how to discipline a 1 year old

How to discipline a 1 year old – The Secrets of Toddler Discipline

Last Updated on September 2, 2021.

Toddler discipline is often a difficult task for parents. They have to find the perfect balance between being strict, but also giving their child love and affection. This blog post will detail how you can discipline your 1-year-old in the most effective way possible!

What is discipline?

First, let’s talk about what discipline actually is. Discipline is not punishment. Punishment is a penalty we inflict as a response to a child’s behavior. Discipline, on the other hand, is how we teach and guide children in how to behave properly. When we discipline kids, we are teaching them how they should act, not punishing them for how they acted.

RELATED: What is conscious discipline? Plus how to use it!

Why Punishments Don’t Work

Punishing kids is not effective because it does not teach them how to behave differently. Generally, kids who are punished don’t learn how to behave properly. They might avoid the punishment by not doing the bad behavior, but they won’t change how they act because of it.

This can lead to children becoming desperate and “acting out” even more in order to avoid the punishments they know are coming their way – which only further increases how difficult it is on parents!

RELATED: How to help toddlers with transitions

Can a 1-year-old understand discipline?

One of the most difficult things for parents is how to discipline a one-year-old. A toddler will often not understand that they have done anything wrong, and may not respond to discipline. However, this does not mean that you should give up trying to do so!

It’s important to note that a newly turned 1 year old is very different developmentally than a child who’s 23 months old. If you try to discipline a just 1 year old, they might ignore you, or laugh. That’s OK! Once kids reach about 18 months old, they should start to grasp the concept if discipline. Each child is different however. Yours might be younger or older than 18 months when they start to realize they shouldn’t do certain things!

how to discipline a 1 year old
how to discipline a 1 year old

How do you deal with a defiant 1-year-old?

One of the best ways to deal with a defiant one-year-old is to talk calmly and rationally. Make sure that you are not yelling or sounding harsh, as this will only make things worse!

Defiant toddlers are often defiant because they are testing how far they can go with their emotions and behaviour.

Never punish a one-year-old for being angry or upset, but reward them for showing how much self-control is possible! Another way to discipline your toddler is to give clear, related consequences when something goes wrong – this will clue them in as to what the boundaries are and how to behave.

RELATED: Help! My Toddler Keeps Hitting Himself

What should you do when your toddler is being destructive?

Toddlers often act out destructively when they want attention or feel bored, frustrated, anxious or angry. The best solution is to redirect them. Make sure that you give them plenty of time for self-entertainment! Some good things to include in a toddler “play area” might be blocks, puzzles, and large crayons.

What Kind of Discipline Works Best for Toddlers?

The best kind of discipline for toddlers is to give clear, related consequences. For example, if your child is throwing a tantrum in the store, the best consequence is to leave the store. If your child is throwing or abusing his toys, the related consequence would be to remove the toys for a few hours or the day.

It’s important to create effective consequences that are related to the misbehavior, reasonable in duration and revealed in advance.

If you want a complete guide (including a workbook) to consequences that actually work, check out our guide here.

Tips for Toddler Discipline

  • Make sure your kid’s basic needs are met first (sleep, food, etc).
  • Give clear, related consequences when something goes wrong
  • Talk to your child calmly and rationally; don’t yell or sound harsh!
  • Give your child time for self-entertainment
  • Try to redirect your child if they are being destructive or hitting
  • If you start shouting, take a break and come back to discipline later
  • Reward your child who is showing a lot of self-control!
  • Never punish a one-year-old for feeling angry or upset (feelings are ok, bad behavior is not)

RELATED: Why toddlers bite and what you should do about it

The Bottom Line

Conclusion: Toddler discipline is hard, especially for 1-year-olds (who are among the youngest and least developed). But it’s a part of parenting, and how you deal with your toddler can make all the difference.

As always, we hope this content has been helpful to you! If so, share on social media using our hashtag #SecretsofToddlerDiscipline for us to see your feedback in real-time.

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

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2. Join Our Free Online Community

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3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

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