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Discipline for 2.5 year old
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#1 PureBliss

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:48 PM

My strong willed 2.5 year old DD is absolutely running rings around DH and I.

We need practical discipline strategies as what we have tried so far is not working.

We always give a warning of what the consequence will be (often several warnings) before we punish,  but our consequences just aren't hitting the mark. Clearly they are not severe enough to deter the behaviour! I need something immediate, as she is too young to get the whole concept of "no ice cream when we are out" or "no play date tomorrow".

Examples we have tried:
"You will be sent to your room" - once sent, she won't stay in there (can reach the door handle), so runs out repeatedly, unless I stand there to lock her in.

Confiscate an item - doesn't work for long, she then becomes defiant and finds something else to throw in retaliation.

I am now taking the approach of confiscating a toy she loves/or whatever item she is misusing and putting it on the top kitchen shelf (she can see it, but not reach it). She is told it will stay there for the rest of the day. Today we have 3 barbies, a barbie car, half her dolls house furniture and the ipad on the top shelf! The ipad hurts the most, as she loves to have that at bedtime. Of course, now bed time is tedious because she doesn't have the ipad, but I am prepared to roll with that (been trying to wean her off it anyway.)

Whilst this is working to a point, I am mindful that it will lose its effectiveness and I will soon have a kitchen shelf full of toys! Any other suggestions?

I also need help with "rewards for smooth bedtime". Most nights it is taking us 90mins to get her to bed, and we are over it.

I should add, she is not a terribly naughty child. She is an angel at childcare, other peoples houses, in public etc. She just seems to be turning it on for Mummy and Daddy!

Thanks in advance

#2 TopsyTurvy

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:53 PM

Naughty spot Super Nanny style?

If she moves from it, then the time starts over again.

We have the problem in that DS seems happy to go to the naughty spot and sits there and sings and daydreams Tounge1.gif

#3 adl

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

I shall be watching to see what answers you get..

Same thing here but I remove iPad and iPhone more now as I have noticed behaviour worsens after prolonged screen time...

We remove things, say no and naughty, he gets that and occasionally screams back, we ignore and try reward the good behaviour but its so hard....


I do occasionally place him in his cot and room to calm down.... But think its still too early for time out..


I had to shut his door last night to get him to go to bed, he was exhausted and over tired, losing it , within 2 minutes he was sound asleep...and of course I re opened the door...



Really it's trying to be constant and very repetitive at this age...

#4 adl

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

I find Toddler Taming by Dr Green to be quite useful.... My fav is pick your battles, and remember you are the adult, don't engage ! Lol,

#5 MaeGlyn

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

I have the 3 year old. When he ran away from me a long way away yesterday at the park, I used a naughty spot. Convienient, it was just on the ground.

I explain why he is on the naughty spot.

Any younger than 2.4, I used redirection.

#6 librablonde

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

QUOTE (TopsyTurvy @ 16/01/2013, 07:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Naughty spot Super Nanny style?
If she moves from it, then the time starts over again.

Same here. I had to put DS back on our "Thinking Spot" about 100 times one day until he finally stopped either running away or laughing and shrieking as if it were a game. He saw me restart the kitchen timer each and every time. Sitting there screaming and carrying on doesn't count as time served, he needs to be silent so he can "think". Once he learnt I was serious he started really listening to me and do anything to avoid being put on the Thinking Spot. I had to ensure the Spot was free of anything to play with, we made it a clear area in the laundry.

ETA: I started using the Thinking Spot from about 18-20 months or so and DS understood what it was and why he was there.

Edited by librablonde, 16 January 2013 - 07:03 PM.


#7 I'msoMerry

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

My DD is nearly 2 1/2. We use time out. It is very successful. She gets one warning and then if she repeats the behavior she is in time out. I started it in a small scale when she was about 20 months though. You must sit them somewhere safe and where they cant reach toys. It has to be boring!

I always ask her why mummy is upset with her. If she cant quite articulate it I use simple words to explain. Then leave her 2 minutes. You would have to start off with really short time until she got used to it. When I tell her to get up I remind her what got her in time out. Usually she says sorry mummy.

