13 Ways to Encourage Toddler Good Behavior

In addition to keeping the “don’t-touch” items out of the way, consider positive steps you can take to  encourage good behavior in your toddler.

1. Give Him His Own Drawer In The Kitchen

filled with interesting  items to  pull out, sort, and study, things like measuring spoons, plastic dishes, a  potato masher. Provide things of his own around the house that he can push,  pull, turn, and manipulate.


2. Give Him a Safe Outlet For Climbing

Let him experiment with  pouring water  in a dishpan outside or in a tub, or at the sink under your supervision.  Uncooked rice or oatmeal are easy-to-clean-up indoor substitutes for pouring  sand.


3. Place Child-Sized Furniture Around The House

to encourage the busy  toddler  to sit still longer and “work” at her own drawing table. A step stool will help  her reach the kitchen sink for hand washing, tooth brushing, and for “helping”  in the kitchen.


4. Program Your Day to Fit Your Child

It’s easier to shuffle your  daily  schedule around a bit than to change the temperament of your toddler. Do not set  yourself up for impossible struggles. You know your child best, and you will  learn, by trial and error, what works.


5. Use Wisdom When Shopping

When you shop with a toddler, be sure she  is  well-rested and well-fed, and be ready with a nutritious snack to keep her mind  off the cereal boxes, lettuce, and egg cartons. Be prepared to have it take  twice as long. Take your babysling along, or let baby ride in the cart. Have fun  and a short grocery list. If you’re in a hurry, feeling distracted or stressed,  shop without baby.


6. Plan Ahead

Know your child’s up and down times of the day. Most  toddlers  behave their best in the morning and their worst in late afternoon or just  before naptimes. Plan outings during what we call “easy times.” Martha finds  mornings one of the easiest times of the day to get our children to fit her  agenda. During “tough times” of the day, our toddlers stay at their homebase.


7. Anticipate Your Child’s Moods,/b>

Provide snacks, and lunch or supper  before  he gets ravenous. Sit down to share some quiet activity before he’s so wound up  he can’t fall asleep at night.


8. Provide Regular Routines

You don’t have to be a slave to a  schedule, but  toddlers need predictability: breakfast first, then get dressed; put on socks  and shoes, then go bye-bye; supper, quiet play, bath, brush teeth, then bedtime  stories. Routines give a child a sense of mastery.


9. Program Your Child to Fit Your Day

While children are not machines  set to behave according to the design of the parent engineer, there are simple ways to  channel little minds and bodies to make your day run smoother:


10. Provide a Rested Mind and Full Tummy

If you have no choice but to  take a  toddler to a place where it’s difficult to be a two-year-old, plan ahead.  Suppose you have a meeting with your older child’s schoolteacher at four o’clock  and you have to take along your two-year-old. Encourage your child to take a 1½  to 2 hour nap at 1:30, give a snack just before leaving home, and take along  some quiet but fascinating toys. Be sure your child has had lots of your  attention earlier in the day. This may help him behave better while you  concentrate on the meeting. Invite him to sit on your lap while you talk.


11. Provide Workable Playtimes

Life with a toddler can seem like a  roller-coaster ride unless you know what sets off the highs and the lows. Note what  prompts desirable behavior, and cut out what stirs turmoil. Some play  environments foster good behavior in your child and fewer hassles for you. Seek  out the ones that work; avoid the ones that don’t. It may be a who, when, and  how-many-playmates decision. Recognize who your child has the most fun with  (this may not be the child of your best friend) and the time of the day he plays  best. Does he play better one-on-one or beside two or three other mates? Most  toddlers do best playing alongside a carefully-selected playmate with a  compatible temperament. Many children under three are not developmentally ready  to play together cooperatively. Playgroups for toddlers work well when the  mothers are willing to be present and observant, and able to be involved as the  toddlers learn the social “ropes.” An alternative to same-age playmates would be  four-to-six-year-old playmates for your two-year-old. Older ones like playing  with “babies” and they won’t end up fighting.


12. Eliminate High-risk Toys

Plastic bats are great for solo play but  a  disaster in a group. Select age and temperament-appropriate toys. An impulsive  thrower needs soft toys, not metal cars that he can use as projectiles. If a toy  habitually excites squabbles among playing children, shelve it. Children under  three do not yet have the developmental capacity to share.


13. Busy the Bored Child

A bored child is a breeding ground for  trouble. Let  your child be busy with you. Sometimes play with her yourself; sometimes have  things for her to do on her own. The fourteen-to-eighteen-month-old will need  you a lot. After that, a toddler is more and more able to self-stimulate.


The bored child with a busy parent is a high-risk mismatch. Count on the old  standby: “Want to help Mommy?” Her “help” may slow you down, but this is less  time-consuming than dealing with an “unbusy” child.

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