Ken told my parents the other night that we need a discipline book. They looked at him with a bit of shock registering on their faces. Discipline? For their sweet and perfect grandchild, Nora? Yes, we said. Sometimes lately we have felt at a loss as to what to do with our strong-willed daughter who is, as I type, trying to manipulate her father into more books and more songs and more escapes from the bedroom to delay bedtime just one more time. Yes, our toddler needs some discipline.
A teacher should have this down, you may think. Don’t I discipline all day? No. I don’t. I am not so good at discipline in my classroom either – my theory is just to keep the minds and hands busy so there is no time or need for goofing around. It works well most of the time. And when it doesn’t work I feel like I need discipline lessons for the classroom too.
My parents eventually witnessed some of the small defiances that are making Ken and I feel inadequate in the toddler discipline field. Just as with a class of teenagers, really, there are just times when you really need your child to listen. And sometimes she isn’t cooperating.
So we went to the tried-and-true time-out method. We picked a chair for time-out and started to put her there to sit quietly after she has refused to stop hitting or kicking or throwing things. She sits there pretty well – sometimes asking to get down before we’ve released her, sometimes crying, sometimes just looking at us with the I’m-so-going-to-manipulate-you smile.
Time out has either become a giant success or a giant failure, I’m honestly not sure. Now, when Nora hits or kicks or throws and we tell her firmly to stop, she says, “I need a time out,” or “I want a time out.” She walks to the chair and sits there until we tell her to move.
Does she do this because she knows that she has done something wrong? Or does she do this because it’s pretty fun to sit in the time out chair and get attention when it’s all over? I don’t know. And I guess it doesn’t really matter if it’s working to make her stop the behavior.
But we do still need a book.
What good toddler discipline books have helped you?