Toddlers are characterized by increasing motor and sensory skills and inherent curiosity that constantly engage them in exploring the environment and getting caught in awkward positions. They have short attention spans and frequent mood swings that oscillate between a loving nature and instant temper tantrums. Their growing independence and affirmative interactions, often give rise to attention-getting tactics such as crying, pulling hair and biting someone. Only loving actions from significant adults can calm and pacify them. Given this scenario, your discipline laced with care and guidance will boost your child’s self-confidence and positive self-image.We have outlined a few strategies that will guide you in your child’s adjustment.
- Set some ground rules for your child at home or at public places. Repeat them as often as necessary, till your child understands you mean business.
- Make your house childproof, so that you give some leeway to your child.
- Be consistent with your expectations. Refrain from giving in to your child’s loud protests or that soulful look!
- Tell your child what to do instead of what not to do.
- Be proactive with your child as much as possible.Offer vigorous activities when needed and give choices with limited options to promote quick decisions. Give your child advance notice to allow a smooth transition from one to the next activity. Make sure to get down on the floor and play with him. Be a playmate and engage yourself in the play. Also, be firm while introducing new foods. Insist on tasting the food, till gradually your child gets used to it. Have some fun moments of sampling different tastes such as sour, sweet etc.
- Stay calm and avoid power struggles in all situations. If you get emotional, your child will test you, to find out how far he can go.
- Distract your child or redirect him to another activity when he is given to naughty behaviors. Exit the place with him, if you have to. In extreme situations such as running out into the street, hold your child first. If he is still not listening to you, just take him away from the scene. After calm is restored, explain in a simple way, the consequences of his actions and your reaction to the same.
Remember that a toddler wants to explore the environment and express his new found personality, after the confines of babyhood. Since he has not yet acquired all the necessary skills of childhood, it is up to you to provide some discipline and a safe environment to protect him and bring some order to his life.