Nurturing your toddler’s behavior

Many factors can lead children to behave the way they do:

  • They are actively exploring everything around them. For example, they want to know what’s in the cereal box and will happily dump the contents on the floor in order to find out.
  • They’re figuring out what they can and can’t do-testing the limits.
  • They have yet to learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
  • They’re tired, lonely, bored, over-excited, ill, frustrated, hungry, or thirsty.
  • They think it’s a game – when you say “no”, they wait until you are watching and do it again

Children seldom misbehave to annoy their parents.You can help your toddler develop positive behaviour by encouraging cooperation, using good communication, and making it easier for your child to behave and be successful.

Below are some other useful tips:

Encourage Cooperation

Give encouragement and positive attention. Your child needs your attention. If you only pay attention to your child when he does something wrong, he will learn to misbehave to get attention. If you give your child attention when he does something you want, he will learn positive ways to get your attention. Encouragement and positive attention help your child behave.

Prepare Them for What’s Coming

Give your child a five-minute warning when you want him to change activities – “In five minutes, we have to go. It’s time to start cleaning up.” Toddlers find it very hard to stop when they are doing something they enjoy.1313

Follow Through

Be kind and firm when you are following through. When you are kind, your child learns you care. When you are firm, your child learns that when you say it, you mean it.

State Requests Positively

Positive requests are more effective than negative commands. For example, your child is more likely to respond to, “Please use your spoon.” than “Don’t eat with your fingers.”

Using Good Communication

Check and acknowledge feelings. Help your child find the words to express his feelings and show that you understand him. For example, “You look mad.” Always acknowledge the emotion your child may be feeling when setting a limit on his behaviour. For example, “It’s okay to be mad. It’s not okay to bite people.”

Give Your Child Information

If your child reaches for a hot pot or runs across the street, get his attention by getting down to his level and making eye contact. For example, say – “The pot is very hot. It can burn you.” or “The cars cannot see you and you can get run over.” Don’t assume your child knows these things. Keep it simple. Young children need simple rules and boundaries, appropriate for their age, and in language they can understand. Keep your words simple, focus on the most important things, and adapt your rules as your child grows.

Match the Tone of Your Voice to Your Concern

If you are concerned, sound concerned. If you want your child to stop something, say it firmly, but without yelling.

Show Your Pleasure

Share your pleasure and happiness with your toddler when he acts in acceptable ways or learn new things.

Setting the Stage for Success

Make your home childproof and child-friendly. Make their surroundings safe. Remove or put anything that could harm your child out of reach and locked away.

Make a child’s surroundings interesting. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on toys and books. Rotate toys and books to keep them interesting. Put children’s things at their level. Your child is more likely to put his books away if he can reach the shelf.

Sometimes just changing your child’s surroundings will change your child’s behaviour. You may need to leave the grocery store before you have everything on your list, or take your child to the playground to burn off some energy.

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