Life as a toddler can be difficult: It can be really frustrating to be unable to say what you mean or express your feelings in words to those around you. Tantrums can be a result of this frustration. Fortunately, you may be able to teach your toddler to behave well by providing love, clear rules and a degree of routine. Consider these nine practical parenting tips from our friends at the Mayo Clinic and Parents.com.
Invest in one-on-one time with your toddler daily. One of the best ways to help improve your toddler’s behavior is by simply spending more time with them individually every day, providing positive attention and an emotional connection they need.
Encourage communication. Remind your child to use words to express his or her feelings. If your child isn’t speaking yet, consider teaching him or her baby sign language to avoid frustration. As your child gets older, help him or her put feelings into words.
Establish a consistent routine. Kids thrive with a routine, so set clearly defined routines for the most challenging times of the day, like mornings, after-school, mealtimes and bedtimes. Let your kids help decide how the routine will go. A daily routine helps your child know what to expect all day.
Get serious about sleep. Most toddlers get far less sleep than their growing bodies need (the same is true for children all the way through adolescence!). A well-rested child can be a well-behaved child who can function better throughout the day.
Praise good behavior. Offer extra attention when your child behaves well. Give your child a hug or tell your child how proud you are when he or she shares or follows directions. Praise and attention can go a long way to motivate your toddler to follow the rules.
Enforce consequences. Whatever consequences you choose, be consistent. Make sure that every adult who cares for your child observes the same rules and discipline guidelines. This reduces your child’s confusion and need to test you.
Don’t ignore the source of misbehavior. Misbehavior is always a symptom of a deeper issue, and when we can find what causes it, we can use the right strategies to correct it. In the midst of misbehavior, stay calm and ask yourself what might be causing it.
Let your child make choices. Avoid saying “no” to everything. To give your toddler a sense of control, let him or her make choices. The best way to go about this is by giving your child options such as what pajamas they’d like to wear to bed or what shoes they’d like to wear for the day.
Be the example you want your kids to see. Children learn how to act by watching their parents. The best way to show your child how to behave is to set a positive example for him or her to follow.
Following these tips may help you see an improvement in your toddler’s behavior. If you are a parent seeking additional resources, please give us a call at 512.454.3743.