The Toddler stage is one of my favourite! It’s hilarious, rewarding and demanding all at the same time, where your child can seem to be on an emotional rollercoaster, much like the teenage years.
The Toddler stage is the first step to independent thinking, views and feelings often without the ability to express themselves well or understand logic.
For the very first time they are experiencing strong emotions such as fear, shame, pride, embarrassment but also joy, excitement and love.
This can be a frustrating time for some and where some guidance is needed to learn behavioural skills which can also help promote a feeling of security.
How does a parent navigate this stage harmoniously?
The toddler stage is the transition period from baby to child and although communication lines are opening, negotiating and reasoning may not be quite there.
There are many approaches to Toddler behaviour and what may work for some may not work for others so I believe working with your child’s personality is important.
Though regardless of personality there are a few behavioural techniques I alway stick to..
1. Send a Clear Message
After an explanation “no” should always mean “no”and not a “no” and then a yes to appease a situation.
Being inconsistent will eventually lead to a “no“ being understood as a possibility or until I ask or cry long enough.
A clear message is shown by following through with any negotiation.
Don’t over use the word NO. Only use when you actually mean it. Use distraction instead of over using the words NO and Don’t.
Consistent routine, boundaries and rules all help Toddlers feel secure partly by understanding a clear message, although left to their own agenda they will stretch those boundaries as they start to become independent thinkers.
2. Practice positive behaviour management
Set aside time to listen, engage and for one-to-one quality time. You can also encourage positive behaviour by rewards, praise and enthusiasm.
3. Speech, Tone and Listen
Promote the voice you want to communicate in. Stay calm and ask your child to speak in a calm voice to communicate, negotiate or to indicate the problem. Listen to your child and always explain the reasons for your actions.
4. Teach Daily Breathing Techniques
Teaching breathing techniques as part of your daily routine at a time of relaxation, before bed or time set aside during focus play can help calm and refocus when your child hits a period of frustration and upset. It can also help diffuse an outburst quickly.
5. Use a reflection Area
Don’t look at a reflection area as discipline or a naughty step but as a place to calm, to breathe, reset and defuse a situation.
Often negative behaviour can keep on going from one problem to the next but by taking your child out of the situation to calm, use words and to break the cycle can be the quickest way to defuse. This could be a bottom step of the stairs or a chair in the next room.
My approach to Toddler behaviour is holistic and I will firstly look at your child’s daily routine to see if there is anything that can be tweaked to help promote a behaviour plan of action and will investigate any reason for the root of the behaviour.
Charmian Mead is a Baby & Toddler sleep consultant and a toddler Behavioural Specialist with over 27 years experience and is also a best selling author of the book – 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine Book.