorrow’, because that is vague, and some toddlers do not understand the concept of time completely. Also, they’re interested in ‘certainty’, not ‘probability’.
Toddlers are born smart and interested in everything and nothing at once. Develop a warning signal for them, which can be as simple as ‘is that good?’ This should be a sign for your toddler — who then understands that they are not going to be allowed to continue doing mischief. This allows you to take your toddler away from temptation. You can then get them involved with something else and sometimes that is all that’s needed.