How best to start disciplining a 20 month old

(9 Posts)
Numbthumbs Wed 13-Mar-13 20:05:50

My little DD is turning into a monster. Ive also got a 6 week old DS and her behaviour over the last week has seriously deteriorated. She loves her new brother and gets plenty of attention, she sleeps well and eats a balanced diet (IMO).
She is at home with me full time until april when she starts nursery one day a week to get her out the house and socialising with other kids, she is super super active and i have a hard time keeping up with her at the mo.

Today we were colouring and she started throwing all her crayons off the table, i asked her to stop as she was throwing them in DS direction (not on purpose) and she just started laughing! I got down to her level and told her in a serious voice that i wanted her to stop, that made her laugh louder and carry on what she was doing. I asked her to pick up the crayons (she understands that as she normally enjoys tidying up) and she ran off. I kept asking her to pick them up, she kept laughing so i shut her in her bedroom for 30 seconds. She went into meltdown and i felt awful sad. I wish i had not picked that battle but once i had started i didnt want to back down.

She is not very verbal, she is trying but her words come out back to front (koob instead of book etc) and i dont always know what she means which is probably frustrating for her. DP says i should put her in the cot for 2 mins when she is naughty and then just move on with a happy smiley voice but im not sure she will get that yet.

Any advice is welcome as i feel completely useless.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 13-Mar-13 20:13:52

Time out can be very effective. Remove from situation ask child to sit in a defined space, bottom step, on a rug, on a coloured tile. Explain at their level why they're there, wait 1 minute for each year of their age. Ask for a sorry or a hug as acknowledgement from them they've done wrong - important they need to acknowledge appology to you so they hug not you hug or you're appologising. Move on with day.

At first it can involve moving them back to the time out space once or twice butthey get it quickly enough.

DD is just 2 and we use this when she hits or kicks her big brothers particularly at the dinner table.

DS2 was just under a year and not walking when he started throwing his food and laughing every mealtime and so i started time out.

Onlyconnect Wed 13-Mar-13 20:19:49

You can also just remove what she's using, in this case the pens. You could just try saying once calmly that you are taking the pens away because she threw them and do so, then don't dwell on it. There will probably be people who tell ou 20 months is too young to dscipline. I don't agree at all. I think it gets harder if you leave it.

MountainOrMolehill Wed 13-Mar-13 20:22:09

I wouldn't put her in her cot as punishment or she may take it that bedtime is punishment iyswim

I have a 20 month old and a baby and an older dc. Tbh I don't think 'disciplining' is appropriate at 20 months. They are too young IMO to understand grown up world completely.

I agree with ignoring the naughty behaviour, or a stern 'no'. And praise the good behaviour. For example, if dc threw pens on the floor it would be a stern no from me and distract with some colouring or something. If throwing on the floor continued I'd put the pens away and encourage playing with something else. Literally, "lets go and get the cars and trains" all excited and enthusiastic (from me)

You need to pick your battles carefully and nip things in the bud. So it can be difficult to judge at times.But at the same time 20 months is still very young.

NapaCab Wed 13-Mar-13 23:45:42

That's funny,*Numbthumbs*, I just came on here to get advice on discipline for my DS too. He is 17 months old and very 'spirited'. I think he just gets lonely and bored as he is always better behaved when we go out to playgroups and when my DH is home (not as often as I'd like as he's working long hours at the moment).

What do you do with a child that young? I tried to get down to his level and say in a stern tone 'no throwing' or 'it's not nice to do x or y' but he often just laughs at me too or, worse, he cries and gets upset if I'm too harsh with him because he doesn't understand what I'm saying fully.

Does the time out technique really work at this age? I have a feeling DS would scream and not understand or else, if I ignored him for 1 minute, he would just get up to some mischief anyway and not notice. I am trying to do positive discipline too but he doesn't seem to care either way. There are just things he wants to do or doesn't want to do and it doesn't seem to matter how I react! He'll start to regard me as a pain in the neck soon as all I seem to do is take things away, nag him and say 'no!' (because he's trying to stick his hands in his dirty nappy again or mess with the electrical sockets or whatever).

Bibs123 Thu 14-Mar-13 06:23:56

my dd is 17 months and can be a handful at times. I have found that there is no point getting in a battle with her because its unecessary stress all round. i still want her to know that what she is doimg is wrong so do give a stern NO butfind that after that distraction still works followed by removing from the situation, eg if she bites or hits i would say no and move her away for a minute. i would put the crayons away if she carried on after telling her not to throw them. i remember that she is not doing what she is doing to annoy me but because she.knows she can and cant help the urge!

Princessgrace2011 Thu 14-Mar-13 09:36:56

I have a little girl who is 22 months old, I have been trying to find ways to disapline her but having no luck! She's started thowing things on the floor when in her high chair were as before when putting her in it so I could get things done (eg cooking doing pots) she seemed happy to play with a few toys. I can't seem to leave her alone for more then a minute in the living room playing with toys without her getting into all sorts of mischief.
She doesnt seem to listen to me or understand when I say no so would time out really work on a child who is oblivious to me telling her off (even tapping her hand when she touches something she knows not to touch) she is a very intelligent little girl but also very cheeky! Seems to me that every child is different and they will learn to listen in their own time!

MummyNoName Thu 14-Mar-13 09:42:52

Agree each dc is different and how you discipline depends on dc temperament. Time out wouldn't work for my toddler. Didn't work on our eldest until about 3 years old.

Stern no, distraction or ignore is what works for me.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 14-Mar-13 13:22:27

She is still really little. And because you now have a tiny newborn, there is a tendency to see your eldest as older than they really are and have very high expectations. My DS is not much younger than your DD, but because he is my second, I still think of him as a baby and I havent even thought about discipline yet. I probably should, because there is a similar tendency to baby your youngest because they look smaller than the eldest.

In terms of your DD being able to do as she is told when you tell her, you're a long way off this yet. I remember being stressed when my eldest was 2.5 as she would just laugh when I told her off. I thought she was being defiant. Turned out she just wasn't old enough to "get it". By the time she was three, she knew she was supposed to obey (even if she didn't all the time).

All you can do is set boundaries by putting her down/separating her if she is aggressive and saying a firm no. It will look like its having no effect but setting the boundary is important in itself regardless of how she reacts. Otherwise, distract.

She will be playing up too as she has a new sibling, even if superficially she appears to be v fond of her brother.

Good luck

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