10 steps to better toddler behaviour
Toddlers, by their very nature, are lively (to say the least) rambunctious and mischievous, who often seem to enjoy nothing more than pushing boundaries. I think we’re all agreed on that… And, even if it feels like yours is the only toddler acting out at play group, and that all your friends have perfect children with impeccable manners – it’s not true, believe us.
They are busy learning the ways of the world, and part of that discovery is around what is and isn’t acceptable. Reinforcing your behaviour boundaries and being consistent will certainly help, as will these top 10 tips:
Maintain your own self-control
Children mimic adults’ actions, so it’s important not to lose your cool. Stay calm and deliver advice to your child clearly without raising your voice.
Ensure your child is getting enough sleep
Your toddler’s behaviour could be a result of over-tiredness. We all get a bit grumpy when we’re tired, but unfortunately toddlers just aren’t always equipped with the skills to tell us and they keep going at full speed.
Reward good behaviour
Your little one suddenly does exactly what he or she is supposed to? Shows off those beautiful manners you’ve been working on? Shower him or her with praise and these actions are more likely to be repeated. Investigate a reward chart if you think it would be beneficial for your child – sometimes the visual reminder of rewards and being good are important.
Rewards, discipline, how you deal with good or bad behaviour must be the same each time; otherwise your child will only be left confused as to the message you’re trying to get across. Similarly, make sure your partner is aware of how you are dealing with things so that you can ensure the same result every time.
Always show affection when dealing with bad behaviour
Whatever he or she has done, deal with the behaviour firmly, while ensuring your child knows and understands that you love him or her completely.
Keep a routine
Children thrive on routine and when they’re “out of routine” is usually the time poor behaviour arises.
Keep your child active and engaged
Acting out also tends to strike when your child is bored or looking for attention. Set aside quality time you share with your child doing jigsaws, drawing, games or an outdoor activity to keep his or her mind active. And if they begin to get into things you wish they wouldn’t, distract them with a more tempting activity.
Avoid stressful situations as much as possible
Identify the situations most likely to cause a tantrum – for example, going shopping – and then try to avoid doing that at times when your child is likely to be hungry or tired.
Be prepared for oncoming mood swings
If there are certain situations or times of day when bad behaviour tends to happen, be prepared ahead of these with a snack or activity that will keep your child happy and occupied.
Remember, your child is still only a toddler
Try to see things from his or her perspective; toddlers aren’t mini-adults – they have trouble understanding how they are supposed to behave, or why it is they aren’t supposed to play with the kitchen knives or run around the shop. If you can remember to think like a toddler, you’ll be able to help your child learn good behaviour in time. Be patient.