Your toddlers are a bundle of joy and energy, but there are times you wonder how you can correct their behaviours and encourage cooperation.
Below are some of our expert tips on raising a happy and healthy toddler, and how you can become a more fulfilled parent!
Be an Active Listener and Role Model
In their developing years, your child is in the early phases of learning self-expressions and mimicking the actions of their adult role models. At this stage, it is important for parents to be mindful of your child’s behaviors and actively listen to what they have to say.
Pay attention, acknowledge ideas and conversations, and allow children to share their experiences.
Teamwork is a highly coveted skill that teaches children empathy. As we prepare your little toddlers for future successes and help them to integrate into the school curriculum, you should spend time with your child doing activities that foster teamwork and relationship.
From simple tasks like assigning small household chores to children or getting them to help their siblings or grandparents, your child learns that everyone is a team player and the family thrives with cooperative effort.
Set Ground Rules and Be Consistent with Discipline
Parents are children’s first teachers in life and hence are the best people to teach them what acceptable behaviors are. Establishing house rules helps children understand to be obedient within the set limits. This is helpful as they immerse into school life and grow into responsible adults.
As parents, you may restrict TV time from your toddler until they have finished their meals or limit the amount of time they have with digital gadgets. This not only allows them to develop self-control, but also lets them engage with the real world.
Being consistent despite tantrums and reluctance on your child’s part is integral in helping your kid learn about systems and consequences.
As your children leave the comfort of their home and find themselves in situations where they have to be self-sufficient (e.g. wiping and cleaning their hands after eating, taking their own water bottles), it is important for parents to instill independence in your children as they embark on their preschool milestone.
At home, you can encourage your children to have self-reliant behaviors like clearing their own plates and washing their own hands. Over time, they develop a sense of responsibility and independence and take initiative in doing things on their own.
Show Empathy and Patience
In your child’s early years, it is easy to be frustrated as they hone their communication skills and adopt social cues. For instance, parents tend to lose their cool when they are rushing their child for the school bus while they continue to take their time.
When children find their messages and behaviours not being understood in intended manner, they develop aggressive and anti-social behaviours. Therefore, it is important that parents exercise patience as children learn to verbalise their thoughts. Parents should always value their feelings and monitor your own emotional reactions to a child’s behaviour.
Give Appropriate Praises
Praising has a powerful effect on your growing child, who appreciates that their efforts and achievements are being recognised. This builds a heathy psychological mechanism within your child and boosts their self-confidence to persevere in times of challenges.
Compliment your child when they are practising good behaviours or doing good work. Genuine, effort-based praise for moments such as when your child independently packs their school bags, teach them that they are doing the right thing, and encourage them to continue the positive behaviour. As your child develops and hones their problem-solving strategies, the praises should be directed to their hard work, so as to push them to go farther.
Make Time for Your Children
As working parents, sometimes it is tough to spend quality time with your child and be present at every waking moment. However, experts in child development have shared the importance of quality time between parents and child, especially in the latter’s early years.
When parents schedule quality hours to bond with their child, the child receives the attention they require and feel appreciated and cared for. This reduces the chances of them acting out or misbehaving, due to a lack of affection.
Connecting with your little ones encourage them to open up and communicate with you. Playing card games, organising little outdoors activities or even enjoying an animated film together are things that you can bond with your child in.
To promote healthy child development, a child must be encouraged to play. Play allows children to exercise their creativity and in turn develop their imagination, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. It is also through play that children learn to engage and interact with the world around them.
Every day, allow children to play in a safe and supervised environment. Do not restrict them to participate only in structured, planned activities. Give them play dough, paint and paper, or even cardboard boxes and Lego bricks. Allow your child to drive and direct their own playing time, and watch your child discover their areas of interest and develop in creativity. This is integral to nurturing a healthy and confident child.
Every child is unique. As adult caregivers , it is important for you as to recognise their strengths and special traits and shower them with love and encouragements.
By comparing your child with their siblings or other children, they become discouraged and may even harbour ill feelings. Parents need to exercise patience and help children improve and avoid mistakes. Do not criticise them with negative language (including body language) against their peers. Instead, help your child to become better every day, rather than make it a competition with other kids.
Show Unconditional Love
As children develop and find their own identities, it is important to let them know that your love is unconditional even when they fail to meet expectations. When a child feels unconditionally loved, they are encouraged to improve, do better and is more likely to blossom.
When your child misbehaves, keep your anger in check and participate in effective intervention. Adopt a calm and loving tone as you guide them on the appropriate behaviours, point out the consequences that come with their actions and remind them of your love at the end of the day.
Stay connected with your child and acknowledge the fact that they are still immature and are prone to mistakes. Help your child understand that they can trust you and facilitate their growth.