She doesnt go in near as often now because the threat happens at first warning. I do know this didnt work with one of my DSs though as he didnt care about anything. Some kids are just hard to work out.

I think it is very important for them to understand what they have done wrong. It is very normal for kids this age to do the same things over and over even when you are sure they know it is wrong.
Try to keep a calm voice and have a cuddle after to show her no hard feelings.


#8 L&E

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

Yup, naughty spot/time out/whatever you call it. 1 warning before going in. In the spot for 1 min per year of age. Time restarts if they leave. Completely ignore any conversation/noise while in there. Set a timer so it beeps when the time is up, kneel at their eye level to talk, a quick "you are in time out because you ..... Next time when I ask you to .... you need to ...  Can you say sorry to mummy? Thank you, I love you (cuddle and go and play).

I find it stops me from making stupid consequences because I'm mad (right! That's it you can never have dessert ever!/all your toys are gone/no park for a whole week) which I'm probably never going to follow through on anyway.

#9 LifesGood

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:27 PM

QUOTE (PureBliss @ 16/01/2013, 07:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"You will be sent to your room" - once sent, she won't stay in there (can reach the door handle), so runs out repeatedly, unless I stand there to lock her in.

I used to stand there and hold the door closed for my DD if she needed time out.
QUOTE
The ipad hurts the most, as she loves to have that at bedtime. Of course, now bed time is tedious because she doesn't have the ipad, but I am prepared to roll with that (been trying to wean her off it anyway.)

I don't think electronic devices are suitable for 2y/o's except as a very brief diversion occasionally. They are an especially bad idea at bed time as the light, noise and activity stimulates their brain at exactly the wrong time.
QUOTE
I also need help with "rewards for smooth bedtime". Most nights it is taking us 90mins to get her to bed, and we are over it.

Your DD shouldn't need rewards for co-operating at bedtime, you really just need to be more firm with her and not allow her to overrule you.

As your opening sentence says your DD is setting the rules whereas you and your DH should be in charge. A change in your mindset will help. I haven't got any specific advice for you, you really just have to take control and be firm and consistent.

#10 RachealJane

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

My DD will be 3 in April so she is a bit over 2.5 now and the tantrum phase has severely kicked in in the last month to the point i have been too scared some days to even venture out the front door. Its a struggle to get her in the car for instance, or she will chuck a major tanty if she doesnt get a lolly pop at woolies. Normal 2 yo stuff but with so much screaming and crying its beyond embarrassing.

But you know what i cant punish her for these things. I just cant do it. No way am i going to barricade her into her room, that would scare the living crap out of her.

I dont know if im being delusional or even just lucky that because we talk about what happened at the end of each day we can work out what she was feeling in each instance and come to a compromise.

For the car issue she told me she just wants an opportunity to get one last toy to play with and she'll happily be buckled in. For the lolly pop issue she has told me that she needs some snacks when we go shopping because it so boring.

She can talk and express herself really well though so it may not work for all 2.5 yo's to be spoken with like this. I want to teach her to continue to be able to express herself and not quash her exuberance for the sake of compliance.

#11 Roobear

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

We have just started time-outs for DD almost 2. We do 1 warning and then if she does it again she goes in time out for a minute. Comes out and says sorry. I was initially hesitant to use it because I thought she was too young but it seems that she understands the concept very well and we have seen a difference in her behaviour in a week.

Edited by Roobear, 16 January 2013 - 09:05 PM.


#12 Suz01

Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

Oh this is so relevant to us as well. We are using her bed as timeout and she goes there fine, I need guidance on picking my battles though as my 2 yo would be on there the bulk of the day!

One major area is no matter where creams get stored she locates and destroys! From nappy bags to bed side table to even climbing up door knobs to get to high shelves!

Any others recommend a good book or DVD to teach me to teach her?

#13 Jenferal

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

I don't like the idea of using a bed or cot as a discipline area, bed should be a place they WANT to go at bedtime, to sleep and dream and relax.

