Keys to Good Discipline for Toddlers
If your toddler does something wrong, think of ways you could keep it from happening again by creating a trouble-free environment. Ignore behavior that is annoying but not harmful. If your child pulls everything out of your sock drawer, just take a deep breath and ignore it. If you pay too much attention, it teaches her to do things like this again to get your attention.
Try distracting or redirecting your child from things you dont want him or her to have or do. If she has your keys and you need them, dont just grab them--it will probably start a crying fit. Instead, interest her in some other toy or activity. She will probably drop the keys while she focuses on the new object. Its easier on both of you to find a distraction instead of fighting over the keys.
Remember to reward your child with loving attention when he plays nicely. Dont become a parent who only notices when something is done wrong. Notice the good times and give your child a smile, a hug or a laugh. Your attention is the most important reward, so use it to encourage positive behaviors.
Finally, give freedom within limits. Children need the freedom to explore, but they also need limits to help keep them safe. Use good judgement and provide both. Babies and toddlers kept in playpens or high chairs for much of the day have too little freedom to grow and develop in positive ways. Just be cautious that you dont allow too much freedom, which could cause harm to your child or expose him to unsafe or unsanitary situations.
Reference: GH 6119 "Positive Discipline and Child Guidance" University of Missouri Extension