I can’t even believe I am far enough along in my motherhood journey to be writing the words in that title. I seriously feel like just yesterday she was a squishy newborn who only ate, pooped, and slept. But alas, at 12 months of age Nora seemed to transform into a toddler, and with it came fits. It’s crazy to me that no one ever taught her to cry if something was taken away, or to say “no” when she didn’t like a rule. She is simply a little human who is learning to express herself!
I truly thought I had more time before I had to begin with real discipline. I thought that all began around age two, but here I am writing a blog post on the things we already do to teach Nora right from wrong. Discipline is so incredibly important for a child. The Bible says to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not part from it.” Proverbs 22:6. I know that when I am scolding Nora, or even causing her to cry, that I am doing it because it’s what is best for her. I am training her up to learn what is right, and ultimately to keep her safe and happy.
Now, I know I am very new to this motherhood thing, and I am not siting here claiming to be a toddler discipline guru. But, I have worked with kids a lot, I’ve learned from other moms, and trial-and-errored the crud out of things with Miss Nora Kate. So, the following are things that work for us at this stage in Nora’s life.
No-No | Yes, just your basic “no-no” is important, and the main form of discipline at this age. I think it’s all in the tone of your voice when you say it. I want Nora to know the difference in tone. She needs to be able to sense when we are serious, and become attune to our voice. She is a toddler, so she tests us. Sometimes it takes multiple times of us saying “no” for her to stop. If she does not stop on her own, we remove her from the situation. This usually elicits a fit. (See next bullet.)
Ignore | When a fit ensues, we gotta pull out our best poker face and ignore it. If she is throwing a fit for any reason other than being hungry, tired, hurt, and so on, then the fit is ignored. I walk to the other room if need be, but I do not hold her or give her positive attention for a fit. I do not want her to learn that throwing a fit is okay. She’s gonna do it, she’s one. But I will not reward it! Once she stops then I will go back, and either fix the situation or act like it never happened and move on. Most times, after I ignore her for a few minutes, she gets over it on her own.
“Time Out” | This is in quotes because it is not the traditional use of time out. Nora is not quite old enough for that yet. However, I do still use the basic concept of time out. In the evenings Nora has about an hour where she is clingy and needy. It’s usually the hour between waking up from her afternoon nap and dinner. This also happens to be the exact time in which I am cleaning the house up before Collin comes home and starting dinner. So, having a clingy toddler is not ideal. Nora hangs on my leg, and wants to be held the whole time I am trying to cook. She whines and cries when I do not oblige. Not only is this inconvenient, but it really is dangerous as I am often using the stove and oven. So, when this happens I give her a “time out.” I take her, and put her in her crib with a few books and leave the room. Her door stays open so I can hear her, and I peek in from time to time. When she is in her crib I know she is safe, she can read her books, and is contained. When I get to a stopping place with dinner I go and get her. Sometimes she cries in her crib, but mostly she pops a paci in (she is only allowed to have it when she is in her crib), and looks at her books quietly.
I know the more serious discipline is on the horizon, and I am fine with those days coming slowly. No matter what age Nora is I will always love and care for her enough to teach her right from wrong and lovingly disciple her.