Consistency is especially important for toddlers. If Mom's computer was off-limits yesterday, it should be off-limits today. And don't worry about repeating yourself. A toddler may need to hear something literally a hundred times before he gets the message.
When he does misbehave, he doesn't need a lecture. Give him a firm "no," perhaps with a quick explanation such as "you could get hurt" or "that's not a toy." Then redirect him to a more desirable activity. Toddlers have short attention spans, so he'll probably be happy to move on.
Time-outs can be helpful, but few children understand the concept until they're at least 3 years old. For a younger child, time-outs are confusing and frustrating. If your child is old enough to understand time-outs, use them sparingly and limit them to three minutes or less — just long enough for your child to get control of himself. Put him in a "naughty chair" instead of sending him to his room — you don't want him to associate his room with punishment. Consider sitting with him. He'll probably calm down faster, and you could use the break, too.
No matter how badly your child is behaving, hitting shouldn't be an option. Spanks and slaps teach children to be afraid of their parents. And even though you would never intend to hurt your child, it's easy to lose control when you're angry. If you feel like hitting your child, give yourself a time-out until the feeling passes.
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