How to Encourage Good Behavior in Your Toddler
Your toddler may look like an adorable little angel to the rest of the world, but you know how your baby can act out when tired, hungry or bored. As a parent, it’s your job to teach your child how to behave. Successfully molding your child’s character from a young age so he or she can reach his or her full potential as an adult can seem like your hardest job. Following these tips can help you complete this essential task.
Taking time each day to read your toddler stories and do activities you both enjoy is the most important way to encourage good behaviour. Doing these things demonstrates the love and affection you feel for your child. Spending quality time with him or her also helps your toddler feel safe and secure, which can lead to sleeping or playing alone for longer periods.
Give clear instructions
Make simple statements about what you expect your toddler to do. Say, “It’s time for bed,” instead of asking, “Would you like to go to bed?” If you ask, you give your child the option to refuse.
Give positive feedback for good behavior
Praise your child when he or she is good. Children crave attention. Teach them that the best way to catch your eye and hear your voice is to do the right things.
The only way to learn how to accomplish things for oneself is to do those things. Let your toddler try to put on shoes or button up pants while you’re dressing him or her. This can be frustrating for your child – and for you if you’re busy – but learning to dress oneself is an essential first step on the long road to feeling self-reliant and living independently.
Don’t leave tempting objects within reach
Always keep your valuables and favorite breakable things up high and out of sight. Toddlers can’t misbehave with objects they don’t have access to.
Don’t overreact when hearing ‘No!’
All toddlers go through a stage of saying “no” every time they’re told to do something. Don’t take this personally. Just repeat your instructions without raising your voice, and expect cooperation. When they do cooperate, reinforce their cooperation with praise.
Don’t give in to tantrums
Toddlers begin to realize they have power over you by the time they reach 18 months of age. This is when they begin trying to manipulate you by throwing tantrums. If you give in, your child gets the idea that misbehaving gets the result he or she wants.
Consistently enforce standards of behavior
Be consistent with what you don’t allow your child to do. Don’t condone an action by remaining silent one time but then blow your top later when your toddler does the same thing. At best, enforcing discipline inconsistently confuses your toddler. Worse, making discipline contingent on how you feel can make your child mistrusting and leave him or her thinking that almost any action can bring negative consequences.