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What are some good methods for helping 2-year-olds learn about rules?
1 doctor weighed in

Dr. Jeanne Beymer
Pediatrics
In brief: Teach and lead.
Divert and substitute.
If a child is playing with something you don't want him to have, replace it with another object or toy that the child enjoys. This approach avoids a fight and does not place children in a situation where they'll say "no." teach and lead. Have as few rules as necessary and enforce them. These rules should be rules important for the child's safety. If a rule is broken, after a short, clear, and gentle explanation, immediately find a place for your child to sit alone for 2 minutes. It is very important that a "time-out" comes immediately after a rule is broken. Ask your doctor if you have questions about time-out. Make consequences as logical as possible. Remember that encouragement and praise are more likely to motivate a young child than threats and fear. Do not threaten a consequence that you do not carry out. If you say there is a consequence for misbehavior and the child misbehaves, carry through with the consequence gently. Be consistent with discipline. Don't make threats that you cannot carry out. If you say you're going to do it, do it.Be warm and positive. Children like to please their parents. Give lots of praise and be enthusiastic. When children misbehave, stay calm and say "we can't do that. The rule is ________." then repeat the rule.

In brief: Teach and lead.
Divert and substitute.
If a child is playing with something you don't want him to have, replace it with another object or toy that the child enjoys. This approach avoids a fight and does not place children in a situation where they'll say "no." teach and lead. Have as few rules as necessary and enforce them. These rules should be rules important for the child's safety. If a rule is broken, after a short, clear, and gentle explanation, immediately find a place for your child to sit alone for 2 minutes. It is very important that a "time-out" comes immediately after a rule is broken. Ask your doctor if you have questions about time-out. Make consequences as logical as possible. Remember that encouragement and praise are more likely to motivate a young child than threats and fear. Do not threaten a consequence that you do not carry out. If you say there is a consequence for misbehavior and the child misbehaves, carry through with the consequence gently. Be consistent with discipline. Don't make threats that you cannot carry out. If you say you're going to do it, do it.Be warm and positive. Children like to please their parents. Give lots of praise and be enthusiastic. When children misbehave, stay calm and say "we can't do that. The rule is ________." then repeat the rule.
Dr. Jeanne Beymer
Dr. Jeanne Beymer
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