As a parent myself, I know there are many challenges in raising children. Whether you’re looking for ways to motivate your kids or teach them responsibility, these seven positive parenting tips for toddlers and young children will help you stay on track and raise the next generation of great leaders!
What is Positive Parenting?
If this is your first introduction into positive parenting, you may be wondering exactly what this phrase means. Sure, you’ve heard it before, but what exactly is positive parenting?
Positive Parenting is a discipline model designed to focus on positive behavior and communicate with our children. The idea is that there are not bad children, but instead bad behaviors. Positive Parenting encourages parent-child relationships and helps to ward off future misbehaviors by meeting our children’s emotional needs first!
To sum it up, it’s about creating a strong relationship with your child to open up communication, address children’s emotional needs, and discipline inappropriate behaviors in a positive manner.
Now let’s take a look at 7 positive parenting tips to help you connect with your child and learn how to discipline instead of punish!
Positive Parenting Tips for Toddlers & Young Children to Help You Connect with Your Child
1. Set boundaries.
Creating boundaries in your relationship with your kids is a necessary part of positive parenting! Boundaries are not necessarily a bad thing, but instead a way to avoid frustration by setting expectations. Present rules and boundaries in a positive way, and try to avoid being harsh. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset, or angry, that may signify a new boundary needs to be set. It’s important to provide boundaries and expectations in a clear way that your kids will be able to fully understand.
Life gets frustrating – for kids and parents – when clear boundaries and expectations are not conveyed in a way everyone understands. You can use a whiteboard to draw pictures and demonstrate expectations or create chore charts for toddlers and younger kids. This gives them a fun way to participate in the household duties each day without stressing out too much. Using a charting tool to communicate can help ensure everyone is always on the same page!
Related Post: Learning to Say No and Why It’s Okay
2. Avoid shaming.
Another thing to remember when focusing on positive parenting is to avoid shaming. There are other ways to let your child know that their behavior is inappropriate without shaming them. Instead of saying, “You’re 6 years old, quit acting like a baby!” you can tell them how and why their behavior is immature or inappropriate.
The problem with shaming your kid is that it doesn’t ever help them understand why their behavior is unacceptable. Shaming your kid can cause future insecurities or can even cause their negative behavior to increase. It’s important to be clear and educate your child – no matter their age – instead of shaming them for something they may not understand. You may have to repeatedly tell them why something isn’t appropriate, so try to be patient, but shaming is never the answer.
3. Get to the root of the behavior.
There’s always a reason that a child misbehaves, and focusing on the reason behind the behavior can help stop it. It’s important to ask questions and talk to them one on one while listening to what they’re saying. Listening to them may be the best way to understand their behavior! Encourage them to be open with their thoughts and emotions, and realize it may take some time to completely understand.
Instead of focusing on the bad behavior in the moment, try to connect with them to find the root of the problem. There’s usually a lot more to the negative behavior than the behavior itself. You may need to dig deeper to find the root cause. However, don’t be too pushy. Your child will talk when they are ready. If they’re shy about opening up to you, get them a journal so you can write notes back and forth. It’s much easier for most kids to write what they’re thinking and feeling than to say it out loud – especially to parents. Even more so, if parents are part of their problems.
4. Reward instead of punishing.
Offering a reward system may help your child have a reason to behave well. The most important part of using a reward system is staying away from rewards like toys or objects because these can seem more like bribes.
Use extra quality time or positive reinforcement as a reward for good behavior. For example, if your child has positive behavior for a few days, you can suggest playing a board game or baking something with them. Sometimes you’ll need to do this more often. Each child is different and their needs (as well as your time and energy availability) should be considered.
Punishing a child is not as effective as using rewards or praise. Focusing on rewards instead of punishments will help your child’s behavior in the long run. It’s always important to reward positive behavior rather than punishing negative behavior. It isn’t wrong to praise kids for staying on track, even if that’s what is required, they just need to know what they’re doing is good and you are proud of them!
5. Lead by example.
A significant aspect of positive parenting is to model what you expect. It’s vital to parent by example. Children tend to copy their parents. Teaching them manners and respectful behavior is essential, of course, but it can be pointless in the end if you don’t show them how to use their manners and how to behave respectfully.
Children learn by mimicking others. If you’re respectful towards them, they will be respectful towards others. It’s not as helpful to just teach, they need to be shown what respectful behavior is daily.
Another way to lead by example is to apologize to your children when you’re wrong. This is a big one most of us miss out on, but it’s an awesome learning opportunity for our kids to see us apologize when we make mistakes.
6. Follow through.
Following through is another cornerstone of positive parenting. Threatening consequences over and over again without following through on them will show your child that what they do isn’t bad and that they will not get in trouble for it, even if you get upset over it.
This doesn’t mean you should punish your child for everything they do; it means you shouldn’t set up a consequence if you’re not going to follow through on it. Showing your child that they can’t always get out of consequences for negative behavior is vital.
This isn’t only said for consequences, it also goes for actions and rewards. For example, if you tell your child that if they get good grades, they will get ice cream, and you don’t follow through on your side of the reward. That will show them that their grades are not meaningful to you and that you’re not as proud of them. Don’t make promises that you cannot keep because it can cause your child to not trust you.
Related Post: 7 Days of Practical Self Care for Moms
7. No more yelling!
One of my favorite positive parenting tips for toddlers and young children is to stop yelling. As a loud and passionate person, I know this one can be a challenge for me. One of the most essential parts of positive parenting is to stop the yelling. There is never a need to yell at your child unless they are running out into traffic or trying to touch a hot stove, aka dangerous situations. In pretty much all other situations, there are other ways to get through to them instead of raising your voice. You don’t like to get yelled at, so your child likely doesn’t either.
Take a look at this book Stop Yelling and Love Me More, Please!
Many parents tend to get upset and yell too often. Yelling only escalates the situation. Yelling at your child will teach them that it’s okay to yell back. When a parent raises their voice or says mean things when they’re upset, it teaches them to do the same when they’re upset. Yelling conveys anger while a stern tone communicates authority.
Even if you are a big yeller, you can learn how to stop yelling when you get frustrated with your kids.
Positive Parenting Tips for Toddlers Toolbox
If you’re interested in learning more about positive parenting for toddlers and young children, take a look at this Parenting Toolbox! There are 125 activities that therapists use to manage emotions and create positive behaviors in kids! The best part is that you can get it for less than $20!
Here are a few additional resources to help build your toolbox and start your positive parenting journey:
- Parenting Preschoolers
- The Whole Brain Child Workbook
- Toddler Parenting Book Set
- How to Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children
What positive parenting tips for toddlers do you need to work on the most?
No matter what it is, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re not alone! Learning to not raise my voice as a passionate person with a strong personality is taking time. Parenting is tough and doesn’t come with a handbook. Keep working on building positive relationships with your kids and the rest will come in time!