Correction of the Toddler
With an increase in mobility and awareness comes a toddler’s increase in persistence to achieve his own desires. This at times results in conflict between you and your child when his desires defy your limitations for him. Correction should first consist of your expression of disapproval and a brief explanation. If he persists in defying your direction for him, then unpleasantness (punishment) will be necessary to persuade him. Depending upon the setting, this may include any of the following measures.
i) A playpen time-out. As used in the first year, this is the earliest form of “time-out” and consists of placing the baby in a playpen that has no toys in it, and is set up in a quiet room (like a dining room or bedroom). The baby is picked up with his face turned away from the parent, taken to the playpen with little talk, placed inside, and the parent departs. After 1-2 minutes the parent returns, picks up the baby, holds him close, returns to the original room and reminds him that the activity is forbidden: “No touch [item].” If the misbehavior recurs, repeat the playpen time-out for slightly longer periods of time.
ii) A logical consequence. Removing a toy or play opportunity can be enough to correct a connected misbehavior. For example: If Johnny continues to throw a toy, it is taken away. If Sally continues to throw food, the food is temporarily removed from the tray.
iii) A natural consequence. This type of consequence naturally follows the misbehavior, thereby persuading the child not to do it again. For example: Falling and skinning a knee after defying a parent’s command not to run. A pinch of a finger while continuing to play with a cabinet door after being told to stop.