September 14, 2022

How To Discipline a 1 Year Old & When To Start

Baby learning to walk with their parents

Disciplining a 1-year-old child can be challenging at times, but it’s also very rewarding to have them listen to your instructions and follow them on their own accord. Setting up proper discipline early on can encourage good behavior in the future and lead to good habits later in life. But how do you discipline a strong-willed 1-year-old? And when should you start disciplining?

Baby boy child learn to walk with parents

If you’re having trouble with your 1-year-old, read this guide to help you figure out what kind of disciplinary tactics will work best for your toddler.

Discipline a 1-year-old with Gentle Parenting

One of the best ways to discipline a 1 year old is through gentle parenting. This means setting limits and remaining calm when your child throws tantrums or exhibits other unwanted behavior.

You can also reward good behavior, such as staying calm, with positive reinforcement. If you need help remaining calm, try some deep breathing exercises. Many Child psychologists also suggest practicing proper discipline techniques for 1-year-old.

For example, if you want to teach your toddler not to throw food at people, be sure to tell them what will happen if they do it again in advance.

Many parents say that using physical punishment does not work because kids become more defiant after being hit. Instead, use positive discipline strategies like taking away privileges for a time or practicing empathy by considering how the person would feel if he were in that situation himself.

Understanding Your One-Year-Old Kid

Your one-year-old is now a toddler. They are learning how to properly behave and this is the time when you can start teaching them discipline. Remember, discipline does not mean punishment.

There are many positive techniques you can use to encourage proper behavior. Reward your child when they display good behavior. Try to ignore minor bad behavior. And always be consistent with your disciplinary actions. Other children can be a great influence on your one-year-old.

To understand your 1 year one-year-old, here are some positive discipline techniques:

  • 1. Reward your child when they display good behavior. You can do this by praising them for their efforts or giving them a treat like a sticker or piece of candy
  • 2. Try to ignore minor bad behavior. Sometimes toddlers need an outlet for their emotions so try letting them know it’s okay if they want to express themselves but just remind them that there are appropriate ways of doing that
  • 3. Be consistent with your disciplinary actions.
  • 4. Other strong-willed children can be a great influence on your one-year-old. Watching their peers play and seeing other kids act appropriately can have a positive effect on your one-year-old.
  • 1 year old Boy Waking Up

Tantrums and their causes

Tantrums are normal for toddlers. They’re a way of expressing emotions that they can’t yet put into words. However, that doesn’t mean they’re fun for parents to deal with.

Parents often wonder when is an appropriate time to start discipline on a one-year-old. The short answer is: it depends on your child’s behavior. A tantrum isn’t always reason enough for disciplinary action and in many cases, it might be appropriate for you to simply ignore them or distract your child so she won’t engage in negative behavior if it occurs again later in time. on

Here are the tantrum causes for a 1-year-old:

1. Your toddler wants something and can’t have it.

2. Your toddler needs to use the washroom but can’t go all by himself or herself.

3. Your toddler just wants attention from you (sometimes).

4. Your toddler feels overwhelmed with too much stimulation, too many people around him, not enough sleep, etc.

5. Your toddler has found an object he knows he’s not supposed to play with and wants to explore it more.

6. You’ve told your child no about something he wanted badly (but you had good reasons for saying no).

Mom making baby sleep

How To Deal with Tantrums

Your toddler may be throwing tantrums because he doesn’t understand what he wants. He can see something interesting, like a dog on television, but he doesn’t realize that by simply asking you to turn off your TV and take him outside, you can give him what he wants.

To deal with tantrums, try to figure out the cause of the child’s frustrations first, then come up with a plan of action together.

For example, if the child is hungry or tired or sees another kid playing outside who he really wants to play with (like his friend), offer him an alternative before he has a meltdown. Offer him milk or lunch and make sure he’s getting enough sleep at night. If he needs company other than yours, call his grandparents for an hour so you can get some work done in peace.

Depending on your own parenting style, you might choose to follow some of these practical tips or all of them. You may also have come up with solutions of your own, which is great. If something you’ve tried hasn’t worked for you, try something else until you find what works for both of you.

Child is playing with parents

Right and Wrong for a 1-year-olds

There’s no one right answer for how to discipline a 1-year-old, as every child is different. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

For example, it’s important to be consistent with your discipline, use positive reinforcement whenever possible, and avoid physical punishment. It’s also important to keep in mind that children at this age are still learning what is right and wrong, so patience is key.

