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Your toddler wants to learn about the world but may not yet be able to explain what he/she feels or needs. Making your toddler's world safe but interesting is your job!! This can be a challenge at times, what you want your toddler to do may be totally different to what they have in mind. So how do you get on the same wavelength?
How to encourage good behaviour!
Bundles of Energy with no sense of danger- What a combination! .......By now you will have noticed that your baby is turning into their own little person with boundless energy. They can be amazing to watch as their natural curiosity drives them to experiment and explore the world around them. This is natural and good but your job is to ensure they can explore safely. It is better to make your toddlers environment baby friendly than have to spend the day getting annoyed with him/her for breaking stuff. Constantly saying “No” to your toddler is exhausting for you and can cramp their natural desire to explore.
Plan ahead.....Try to avoid the hassle in the first place by removing all valuables from their reach and by putting child locks on cupboards containing breakables or dangerous substances.
Do a trade off.... Replace the item with something equally as interesting but not as dangerous or precious whatever the case may be.
Distraction Techniques....Distracting them can sometimes pay off, especially for the younger toddler. Use your imagination. You will however have to vary the distraction, as they will catch on soon enough to what you are up to.
Catch your child being good! .....All too often we are very quick to comment and correct children if they are misbehaving. Try to catch your toddler being good for a change. This positive attention and praise helps to build up the child’s self esteem and makes them want to repeat this good behaviour.
Avoid rewarding bad behaviour........Your attention is a powerful reward for your child. If a child feels he/she is not getting enough positive attention, they may resort to getting any sort of attention at all, even if it involves scolding or nagging. If your toddler persists in behaviour you do not like, tell them what you would like them to do, remain calm, and try not to get sucked into. (This can be difficult and exhausting and you may not succeed all of the time, but it is important for your child to understand the boundaries of what are acceptable and what is not).
Consequences.....Children can learn from a young age about the consequences of their actions.
Example - Baby Jane decides to eat the sand in the sand pit. When her mum sees her, she removes her quickly washes her mouth goes inside the house with her, despite her protests. After 5 minutes she is taken outside again and allowed to play on the sand pit. She continues to eat the sand and her mother removes her again and takes her indoors, but this time for 10 minutes. Eventually Baby Jane gets the message that if she continues to eat the sand, a series of unpleasant things happen.......eventually the penny drops and she does not eat the sand.
Offer them a choice.....It is good for children to feel that they have some control over what happens to them. It is wise to limit these choices to two options to prevent the child from being overwhelmed. Example- if you are reading a bed time story you could ask your child does she want to read Cinderella or Snow White. It encourages your child to make decisions, an essential skill in adulthood.
Advanced Warnings.....At toddler stage, children generally find it difficult to change from one activity to another. They do not like the feeling of being swooped upon and removed from what they are doing suddenly. Bedtimes for instance can be a more pleasant routine when children work through a predictable routine over a period of time. Set the scene and prepare them for what is about to happen by saying "bedtime is coming soon so you'll be having a nice bubble bath. Afterwards, you can pick out a book and I will read you a story before you go for a sleep". This technique can win your child’s co-operation and help to reduce your stress levels at the end of a long day.
Express your feelings........If your child slaps you for example they need to see how it hurts you. Pull a sad face, say “ouch” and say “I don’t like it when you slap me because it really hurts”. Toddlers will learn about their own emotions by observing yours.
Be a good role model...... What your toddler sees you do is often more important than what your say. Your behaviour sets the standard for your toddler. Your toddler is like a sponge and will absorb your good and not so good behaviours. e.g. If you want your child to have nice manners you need to practice being polite yourself.
Your toddler will grow up so quickly and the time spent with them in the early days is vital for their emotional and social development.