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7 Toddler Discipline Strategies That Actually Work

Toddlers can be really hard to manage! They are coming into their personalities and realizing that they want what they WANT. Here are toddler discipline strategies to try today!

What do you do when your toddler is in a bad mood and refusing to do the simplest of tasks?

My own toddler is extremely independent and likes to do things her way, even when it’s the wrong way. She can get really defiant when ready so I’m sharing some of the things I have done with her when it comes to discipline.

What to do then? 

Offer them options

Toddlers can be very moody. They can reject something if they don’t like the color, look, or smell of it. That’s when providing alternatives can save the day!

Put options in front of them, make them pick. Having options to choose from can be a fun and interesting game for them to play along.

For example, if they refuse to drink their milk. Put two cute cartoon glasses in front of them, pour half the milk in each of the glasses, and make them choose. You can also do the same by offering them different flavor choices.

Be the primary doer

Toddlers have a biological instinct of imitating adults. If they refuse to drink their milk or sleep on time, act as if you are doing the same until they follow you.

For example: If they refuse to sleep, close your eyes, and pretend to sleep. Don’t react if they try to wake you up. You can even get their favorite doll or toy and pretend as if you are putting their toy to sleep. Just lie down until they follow you.

We have been laying down next to my daughter since forever, it gets her sleepy and sometimes we end up napping next to her too!


Adults are not the only ones who fall for distractions, toddlers too.

So, if your toddler is whining to get something you cannot provide, hand them a distraction. Go and build them a lego house, pretend to ride their bicycle for a few minutes until they come crawling back to you.

Always keep a new toy

Toddlers love new toys. If your toddler is throwing tantrums, keep the secret toy ready. Save this trick for the dire times as you cannot give them a new toy every day.  

For example, if your toddler is demanding a new toy they saw through the mall window, you don’t have to buy it for them.

Instead, wrap the new toy you have been hiding from them in a gifting paper. Like anyone else, toddlers love gifts as well!


A little blackmailing doesn’t do much harm. ‘

When your toddler is throwing tantrums, pretend to leave. Your toddler loves your company, when you’re pretending to leave, they’ll try hard to make you stay.

In addition, tell them, “If you’re not going to finish your milk, (Just an example), I will go and play with the neighbor’s kid. 

Submit but only for a while

There can be moments when your toddler demands something that belongs to someone else. You cannot let them have it, so what option are you left with?

Here’s what you can do.

Let them play with the toy for a few minutes. When their focus shifts to something else, conceal the toy from them until they forget about it.

We do this all the time with my daughter as she loves her brothers cars, but gets distracted very easily after a few minutes.


Encouragement is always a good motivator. When your toddler does something good, finishes their milk, or shows compassion towards someone else, reward them with a treat.

It’s easy to fall for your toddler’s cute expressions. But you have to be tough sometimes. Submitting to their demands can make them stubborn in the future.

These toddlers are so much fun but can be challenging as they grow older! Use some of these toddler discipline strategies to parent those crazy toddlers!

If you liked these toddler discipline strategies, be sure to check out these Fun Indoor Activities For Busy Toddlers – Free Printable List Of Ideas!