Addressing Toddlers’ Behavior

February 26, 2020
Addressing Toddlers’ Behavior

Toddlers often have difficulties managing and controlling strong emotions.  Fortunately, for parents, scientists know more than ever about how toddlers develop, and research has shown that some strategies for dealing with misbehavior work better than others. Read below for a few tips on managing toddler behavior:

1. Check your own emotions and make sure to take a deep breath.

Your ability to stay calm will help support your child’s ability to self-regulate.

2. Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for teaching good behavior. Praise your child right after a specific behavior you like. For example, when your child puts their toys in the toy bin, praise them by saying, “I really like the way you picked up your toys and put them away in the toy bin.” This praise will make your child more likely to do it again the following day. Children want to please their parents, so praise means a lot to them. Catch your child being good!

3. Positive Opposites and Asking For The Behavior You Want

Don’t wait for your child to make a mistake before telling them what you expect of them.

4. Ignoring

Ignoring annoying behaviors (that aren’t dangerous) teaches that those behaviors are not good ways to get your attention. Annoying behaviors include complaining, asking repeatedly to buy something at the store, interrupting your conversation with another adult, pouting, being noisy, whining, and even crying. This is not about ignoring your child, it’s about ignoring certain behaviors.

5. Modeling

Children learn by copying, so always ask yourself what your own behavior is teaching your child.

6. Clear Expectations

Spell out exactly what behavior you want from your child. Be consistent across situations (at home, out in public) and over time (one day to the next).

For more on addressing children’s behavior, please click here.

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