Distract. Distract. Distract. This takes some mental effort (nooooooooo) but it helps prevent disasters, crying and general rage-at-a-toddler guilt. So while distraction is still a viable option, I ask a question to divert attention away from unwanted behavior. This also saves the word “No” for when it’s a super serious situation.
This trick works best when you are paying attention and thinking ahead, which– hahaha — is a cute alternate reality. BUT when do think of it and see a potential issue arising, change the path by asking a question. At least try it once or twice. Every caretaker needs a hefty bag of tricks to pull from.
FOR EXAMPLE: As she is reaching to play with the sharp/special/fragile/electric item for the fifth time I completely ignore what she’s about to do and instead ask her, “Do you remember where your floppy dog is? I would love to play with him together”. This will engage her thoughts away from the horror she is about to commit and directs her mind toward something she is totally obsessed with (because obsession is the toddler way). And ideally she runs off to get the stuffed dog and maybe she gets distracted by toys in the process, maybe she plays quietly in her room, maybe it’s a little too quiet for a little too long…