10 Innovative Ways To Discipline Your Toddler Without Spanking Them


As a toddler parent, you look away briefly, and when you turn to your toddler, they are either soaked in your gallon of groundnut oil or letting off an innocent giggle while pushing forward their palms to show you the broken pieces of your phone. 


The toddler stage is a fascinating moment yet an exasperating time that keeps you on your toes all the time. At this stage, your toddler begins to develop a strong sense of self-will while experiencing diversified emotions like anger, defiance, possessiveness and excitement. 


It is often an issue of concern as to the proper and most effective way to exert discipline on a toddler. This issue requires tact because as much as you want to exert authority, there is a form of discipline you might adopt that will cause or become a source of worry in the long run. This article will be a guide to 10 innovative ways to discipline your toddler without necessarily spanking them. 



Does spanking correct toddlers?


It is always frustrating when a toddler misbehaves, especially when they engage in things that put them in harm’s way. When this happens, the instinct is to reach out and spank them.  But then, there are better, more effective ways to handle situations.


Spanking has not proven effective in disciplining a toddler. It only yields temporary solutions to a string of problems. It may often lead to specific behavioural challenges over time. Such a child tends to develop thick skin over time or become unnecessarily afraid, confused, and resentful.


Spanking makes your toddler more concerned about not getting hit than realising the wrong actions. It gives compliance out of fear rather than from an admittance to wrongdoing.



10 ways to discipline your toddler without spanking them


Spanking is not the solution. There are other corrective measures to imbibe discipline in your toddler, and below are some alternative suggestions:


  • Take cognizance of positive behaviors: This entails recognizing your toddler’s reasonable efforts and rewarding them. It can be through praise, broad smiles, hugs, or urging them to clap for themselves after a well-done job. Also, apply words of admiration, “Mummy’s good girl/boy,” “Well done, my sweet child.”


  • Set clear boundaries: If your toddler has grown past the age of one into the comprehension stage, allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions, show them repercussions and be strict about it. When they fling their toys in anger and stop singing or performing actions that fascinate them, help them realize their actions by not quickly replacing them. They will know better than to not destroy it when the next one comes.


  • Be consistent: Learn not to let emotions get in your way of discipline, let them know of a punishment that follows recalcitrance, and be consistent with it even when they try to act cleverly afterward. Maintain the rules.


  • Logical consequences: Just as you reward good behaviour, make your toddler experience the consequences of being badly behaved. When they insist on doing things their way, allow them if it does not harm them. Let them struggle with inserting a straw inside that pack of juice. Next time, your toddler will naturally come running to you for help.


  • Ignore and deprive them of attention: Sometimes, they know when they have committed an action deserving of punishment, so when they throw tantrums after they have done something wrong or you strictly deny them a thing, the best thing to do is ignore them. Allow them a swell time wailing and making theatrical performances. Look away while still paying attention to ensure they do not injure themselves or destroy things. You can keep them situated at a place with a stern countenance while denying them the attention. If your toddler is hyperactive, this method will certainly help. No one wants their movement restricted. 


  • Walk away: This is tantamount to ignoring. When your toddler upsets you to the nerve-breaking limit, it is advised that you step away briefly from the scene. It’s okay to want to let out pent-up emotions in solitude. When you are calmer, you can discipline your toddler in a way that won’t be harmful. Also, understand that it is not the child’s intention to hurt. Instead, that’s the only way they can express their anger. 


  • Speak to them calmly: Sometimes, it is as if they do not understand, but they hear and, most of the time, comprehend. This is why you often catch them repeating a word they must have heard you say or exhibiting actions they watched you display. Try to validate their feelings, too. When they are frustrated that their shoes won’t come off, understand their discomfort at that time and in cases where you wouldn’t want to help them take the shoes off, speak to them in coercing tones. 


  • The use of firm verbal directives: As much as being coercive and speaking softly may work, there are times when you would be required to be firm with words. The words must not necessarily come out harsh or loud but attach a firmness to them. Make them realize you have authority over them, and they would only have to do what you want.
  • Offer choices:  Children want a feeling of independence. Choices give some certain control back to the child while still playing on the parents’ terms. Provide soft options like “Would you wear these shoes or would you rather I take it away, and you walk barefooted?” or sometimes allow them to make a pick of what they want, and if it isn’t suitable, try to strike a negotiation with them or to make them understand why their choices do not go well at that particular time.


  • Be the right lesson they learn: It is easier for your toddler to pick up behaviors from their immediate environment. Under their watch, they react in ways worthy of emulation. Instead of exerting corporal punishment, teach them the right way to do a thing and guide them to wipe dirt off their hands. Grimace and shake your head in disapproval when something isn’t done rightly or over a thing that shouldn’t be touched. Use positive words even while scolding them. 



The debate on whether or not parents should spank their toddlers has been ongoing for years. While many parents believe that spanking is an effective tool of discipline, others see it as harmful to a child's development. Spanking isn’t necessarily correct. It may only lead to moral internalization, where a child tends to revert to negative behavior when the parents are out of sight. 



Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)


What do I do when my toddler is being stubborn?

First, being calm and not getting frustrated is important, as that might worsen matters. Apply patience while having an open and honest conversation with them. Speaking to them softly while appealing to their conscience can be more effective than shouting or verbal abuse. 


Which punishment is best for a toddler?

Providing a loss of privilege to what they find joy in for a specific period while making them understand why you are doing so. Serving them a time-out can also be adequate.


Can I slap my toddler?

No, it is wrong to hit a child. You might inflict injury on your child. 

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