"My son is a 'young' 19 months-- I think he's a bit less mature than others his age. We've been disciplining by 1) just plum avoiding bad situations 2) distracting him and have slowly been working on teaching appropriate behavoirs.
This has been working really well for us-- I'm so proud that he now understand that you 'pat' little sister, that chalk can only go outside, that we say 'sshhh' quietly when sister is sleeping.
But I've never been successful at teaching him *not* to do something. the two main issues are hitting the power button on the tv, and going through the clothes baskets adn throwing everything on the floor... but it's getting worse. "
A very thoughtful mom responded with the following!!!!
"In my house with my own kids and my daycare kids, this is what I do. For the trivial things, like pulling clothes out or all the books on the bookshelves, taking out the movies, etc...I give it a couple weeks to see if they get it out of their system. Sometimes the novelty of it wears off during that time all on its own. If it doesn't, then I will say, "Uh oh, clothes stay in the basket, if you want to dump, lets find a toy" and then we will find something that addresses the same skill in a more appropriate forum. Even filling up a cardboard box with rags would be a great way to offer him a place he can play and an activity you can immediately redirect him.
The things you are describing your DS doing are all great skills for his age and he is learning cause and effect with the things he is doing. Fill and dump and on and off are both developmentally appropriate actions. As caregivers, it is our job to provide them with opportunities to practice these things in a safe space. I don't think you will have any success simply telling him what he can't do. A toddler's brain doesn't work like that. You can definitely show him the things he CAN do using the same skills and everyone will win."
I LOVED this, not only for its clear wisdom of focusing on WHY the child was dumping things and turning an item on/off. But for another reason entirely. It taught me something and I thought I'd share my 'discovery' with you all.
I responded to the wise woman's words with this:
WOW! My son (25mths) wasn't verbal until just about 2 mths ago. So since about 14-16mths when he started understanding the meaning of No, but couldn't say it yet, I had to find some way to get him to 'NOT' do certain things that were off limits like hit, nip/bite, etc. (Especially only for those cases, because I wanted my "No" to still hold weight as he gets older!) I was a fan of 'redirection' to other activities, but when it was any sort of aggression, I drew the line and felt I had to start using at least simple 2 word phrases like "No Bite," "No Kick," "No Throw" when throwing wasn't appropriate, and so on.
But reading your post today, I realized I'm STILL using those "No ____" phrases, even though he's recently started talking! That's so mindless of me I almost can't believe it. I will definitely start giving him the outlet for these skills, and the words to name them as they occur!
I guess that's another lesson for ME: Just because he couldn't understand something yesterday, doesn't me he can't today!! Address him at his level, BUT constantly re-assess where that level is!!!!