How Should We Discipline Our Hyperactive Toddler?

Toddlers like to test boundaries. Toddlers often intentionally misbehave, and can be disruptive and even dangerous at times. At this stage of their lives, it is important that you maintain a consistent pattern of discipline with your toddler. For a hyperactive toddler, however, the question of discipline can become much less clear. It can be difficult to tell when a hyperactive toddler is intentionally misbehaving, or when he is acting out from his hyperactivity.

For toddlers who are hyperactive, it is important to use techniques of distraction, rhythm, and finding appropriate outlets for her energy. The hyperactive toddler needs something to do; if she is bored, she will probably get into trouble. Find something that she can devote her energy to, even if that means having her run around the yard. In addition, using rhythm can help. You can let your child pound on drums or shake a tambourine. Finally, try to find appropriate outlets for her energy by getting her to engage in productive, rather than destructive, activities.

The first thing that you need to do when disciplining your hyperactive toddler who is intentionally misbehaving is to make sure that she knows what the rules are. Many toddlers innocently do harmful or dangerous things, not out of disobedience, but out of ignorance. By trying to make sure that your toddler understands what you expect from her and what you expect her not to do, you will go a long way in disciplining your toddler.

Once you have set specific rules or boundaries for your toddler, and then he intentionally breaks those rules, then you can begin to discipline him. Discipline for your child can be as simple as what is known as “extinction” – where you stop paying attention to a child who is throwing a temper tantrum or being disruptive. For the hyperactive toddler, this often will help. Disciplining your toddler can involve the use of the “time-out.” Time-outs sometimes can be difficult for hyperactive toddlers; during the time out, allow them to wiggle if they need to; dont demand that they stand still, because they probably can’t. If your child has done something to harm another person, part of the disciplining process should include an apology and an effort to make up for the injury.

The most effective way to encourage good behavior from your toddler is to praise her when she is being good. In the long run, your toddler will learn much more from a “thank you for not pulling your sister’s hair” than she will from a “stop pulling your sister’s hair.” By offering her compliments and positive reinforcements when she is being good, you reduce the amount that you will spend disciplining your toddler.

It can also help to demonstrate the consequences of your toddler’s actions to him. If, for example, he breaks a toy, you can help him throw it away. You can explain that he will never be able to use that toy again. For some toddlers, this can be even more effective than a time-out or other punishment.

Ultimately, disciplining your hyperactive toddler requires understanding and patience. She is still learning how to behave, and testing your limits is a natural part of that learning process.


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