My toddler suffers from nyctophobia. Before I get you alarmed and commiserative about her condition, let me highlight that it simply means that she is terrified of darkness. Extremely terrified. I did not know how bad her phobia was until recently.
While at grandma’s over the holiday, she pulled a fast one on me. One morning, I was having my breakfast of kings as highlighted here, while carrying the baby on my laps. Suddenly, she came running from outside, skidding to a halt next to me. She bumped into me with all the might a three year old can muster causing half my tea to splash out of the cup, splattering on the carpet. Luckily, I have learnt to always hold my hot drinks far away from the baby, if I have to have them whilst carrying her. No one got hurt. I let that slide despite the fact that I had told her severally to always watch her step and avoid running while inside the house. Just like I have told her to shut her wardrobe doors and push back her drawers after use quite often. I have told her to put her dirty clothes in her basket countless times, and park her motor bike and scooter at their respective spots. Sometimes she will do it, and when she does, she will come to my bedroom wearing this fierce look of accomplishment and give me a small lecture about tidying up! “Can you take the newspaper to the pantry?” Or “Can you keep your books on the book shelf” the best one is “Can you make your bed” when I am actually still enjoying my sleep. So yes sometimes she tidies up. But most of the times, her bedroom is like a crime scene, one that you can almost always guess who the culprit is. Funny thing, between ages 1 and 2.5, she absolutely could not stand seeing things not being in their rightful place and would always put everything in its place after use. Which leaves me wondering if all kids sort of regress when they pass the three year mark. Or when they get siblings.
Anyway, back at grandma’s place. Immediately after the tea splashing incident, she started playing with the baby, poking her chest and lightly caressing her face while singing her favorite rhymes to her. She has learnt to be very gentle with the baby. Or so I thought, until she asked her if she can bite her fingers. All the while I was busy cleaning up the mess and the baby was resting on the couch. I ignored her knowing too well that no sane person would bite a baby’s fingers, more so when the baby is their sister. A sudden realization hit me a split second too late just as the baby let out a piercing cry. I had trusted my toddler around the baby too much. Luckily, she did not inflict any serious injuries on her. I calmly explained to her that her sister was not a toy and she should refrain from doing to her what she wouldn’t want done to herself. Of course I spared the rod as a result of grandma’s intervention. So when we were back in Nairobi a few days later, she bit her sister’s fingers again. This infuriated me so much and given that the naughty corner and spanking no longer seems to work for us, I needed a punishment that would instill fear in her. That would make her think twice before attempting such a horrendous act again. So I dragged her to my bedroom, told her to stand behind the curtain, turned off the the lights and closed the bedroom door (she is too familiar with her bedroom and would probably just get into bed and sleep). Boy did she scream, and apologize for all the sins she has ever committed. Without being prompted! “I will not bite Xia’s fingers again. I will not disturb you in the sukumarket. I will not pour water on my bed. I will not cry all the time. I will behave myself.”
And just like that, I had found an effective way to punish my toddler. It’s been almost a month and she hasn’t bitten her sister’s fingers again. Though I find that she nowadays mostly breaks the laws during the day!
Let me know what punishments or disciplining methods have worked for your toddlers. Also, subscribe subscribe subscribe to the blog if you love the posts! I can’t say this enough, because one too many times, I read comments saying “I don’t know how I missed this post!” Well if you subscribed to the blog, you wouldn’t miss a thing. Submit your email at the top right corner of the website.