Luckily so far we've had success with just counting to 3.
Mostly to get her to do what we want, such as going to her bedroom to get ready for bed, not running away, that sort of thing.
We say "if you don't go to your room to get your PJ's on by the time I count to 3, you won't get your books at bedtime....1..." and it works by 2, though ONCE she missed books at bedtime.

My sister used to sit her toddler on the washing machine when she was naughty. it worked a treat, was dead boring for her, nothing to touch or play with. And it wasn't very high up.


#14 Jenferal

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

Suz01, does your DD get to play with finger paints and messy stuff much?
Maybe if you gave her stuff she COULD get into and go nuts with, maybe she wouldn't get into the nappy cream.

Or maybe that would just encourage her more...

Just an idea.


#15 Suz01

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:27 PM

Jenflea we have! And recently playdough but its just helped her fine motor skills to get lids off! Its gotten worse since DS arrived as nappy creams make their way onto dolls bums too!

aybe I should give her empty tubs/ tubes to pretend with? Sunscreen is the worst. And hard to get out of clothes.

I only use the bed as a couple of times I've gotten caught up feeding DS and she's fallen asleep! Bad parent award...

#16 Jess1308

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

I think the pick your battles advice is good. The other thing to remember is children up to the age of three have no real impulse control, once over three it is limited. Pinky Mackay doesn't recommend time out until a child is over three years old. My son is about the same age, we use redirection usually prefaced by a count to three. Otherwise I try to pre empt the behaviour as much as possible and try to steer him around possible tanties wink.gif

#17 PureBliss

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:29 PM

Thanks for your replies, maybe I try to start the time out.

I tried the naughty spot a few months ago - she was too young, didn't understand the concept of sitting in the one spot. Hence we did time out in her bedroom, which worked really well. She would lie on her bed, have some quiet time, apologise/cuddle and we would be on our way. Now however, she has worked out she can open the door! arrgh, these smart kids!

Some great ideas here, I will keep persisting. Definately agree with picking your battles. My DD has always been strong willed, and whilst that is not an excuse for poor behaviour, it does mean that entire days can be ruined with battles over the littlest /non sequential things. She needs to see that she has some control/input or she fights for it. As an example, we have worked out she has to be allowed to climb up into the car and carseat herself. If I try to put her directly in, she fights me. If I let her do it independently, 9 times out of 10 she does it without a fuss. Yes, it takes a little longer, but its better than a tantrum over something that I don't really feel is that important. She likes to feel independent.

I WISH the counting to 3 would work - it never has! Usually she counts along with me and then keeps going to ten or twenty.

Thanks again, nice to see we are not the only ones in the same boat!

#18 BeYOUtiful

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:34 PM

To help sleep at night I would ditch the iPod/pad.
I don't do a naughty corner but I remove the toy or book etc he has. Ignore any cheekiness/tantrums until he calms down. Sometimes I walk away to another room. He then gives me a cuddle and says sorry.


I also use the 1,2,3 it has to be my firm voice or he laughs.

I don't send him to his room as I had a lot of trouble with him sleep wise.  He is now back in his room in new bed and doing really well.  If I shut a door on him he would be hysterical. That's not my aim to scare him in to behaving.

Good luck OP, I hear 3 is worse! God help us lol

#19 Lainskii

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:48 PM

QUOTE (~Jane05~ @ 16/01/2013, 09:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If I shut a door on him he would be hysterical. That's not my aim to scare him in to behaving.

Good luck OP, I hear 3 is worse! God help us lol


I assume it depends on how you start. We've always shut the door to DDs bedroom because of the cats. I don't think she'd go to sleep if we left it open now.
We also either confiscate what is causing the tantrum or she loses / doesn't get to do something she likes/wants. She knows we follow through after going to bed with no bath, book or milk once.
I would like to know how to get her to deal with frustration though. She was hitting for a week & I know it is because she would get really frustrated. Now she won't hit (took a while to get her to stop) but I can see her still having trouble dealing with frustration and sometimes she goes to hit but stops herself.

#20 Jenferal

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:49 PM

Don't tell me three is worse! My daughter will be 3 in April and she;'s been pretty good up till now...but she HAS started stamping her foot and saying no more often. Sigh.



#21 BeYOUtiful

Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

Sorry I meant putting them in a room, closing the door after/during a tantrum.