Some common disciplinary tactics include timeouts (this should last no more than 2 minutes), taking away something the child enjoys (such as TV time), or distracting the child by engaging them in an activity they enjoy such as reading together. You’ll have to experiment and see what works best for your child.

Happy mom and happy child

Common Parenting Mistakes

1. Not being consistent with rules and expectations. If you discipline your child one day and then let them get away with the same behavior the next day, they will quickly learn that they can get away with anything.   When it comes to family rules, you and your spouse need to be on the same page.

2. Yelling or using physical punishment as a first resort. These methods may work in the short term, but in the long run, they will only serve to damage your relationship with your child and teach them that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.

3. Not providing enough structure.

4. Disciplining children too harshly. Remember, it’s your job to set limits and show your child what’s right from wrong; it’s not their job to decide for themselves.

5. Failing to listen. Kids are far more likely to respond positively when they feel like their parents are really listening to them instead of just waiting for their turn to talk.

6. Expecting perfection: As parents, we have high expectations of ourselves, and our kids should be no different. It’s important to praise even small steps towards improvement rather than focusing on flaws alone.

7. Confusing consequences with punishments. Consequences refer to the natural outcome of any given situation, while punishments are meant to punish someone who has done something wrong (in this case, a consequence would be taking away privileges if your child doesn’t clean up after themselves). The two shouldn’t mix—and if they do, you’re probably doing something wrong.

8. Spanking. Spanking is never okay and does nothing but teach children that violence is an appropriate response to conflict. Furthermore, spanking isn’t considered effective by most experts because it doesn’t address the underlying problem at hand—instead, all it does is make your child angry at you for punishing them unjustly.

9. Assuming that good kids don’t need to be disciplined. Every child needs boundaries and guidance in order to grow into a well-adjusted adult. No matter how good your baby is, they still need babyproofing.

10. Letting your child do whatever they want to keep them happy. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making sure your little one is having fun, there will come a time when they’ll need some limits in place and your help in learning self-control. So while giving them everything they want might seem like the best idea, it could actually lead to some pretty big problems down the line.

Baby boy child learn to walk with parents

10 Ways to Discipline a 1-Year-Old

For a strong-willed 1-year-old, some experts recommend giving the child time-outs. Time outs are when you take the child away from whatever they are doing, for about 2 minutes, and then bring them back.

Some parents might not like this method because it does not teach the child anything. However, timeouts can be very effective in correcting certain behaviors if done correctly. The key is to follow through with the time out or it will have no effect on your child.

Here are 10 effective ways to teach discipline to a 1-year-old.

1) Prevent and protect (Toddler proof Place)

As your toddler becomes more mobile, it’s important to toddler-proof your home to prevent accidents. You can do this by installing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, putting locks on cabinets and drawers that contain dangerous items, and covering electrical outlets. You should also create a safe play area for your toddler with age-appropriate toys.

2) Set clear boundaries and be consistent

If you want to discipline your 1-year-old, it’s important to set clear boundaries and be consistent. You also need to be aware of when they’re trying to test your limits.

For instance, the first time your child pushes or hits another person, tell them what not to do next time and what will happen if they do it again. Do this in an age-appropriate way that doesn’t scare them into behaving well only because they are afraid of being punished.

If a time out is needed for one minute per year old, this means an 18-month-old would sit in their room for two minutes before coming back out.

1 year old kid playing with building blocks

3) Vocalize in an assertive manner

Imagine your child is running toward the street. You need to tell them that it’s not safe and they should stop. In this situation, you would say something like, No! You can’t go into the street. It’s not safe there. Come back here and play with me instead. I have some toys for you to play with.

Each time you assert yourself in an appropriate manner, it will be easier for your child to listen the next time around.

In another situation, your child might be getting frustrated because they want something, but you are saying no.

For example, if your child wants to use their hand to dig through the dirt on the ground and you don’t want them to do that, then use a gentle voice to say No, we don’t use our hands for digging through dirt. Here is a spoon so you can scoop out what we need. That way, it doesn’t make such a mess! That way, when they get older, they will be more likely to listen when someone tells them what they should or shouldn’t do.

