To discipline your toddler without using the naughty step, firstly one great way is to use an ‘action replay.’ Ask your toddler to repeat the action but this time to do it the way they know they should. So if they come into the room and say ‘juice’ you say – “Just go out of the room again and come back in and ask the way you know you should.”
So they go out, come back in and say– “juice please” – of if they’re more advanced – “please can I have some juice mummy!” And you smile and say: “yes, of course, I’ll be happy to get your juice.”
That way your child has finished by asking politely and got what they wanted.
You can use the action replay if you want them to do something again – but this time without a fuss. You just say: ‘Let’s do an action replay – or ‘start over’. Or let’s rewind that!’

Secondly, ignore the bad behaviour, and then praise the good behaviour.
So if your child is saying something rudely or whining, turn your head slightly away and say nothing, then as soon as they stop- you say: “You’ve stopped whining. You’re talking to me nicely now – now I can listen. What was it you wanted to say?”
That way your toddler knows how to talk so you’ll listen. So ignoring doesn’t work on its own. You have to combine it with praising them when they get it right.

Finally, if your toddler is having a really bad time, rather than getting cross or using time out, offer them a calming-down cuddle on the sofa or a special chair.
Sometimes your toddler just needs your attention. And your love. You can say: ‘I can see a little boy who’s having a hard time. Let’s go and have a calming-down cuddle.’
Then go and sit quietly with your toddler on your lap and give him –or her- a long warm cuddle.
After a minute or two, see if you can get your toddler to giggle or laugh. Because interestingly laughter releases difficult emotions just as well as tears.
Sometimes you may not feel like doing this. You might be feeling annoyed with your toddler and feel much more like punishing them than cuddling them. But using a calming-down cuddle can improve the mood and your toddler’s behaviour much quicker, and feels a whole lot nicer. For you and your toddler. If you can summon up the self-control you need.

So 3 tips to help you discipline your child without using the naughty step are:

  1. Use an action replay – ask your toddler to do it again the right way.
  2. Ignore the bad behaviour, and then praise the good behaviour.
  3. Offer them a calming-down cuddle.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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