I close his bedroom door over when he goes to bed  original.gif

#22 overthehill

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:17 PM

My DS is 3 in March. I've recently seen a psychologist regarding his behaviour and anger and how to deal with it.  
She suggested the time out in a boring spot and also counting to 3, which he finds hilarious and thinks its a great game.  However the time out has better results.  If we are out and he runs away I put him in his pram as punishment.
Also give them warning when changing activities or leaving somewhere and only use positive phrases e.g instead of dont run, say just walk or instead of dont throw, say gentle, we only throw balls. Keep directions short and at eye level and remind them of the rules before, during and after the activity.
She also said getting them to say sorry is fairly pointless at this stage, they don't understand the concept.
It's a lot to take in but I think we are making small steps!
I'm also dreading the 3's!

Edited by overthehill, 16 January 2013 - 09:18 PM.


#23 kpingitquiet

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

We have a headstrong little one, too. Things we do, all after a calm correction, and a "last chance" warning, sounds pretty similar to others:

Time out: an ottoman in her room. She sits on it and we sit there next to it, silently, until she stops screaming/shrieking/whining or whatever it may be. After she's calm (sometimes we say we can't understand her when she's screaming/crying) we ask her if she's ready to say sorry. Sometimes she says no and gets a further minute to calm down. If she says yes, which is usual, then it's sorry for <insert infraction> and a hug and I-love-yous all around.

Instant removal: She screamed/disobeyed in the kiddie pool this afternoon so she was removed from the fun and had to go inside. Or, if she won't stay still and quiet when we have wind-down movie time, she loses the movie and goes straight to naptime. Playing with her fork instead of eating? Lose the fork. If any of these result in screaming tantrums, then it's Time Out.

Oh, and as a general rule, she considers "trouble" with mama scarier than trouble with dada. I really don't know why. I'm not that scary.

Bedtime, man, I dunno. Her dad has been her bedtime parent since pretty much day 1. For some reason, she has taken to completely wigging out with him at bedtime, taking and hour+ to settle after storytime, etc. But if I go in and settle her when she's shrieking after he's left the room (every night this week) it's whispered love-yous, ni-ni, byebye, etc and not a peep after in about five minutes flat.

Things she usually has at bedtime: her favorite blankie, several animals and dolls in bed, one particular animal tucked in at her feet, water, and a book lol. There's a nightlight that has a shutoff timer, and Rockabye Baby! music also on auto-shutoff. She can sleep without any of it but enjoys all of it. We have closed her door for sleep since she moved to her own room at 8mo. If we don't, the dogs go in and wake her. But I do think she'd have an absolute freakout if we shut the door with her in Time Out.

We tried a other tactics before employing Time Out. Does it mean she's stopped acting up? No. She's 2. But Time Out seems to work best at giving her a chance to calm down and realize what she did.

#24 wannabe30

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

It's a tough age, isn't it?

OP, if you've noticed she likes to be "in control," one thing that works for my DS (aged 2 and 3 months) is always giving him a choice, eg:

Do you want to walk to the car or will Mummy carry you?
Do you want to sit down on the stool, or stand up and look in the mirror while we clean your teeth?
Do you want to wear the red hat or the blue hat?

Obviously, both options are ones that I'm happy with!  

They are always choices, not threats.  I mean, it's not "walk to the car or else Mummy will carry you" - it's simply his choice which he does.  

Sometimes he asks for another thing which wasn't one of my choices.  If I don't care, I agree with him that Option C is a good choice and we do that.  Otherwise I just say "that's not an option right now, do you want A or B?".  If he won't choose I say "okay, Mummy will choose" and he usually hurries up.

Might be worth a try as a way to avoid a tantrum before it happens.  No help dealing with one that's already started, though, sorry.

#25 tiggy2

Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

Agree with others about picking your battles and giving choices.

Re bedtime I would not have iPad, iPhone, tv etc within a few hours of bedtime, they are a stimulant. Try books, puzzles, games before bed instead.
My kids love the bedtime meditations iPhone app to listen to at bedtime- they are nearly 3 and 6.




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