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Mum

My two year old is starting to test boundaries. We get a lot of 'no' and 'mine', and generally just throwing things around the room (and at his little brother!) I know he is too young to understand any kind of discipline, and we try to parent gently. I am reminding him to share, be gentle and also try distracting him but it doesn’t always work. Is this a phase?

It is definitely a phase. At this age they are really striving for independence.

I do have a few positive discipline/ideas that you can try if you like.

So you could try and use positive language. Here are a few examples...

1. Try a 'do', rather than a 'don’t'.

So rather than 'don’t draw on that', you can say, 'pencils are for drawing on paper. Would you like to draw on coloured paper or white paper?' And then offer some paper for him to choose.

And rather than 'don’t cut that', you can try 'scissors are used for cutting paper or playdough, which one would you like to cut?' Then offer paper and playdough and he can choose.

2. Offer simple choices.

At this age, children are developing their independence and like to feel like they are in control. Provide opportunities for them to feel in control.

Give choices that you approve of. If you're struggling to get him dressed. 'Would you like to wear the white T-shirt or the blue T-shirt today?'

3. Use 'when' instead of 'no'.

Instead of 'no, we cannot go to the pool today', you can try 'the pool sounds like a great idea. I would love to go to the pool. When you wake up from your nap, we can go to the pool.'

4. You can use 'first, and then' too.

So 'first, we pick up our toys and then we will have snack.'

5. Another one you can use, which I haven’t used yet either (I keep forgetting!) is 'I remember'.

So, if you have asked your child so many times to get their coat, instead of sounding like you are blaming them, you can say 'oh, I remember, you need your coat before we go outside'.

I hope this helps a little. Remember, they really struggle to share at this age too. We really need to role model sharing and show them and guide them. So, you can say things like 'when you have finished, please can your friend have a turn.'

Also, if going to grab a toy, you can say, 'I see you really want to play with the train right now. Your friend is playing with it at the moment. Let me help you find something else to play with while we wait for your turn.'

Pregnant mum of 3