Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Behave, Or Not To Behave, That Is The Toddler's Question


My toddler chooses to behave. YEP you read that right. Well since implementing tactics from my therapist who happens to also be an attachment parent, she does.

You may be like me (listened to all the books, websites, parents) & gave your toddler lots of choices. Choices build self esteem and self confidence. Choices on what to eat, what to wear, what fun activity to do, but have you given them a choice on how to behave? 2 year olds and toddlers in general are very strong willed, they want the control. Really its because their world & bodies are always changing they seek out control at an opportunity.

Let me give you some examples. Let me preface the below by saying get on their level or at the very least look them in the eye & say their name. I end most of the examples in this post with "what is your choice?" but you can end it with "you pick" something to that effect.

NAPS (most tantrumed activity in our house pre behavior choices)
"Ava, you can take a nap with the door open or I can shut it. What is your choice?"
"Ava, you can take a nap with mommy or all by yourself. What is your choice?"

Teeth Brushing
"Ava, You can say ahhhh all by yourself or I will have to help you open your mouth. You pick."

"Its Laura's turn, you can take turns with your friend or we can go home & take a nap. What is your choice?"
"Hitting is unacceptable behavior. If you're angry you can stomp your feet or go to your room. What is your choice?" -Ava hasn't hit but I know this is common for toddlers

"You must eat a vegetable you can pick broccoli or carrots what's your choice?"

Out (when we go x, your expectations are x, consequences are x & remember to follow through these are smart human beings small but smart)
"Ava at the grocery store you must sit in the cart or the boba to help me shop, if you don't, we will leave. What is your choice?"

So lets assume they don't make a choice you've given (it will happen) "Is that a choice?" "you're making poor (unacceptable) choices." "How can we behave?" If that doesn't work start the 1,2,3 in a non threatening manner "1,2,3 okay now its time to leave" remember follow through!!

Tantrums in our house have reduced from one every hour to maybe once a day on a bad day even then its super mild. I hope this post helps your toddler and your sanity. It has certainly helped mine.

1 comment:

  1. Oh thank you! I haven't many skills with dealing with this in an appropriate and beneficial way - I was raised with the "you do what I say you do" attitude and I see that it doesn't WORK but despite seeking different approaches I've not had any luck finding something that WILL! I am going to try this and have my husband try it as well - I love my son's spunk and zest for life I don't want to crush it So THANK YOU!!