Toddler Behaviour

Article By: Melanie Hartgill - Educational Psychologist

Toddlerhood is such an interesting phase in our children’s development. We are exposed to the tantrums, attempts at independence, sheer defiance at times, as well as delightful or not-so-delightful habits and behaviours. Their moods change on a daily basis as do their likes and dislikes.

Therefore so much of what we see at this age is just a phase that they will outgrow. Toddlers need heaps of affection and attention to encourage positive behaviour and to redirect not-so-nice actions. So how can we manage their behaviour while keeping ourselves, and them, sane?

  • Try to avoid constantly telling your toddler ‘no’, as this can inhibit their natural curiosity;
  • create situations where your child can explore life safely;
  • use distractions in order to change their behaviours;
  • offer them basic choices between two items or activities as this allows them to develop and exert their independence;
  • give simple explanations for things so they understand why they have to do certain things or aren’t allowed to do others;
  • be consistent in the way you manage their behaviour;
  • ignore the bad behaviour as far as possible, providing it is not dangerous or destructive;
  • reward the good behaviours;
  • be specific in praise so they know what it is that makes you happy;
  • give them a warning when things are going to change or about to happen, such as “you need to tidy up in 5 minutes” or “ you need to get ready for your bath just now” to avoid those tantrums.
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