Top 10 tactics for taming a toddler

  1. Ignore temper tantrums. In fact, stand back, smile bemusedly and watch. Be patient. It will end soon. (Don’t be embarrassed in public places – remain calm, speak quietly.)
  2. Distractions work . . .  toddlers are interested in everything!
  3. Provide choice any time you can. “Do you want to wear the red pants or the blue pants?
  4. Avoid too much choice – two possibilities is best.
  5. Speak simply. Avoid baby-talk. Use short sentences.
  6. Watch your tone of voice. Toddlers are sensitive to all manner of angry, loud and scary noises or words. Be clear about consequences while being kind and gentle. And watch your own swearing – they are masterful mimics!
  7. No sarcasm. Before the age of reason, the nuances of this type of humour are completely lost or misunderstood.
  8. Routines are very important especially around bedtime and eating. However, don’t become rigid. Allow flexibility in some areas once in a while.
  9. Distinguish behaviour from the child. “I don’t like what you did but I love you anyway.”
  10. Certain kinds of bribery work and are good. The good ones are called positive behavioural reinforcement. Choose carefully (not candy).
  11. Don’t wrap your child in bubble-wrap. They need to develop ‘grit’ by trying things, failing or falling down and picking themselves up again. You need to be nearby to kiss the boo-boo’s, but that is it.

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