Toddlers are a challenge for many parents. It’s a time wherein they’re stubborn, sneaky, and don’t listen to what you say. But most of all, they can be very challenging to understand.
You might have no idea why your toddler is throwing the biggest temper tantrum or suddenly bursting into tears over nothing at all. And that’s not just something that happens with one child — kids this age are notorious for being unpredictable and erratic.
If you want to be a better parent to toddlers, understanding their developmental stages will help. Doing so will let you know what to expect from each step and respond effectively.
Understand Toddlers’ Development
One of the best ways to understand toddlers is by looking at typical behavior during each developmental stage. By knowing what to expect from your child, you can anticipate when they may become upset or frustrated.
Doing so will help you prepare yourself and respond better in such instances when they happen. So, take control of the situation by being equipped with the knowledge and applying it.
Teach Them the Basics
Children this age are in a very crucial stage of language development. They’re starting to understand words and even “put together” simple sentences with the help of an adult. So, in addition to helping them learn basic toddler skills, it’s also a good idea to speak in a manner that they’ll be able to hear and comprehend.
You can accomplish this by talking to them in a usual and adult way and getting rid of the “baby talk” or using jargon they won’t understand. Doing so will let your child know that you’re speaking with them and help them develop their language skills.
Be Clear in Your Actions, Too
When it comes to toddlers, trying to redirect their behavior when they’re upset or misbehaving can also be helpful. This way, you’re not only making your words count but also sending a clear message that they should follow what you say to do and expect the same from them in return.
But try not to get frustrated when they don’t listen because it’ll discourage them. So, rather than demanding or telling your child to do something, try asking or telling instead using a “gentle” reminder of what you expect from them.
Of course, there are cases wherein it doesn’t work. But being patient and consistent would be helpful in most instances when they get carried away with their emotions.
Give Clear Instructions
Before your toddler starts to attend daycare, kindergarten, or preschool, it’s essential to teach them what others expect from them. That way, they’ll have an idea of how their behavior can affect those around them.
The trick is to give simple instructions that are also clear, especially if you’re teaching your toddler skills they need to follow. You can say “please” and “thank you” frequently to help them learn how to express gratitude and respect their elders.
You can set the tone by knowing what you want to accomplish. For instance, if you know your child is about to attend an important event like a birthday party, it’s best to teach them good manners beforehand, so they’ll know what’s expected of them.
Offer Rewards and Praise
Like any other skill, teaching your toddler good behavior often requires some form of feedback from you. So, it’s essential to give them immediate rewards or praise whenever they do something positive or show cooperative behavior.
Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage them and let them know that there are more perks in following the rules and doing what you say than misbehaving.
When they respond well to your requests, don’t forget to let them know that you appreciate their behavior and give them a hug or simple praise. Doing so will show them that there’s more to earning your approval than just pleasing you when needed.
Acknowledge their Feelings
Of course, your main goal is to teach them how to behave correctly. But it’s also important to acknowledge what your child is feeling at the very moment they misbehave or get upset.
It’s a good idea to give them their space, let them calm down if needed, and help them with what they can. This way, they won’t feel so frustrated at the moment because they’ll see that you understand their feelings and are there to help them in any way possible.
Now that you’ve learned about some basics of positive parenting in toddlers, it’s essential to know that it doesn’t stop there. It’s best to remain patient and consistent with your approach to learning and follow your expectations.