4) Keep calm by taking deep breaths

Starting to discipline your 1-year-old can be tough, but there are some things you can do to make it easier.

First, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. It’s important that you remain consistent with your discipline, so make sure you have a plan in place before you start. If you need to, take a break and come back to it later. Remember, this is a learning process for both of you.

Happy Children having fun

5) Focusing Their Attention

When your toddler is having a tantrum, the first step is to try and get their attention. This can be difficult, as they are likely screaming and flailing about. However, if you can make eye contact or get them to quiet down for even a moment, you can begin to talk them through the situation.

Toddlers want what they want when they want it, but that doesn’t mean that you should always give in to their demands. If your child is throwing a tantrum at the store because he wants a toy he sees on display, then telling him no may not be an option due to safety concerns.

Similarly, if he wants his favorite cup at dinner time and refuses to eat without it then it’s best just to give in because there’s nothing else that will calm him down right now.

Confident child about to fly

6) To teach, use inductive discipline rather than punishment.

If you want to discipline your 1-year-old, it’s important to use inductive discipline rather than punishment. Inductive discipline is based on the principle of cause and effect, and it teaches your child that there are consequences for their actions.

It’s important to start using inductive discipline early on so that your child can learn how to make choices and be responsible for their actions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using inductive discipline with your 1-year-old:

  • 1. First, identify what the problem behavior is.
  • 2. State what you want them to do instead of the negative behavior.
  • 3. Give them an incentive if they do what you’ve asked them to do (for example, If you go potty in your diaper like a big boy, then we’ll put our shoes on.
  • 4. Praise them when they follow through!

Mixed Race mom and baby

7) Praise effort over results and focus on good behavior

It’s important to praise your child’s effort rather than their results. This will help them develop a growth mindset and persist through difficult tasks. It’s also important to focus on positive behavior rather than bad behavior.

This will help your child understand what you expect of them and encourage them to behave in desired ways. Finally, make sure you start disciplining your child early on. This will help establish rules and expectations from the beginning.

8) Connect with your 1-year-old on a deeper level

One of the best ways to discipline your child is to connect with them on a deeper level. Try to spend some quality time with them every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Talk to them, listen to them, and really try to understand their perspective.

This will help you build a strong relationship with your child that will make discipline easier.

You can also try meditation or journaling as another way to clear your mind and center yourself before interacting with your children.

1 year old happy baby

9) Help them practice positive behavior by modeling it

One of the best ways to help your 1-year-old learn how to behave is by modeling good behavior yourself. Let them see you as being kind, helpful, and respectful to others.

Show them how to stay calm when things don’t go as planned. Help them understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we all learn from our mistakes. Lastly, praise your child when they display good manners.

For example, if they put away their toys without being asked, say thank you for putting away their toys. If they share their toy with another child without getting upset, let them know thank you for sharing with them! It’s nice when people share.

Keep an eye out for moments of good behavior so that you can reinforce these actions.

10) Reinforce positive behavior

Another best way to discipline a 1-year-old is to reinforce positive behavior. Whenever your child does something you approve of, make sure to let them know. This could be something as simple as saying, Great job! or That was so helpful of you!

Active child

Your toddler shouldn’t be disciplined for these things

Your toddler is still learning what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, so disciplining them for every little thing they do wrong isn’t necessary. Try to be patient and understand that they’re still learning.

Additionally, here are 2 things you shouldn’t discipline your toddler for:

One of these things includes disciplining your toddler for normal, age-appropriate behavior.

For example, you shouldn’t discipline your child for moving or playing too much when they’re teething; that’s just their way of releasing some energy. Instead, distract them with an activity and get them something to chew on so they can be more comfortable.

The other thing you shouldn’t discipline your toddler for is not knowing how to do something. For example, you wouldn’t want to punish your child for not being able to brush their teeth yet. Instead, give them guidance and help them with whatever they need help with.

This way, they’ll eventually be able to do it on their own without you having to correct them.

Mixed race mom and baby


So, when should you start disciplining your 1-year-old? And how should you go about it? Experts say the answer to both questions is: Whenever you feel it’s necessary and whatever method you feel comfortable with.

Every toddler is different, so there’s no one answer that fits all. The most important thing is to be consistent with whatever approach you take.


Taryn Crimi

Taryn Crimi

Taryn is an international intuitive, focused on helping to empower you manifest your best life!

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