The First Time You Say "No" to Your Baby

24 to 36 Months

The 2-year-old mark ushers in playdates and preschool, which are great for your child's social skills -- and for honing your disciplining techniques. Sharing is hard at this age.

Toddlers understand simple commands, empathy, and cause and effect, so you can use these to help you discipline. If your child grabs a crayon from her friend, for example, you can say, "We don't grab, and taking Billy's crayon isn't nice." Then give her a similar crayon to play with.

Susan Simmons, of South Riding, Virginia, has found that keeping commands short is key. "I used to give my 2-year-old daughter, Mia, long explanations for why she couldn't do something. Then I realized she didn't get it. Now when she wants an ice pop before dinner, I just say, 'You can't have one now.'"

Of course, no single discipline method works all the time. But the more practice you get doling it out, the more your child will begin to understand boundaries, and the happier everyone will be.

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