What I see a lot of is "make sure your kid gets enough sleep", "don't run errands during nap times", "make sure your kid is not hungry", etc. Um, duh. I mean we all have made the mistake of pushing our limits and having a toddler on the verge of tantrum mania at Costco. But 95% of the time, nap times are sacred in our house. Ever since JC was a teeny tiny baby, I have always fought for his naps. I really do attribute his "happy-go-lucky" attitude to the fact that he's well rested. And not just "oh he'll fall asleep in the car" naps; like in his room, in his crib, quiet house naps. JC also has a pretty strict schedule when it comes to his meal times. He, himself, is pretty flexible with it though. But I always carry a couple snacks, just in case we are out and it's not quite lunch time. If anything, sometimes a couple Goldfish will help distract him if he's bored or getting fussy. But, these recommendations are meant to help deter temper tantrums and meltdowns. These are not really our issues.
There are a few less than desirable behaviors that JC likes to exhibit that I would like to nix. Our biggest issue as of late has been hitting. It's not really bad but he will hit the cat or dog and pull on their skin or tails. He will even try to hit me or Charles sometimes. I feel stupid but I realized that we were actually encouraging this behavior because Charles will let JC "play hit" him and he will overreact to the hits by making big motions and JC thinks it is SO funny. I realized this after I noticed that he would have a big smile on his face when he's hitting the cat and he will laugh. He thinks it's a game.
So one thing I read in my Toddler 411 book is that they feel that timeouts would be totally appropriate for a toddler his age; in fact, a nine month old will understand and respond to timeouts.
Are you joking? A nine month old? I LOVE my Baby 411 book but Toddler 411 has been a little disappointing. This is one thing that I really do not see working. I think timeouts are good resource but I'm not sure JC is old enough to "get it". On top of that, I don't know where I would put him for his timeout. I don't want him to associate any negative thoughts with his crib or pack-n-play because he sleeps there! If you mess up my kid's sleep, I will fight you. I think if I just put him in his room to punish him, he would just be like "cool, I'll just play with my toys". And none of our other rooms are baby proofed enough that I would let him chill in there unsupervised, even for a minute (which is the time rec given by Toddler 411 for his age). And what if we are out somewhere and we need to put him in a timeout? Where would I put him that I wouldn't be scared of what he'd get into while I had a closed door between us. He's just too little.
So, the only thing that I have found that "works" is just to remove him from the situation. He wants to be around the cat and dog. He really does love them. He just doesn't understand that they don't want to be smacked around by him. So when he starts pulling or hitting, I'll give him one or two more chances to "be nice". I'll show him how to "pet nice" and if he continues to hit or pull I'll pick him up and move him somewhere else. Sometimes he'll whine a little bit, sometimes he'll just move onto something else. But I have noticed an improvement. It does suck because I have to get all up in his grill every time he has an interaction with one of the animals but I hope it will save him a claw to the face or a berating by another parent when he smacks a kid at the library.
What do you think? How do you discipline your young toddler? What has worked for you?
Also, we have a winner for the MyMemories Digital Scrapbook Software Giveaway, Stacy T! I will be contacting you via e-mail so you can get your scrapbook on! Thanks to everyone who participated, keep an eye out in the next couple days for a new giveaway!