Taming Toddlers: How To Encourage Your Little One to Behave

Child Wearing Daddys ShoesToddlers are impulsive by nature. You can’t blame them–they’re hardwired to explore, get into things, test limits and say “No!” to your requests. But, even though this is natural toddler behavior, there are many things you can do to encourage the good stuff and minimize the bad.

Give Toddlers (Their Own) Space

Instead of always saying “Don’t touch this!” or “Keep your hands off that!”, provide your child with his own space. A drawer in the kitchen he can get into will work wonders. Just be sure to rotate the contents so he doesn’t get bored. You’ll learn quickly that with toddlers you really have to give a little to avoid a lot (read: a huge tantrum!).

Plan Ahead

If shopping with your 2-year-old is a nightmare, either avoid the situation completely (have your partner watch her while you make the shopping trip), or prepare ahead. Bring some toys, some snacks and other tools of distraction.

Adjust your expectations

I think one of the reasons we get so frustrated with toddlers is that we expect too much from them. I mean, pretend you’re 2 and you’re set free in a huge store with lots of colors and commotion. Why would you want to sit still when you can run and touch everything? Be prepared for your shopping to take twice as long.

Anticipate moods

Bring snacks and avoid going out when your baby is tired. Sounds simple, right?

Provide a way to climb

Children love to climb. That’s why playgrounds are so popular–they’re an outlet for climbing. Instead of yelling “Hey get down!” you must appease your toddler’s appetite to climb, at least once in a while. Make regular trips to the playground and library.

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About Sarah Valek

Sarah Valek is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She has written numerous articles on alternative parenting and the challenges of raising a vegan child in a meat-eating world. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and art from Ithaca College. She spends her days drinking soy lattes and taking her son bird-watching.