9 Best and Ultimate Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Follow Rules

Living by the rules isn’t always easy.But it becomes reasonably easy to follow the rules once you understand the reasoning behind the rules. But though toddlers have a lot of rules to follow. Do they really have the understanding about the reasoning behind the rules? No. Hence it makes difficult for a toddler to follow the rules imposed on them. 

We know why we need to stop at a red light during traffic (so you don’t get into an accident). We know why we should not touch something hot (so that you do not burn yourself). Similarly if toddlers see the reason behind rules, it will make them easier to follow rules and live by the rules set for them.  Also it makes parents easier to stay with their toddlers without losing your mind. 

9 Best and Ultimate Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Follow Rules

9 Best and Ultimate Ways To Teach Your Toddler To Follows Rules

Help them understand they “Why?” behind the rule

Toddlers are very active, full of energy, easily distracted and have minimum concentration. They do not have time to follow rules. Toddlers want to observe, explore, experience. They choose all that above rules. Hence to make it easy for your toddler to follow rules, you need to explain your rules. Tell them why the rules are set. Explain in precise statements instead of dragging on the explanation. If you keep the conversation they lose interest in whatever you are saying. 

For example, if you want to explain the rule about sleeping early, you can explain that he has a lot of growing up to do. So he needs to sleep in order to grow big. Another instance is if you are cooking something together, you need to explain it to your toddler that do not touch the hot pan because it will burn your hand. 

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Rules should be consistent

When you make rules you need to be consistent about it. You need to keep the rules the same everyday. You cannot change them according to your convenience because this can confuse your toddler. It will be difficult for your toddler to follow these rules because they are inconsistent. This can also lead them to test your limits to see whether the rules are the same for today. If you say do not jump on the bed one day and allow your toddler to jump on the bed another day, it will confuse them about the rules and make them break it. If you ask your toddler to sit on the floor and eat, then make sure you are sitting with them on the floor everyday and make him or her eat the same way.

Set Clear and Simple Rules

Toddlers do not understand complex rules. Make simple rules. Explain it to your toddler in simple and easy language. Make it clear so it helps your toddler to follow rules without any conflict. If you say do not jump on furniture does it include sofas, tables and bed? Be clear , simple and precise when you set rules for your toddler. 

Make reasonable rules according to age

When you are setting rules for your toddler to follow, make sure you consider his or her age. Be reasonable when you make rules for your toddler to follow. For example , if you set a rule about your toddler not spilling food while eating, please know that a toddler has not yet gained full hand motor function so there will be some spillage. Yet, you need to set a rule that it should not be done on purpose. So making reasonable rules will help your toddler follow these rules and live by them.

Keep repeating your rules frequently

Toddlers are too busy learning, exploring, discovering and experiencing to remember your rules. Their life is full of stimuli since birth, learning is a part of their growth and it if fun and play for them. If you have set a rule, they may forget it by an hour. Toddlers have a brief attention span and concentration, hence they cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. A toddler’s mind tends to ski rules (Not on purpose). So repeat your rules often. Keep informing them daily until it becomes a habit. 

For example, I have made it a rule that when we get out of bed in the morning, we need to make the bed and then proceed with other activities like freshening up. I used to tell him every night before he slept that we have to fold our blankets and make the bed before we leave the bed tomorrow. Similarly I keep repeating his rules frequently. This consistent repeating has helped my toddler to follow these rules and get into that routine.

Don’t make too many rules

Are you pushing it too far with your rules? Your toddler should be able to do some things without rules. If you set rules for each and everything it will irritate them and make them break the rules. Set rules which are only necessary for your child’s safety and development related. If you set too many rules your toddler might start rebelling against it. If not now, in future they might start working against these rules inside or outside their home. 

Make it easy for your toddler to follow rules

A toddler needs to understand how to follow rules you have set. You need to help them follow these rules. Suppose you have set a rule that after play time he or she has to keep their toys in its place. You need to make sure they know where to put these toys. Make sure the place to put the toys is accessible without help. Also it is fun for toddlers to follow a certain rules if you are doing it with them. 

Don’t expect your toddler to follow the rules every time

There will be days when you toddler does not want to follow rules. Toddlers are toddlers; They cannot focus on rules when they are learning. Everything is a wonder to them. And this sense of wonder makes sure they forget about some rules. Sometimes toddler cannot control his or her behaviour hence they might break a rule. Sometimes a toddler might be pushing and testing your limits by not following your rules. A sense of independence is developing in your toddler as he grows. He wants to see how much he can push before he breaks a certain rule.Carry out a certain disciplinary measure and be forgiving. 

Also it is important for all of us to understand that certain rules are meant to be broken. When the situation arises some rules have to be broken. Suppose your son has made an important discovery (at least for him its very important), in the sense of achievement he came into the house with his muddy shoes on to show you his discovery. At such times you need to forget your rule and share their sense of excitement and achievement. After that you can explain about the broken rule and say that “We do not wear shoes inside the house! Next time please make sure to remove your shoes outside.”

Be your toddler’s role model

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ― James Baldwin”

Your children might not be listening to you. But they are looking at you and learning. Children follow by example. You need to be your toddlers role model and teach them to follow rules. 

Many a times we take U turns where we should not be taking. We break lines and lie at times for our convenience. But what we should not forget is our children are watching us. These small things does not matter because we think everybody does it. But if this happens everyday you toddler is learning that a certain rules can be ignored if it does not suit you or if it is inconvenient.When mom or dad (my role models) do not follow some rules, why shouldn’t I? This is a basic instinct. We should not be hurt by such things instead try to follow rules so our toddlers will follow rules and live by them.

Rules are important at every age to maintain a discipline in life. Moreover toddlers love routines. Consequently having a certain rules will help your toddler maintain a routine in their life. These rules will help them enjoy while being safe and responsible. Rules will help parents too once it becomes a habit. You can relax knowing the kids are safe and understand everything they need to. 

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1 Comment

  1. Vinita

    Very helpful.. Loved the article.

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