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Parenting a toddler is an exciting and rewarding experience.
However, raising a child can also be one of the most challenging and exhausting times for parents as they must learn to navigate their child’s ever-changing needs, emotions, and behaviors.
Toddlerhood doesn’t have to be a stressful time for parents.
Instead, it should be a time of collaboration between the parents and the child to help your toddler learn what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.
These 13 toddler parenting tips should help living with a young child more manageable and enjoyable, no matter your parenting style.
Toddler Parenting Tip: Use Positive Language
It’s essential to use positive, encouraging language when speaking with your toddler.
Speak in a calm and loving tone and avoid harsh words that could lead to emotional distress.
Instead of focusing on what they are doing wrong, think about the desired outcome for their behavior and frame it as a way of helping them do better.
Praise them for what they do correctly and gently guide them if something needs to be corrected.
Using this positive parenting tactic will help foster a trusting relationship with your toddler by showing them that you believe in their abilities.
Praise Desired Behavior
Praising good behavior is an integral part of parenting a toddler.
It reinforces the idea that their actions are right and encourages them to continue.
Not only does it provide emotional satisfaction for your toddler, but it can also help to reinforce appropriate behaviors.
Similarly, make sure to give attention when your toddler does something right.
This could be as simple as stopping what you’re doing and giving them your undivided attention or offering words of affirmation or physical contact like a hug or pat on the back.
Giving them this attention and affirmation will show them that their efforts are being noticed and appreciated and that their behavior matters.
Establish Family Routines
Establishing family routines such as preparing and eating meals together daily can create a stable environment for your toddler.
It provides them with consistency, security, and predictability, which is essential for their development.
Making meals can be a fun activity for the entire family, and it’s also an opportunity to teach your toddler about healthy eating habits at an early age.
Teach your child about practical life activities and have your toddler get involved in simple chores.
For example, they can help lay out ingredients, pour measuring cups of water or oil, stir ingredients in a bowl, set the table, and more. Plus, it gives you quality time bonding with your toddler while making something delicious!
Foster Your Toddler’s Sense of Curiosity in Safe and Healthy Ways
Growing up, children have a natural curiosity toward the world around them.
It’s essential to nurture this curiosity in your toddler, as it is a natural part of your child’s development.
To help foster your child’s sense of curiosity:
- Provide them with creative outlets that are both safe and healthy.
- Instead of saying no all the time, introduce them to activities stimulating their intellectual development, such as reading stories together, playing educational games, or experiencing the outdoors with nature walks.
- Encourage them to explore their environment and provide opportunities for gross motor activities such as playing with a pikler triangle or at an outdoor playground.
- Allow your toddler to express themselves by providing craft materials for painting and drawing, musical instruments for making sounds, etc.
- When your toddler is curious about something new, listen and respond positively; this helps boost their self-confidence and strengthen the bond between you two.
Give Simple, Clear Directions
When teaching your child how to listen and follow instructions, it’s important to provide simple directions.
Speak calmly and clearly, using words that are easy for them to understand.
Start with one instruction at a time and keep it brief.
Give them time to process the information instead of giving multiple instructions.
Be patient – toddlers have short attention spans and may not always be able to follow through on a direction right away.
Praise their efforts when they try, even if they don’t get it perfect the first time.
Show patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement – these techniques will help encourage your toddler’s listening skills over time.
Use Consequences for Unwanted Behavior in a Consistent Manner
Consistency is key when it comes to disciplining children and teaching little ones right from wrong.
First, establish clear rules and expectations so your children know what is expected of them.
Then, tell them what the expectations and the consequences are for breaking the rules – this way, they will learn how to control their behavior.
Make sure to apply the same consequences every time so your child understands that they will not be tolerated or rewarded if they misbehave.
When using consequences for bad behavior, make sure it does not feel like punishment to your child but rather a natural consequence for their behavior.
Additionally, provide plenty of positive reinforcement when they behave appropriately – give them praise, hugs, and encouragement to ensure they follow through with desired behaviors.
With consistency in rewards and consequences, your toddler will begin to understand what’s expected of them in any given situation.
Provide Plenty of Opportunities for Playtime, Both Indoors and Outdoors
Playtime is essential in helping young children develop a range of life skills.
Providing plenty of opportunities for them to play indoors and outdoors will help them improve their physical abilities and strengthen their social and communication skills.
Encourage your toddler to explore their environment through fun activities such as playing with a balance bike, building structures with blocks, or painting with watercolors.
These activities can help promote creativity and stimulate cognitive development.
If your child has an older sibling or other children in the vicinity, consider having group playdates so that your child can practice cooperation and teamwork.
Playing games together or engaging in activities like storytelling are also great ways to foster your toddler’s social skills while giving them plenty of learning experiences.
Spend Quality One-on-One Time With Each Parent Regularly
Quality time spent with each parent is key to helping your toddler feel secure and loved in the family unit.
Whether reading a book before bed, going on regular walks, or playing a game together, spending one-on-one time with both mom and dad regularly will help foster their sense of security and build closer bonds.
Make sure each parent has alone time with the toddler and provides the child with plenty of affection, so they understand that they are loved and supported by both parents individually.
These bonding moments also allow you to talk and get to know your toddler better, which can help you better understand how they think and how best to meet their needs.
Providing an environment for them to engage in discussions actively is beneficial for their overall growth and development – not just emotionally but intellectually.
Encourage Independence by Allowing Them To Do Age-appropriate Tasks on Their Own
Encouraging independence is a key part of toddler development and may help reduce the feeling of frustration for your toddler.
Allowing them to take the initiative in tasks such as getting dressed or brushing their teeth is a great way to promote self-confidence and autonomy.
However, it’s important to assist if needed – don’t expect perfection immediately.
For example, if your child needs help zipping their jacket or putting on shoes, offer guidance but also let them try doing it for themselves.
Doing small tasks independently can empower toddlers, so make sure to give them ample opportunities and help if needed along the way.
Modeling this behavior is essential – when you’re brushing your teeth or getting ready in the morning, let them watch and observe what you’re doing.
By engaging in these activities together, your child will gain the confidence to do things independently.
Be Patient With Your Toddler
Patience is essential when dealing with toddlers still learning to communicate effectively.
As parents and caregivers, we should be willing to take the time to help our children learn how to express themselves adequately.
It can be challenging for toddlers to find the right words or the best way to share their thoughts and feelings.
We should be open-minded and understanding when listening to our children’s attempts at communication, even if they are not perfectly articulated.
Being patient and responding with kindness will help our children feel safe and supported as they learn how to express themselves healthily.
Furthermore, we may need to offer assistance by using more straightforward vocabulary or helping them use more appropriate body language while talking.
As our children grow and develop their communication skills, we should look for opportunities to encourage positive communication habits, such as taking turns in conversations and using polite language.
Being patient with toddlers as they learn to communicate effectively is key to helping them become confident communicators who understand the importance of expressing themselves respectfully.
Allow for Natural Consequences
Allowing for natural consequences can be an essential lesson for toddlers.
For example, if they don’t want to wear shoes outside, let them experience the discomfort of walking on hot pavement or cold grass without shoes.
This will teach them why it’s important to wear shoes outside and give them the understanding that “no shoes” means uncomfortable situations.
Of course, always ensure your child is in a safe environment and that any natural consequence does not have lasting impacts.
Natural consequences should inform your child about why certain activities are necessary – like wearing shoes outdoors – without harming their self-esteem or well-being.
Model Appropriate Behavior
As parents and caregivers, we know that toddlers learn best from examples.
Modeling appropriate behavior is one of the most effective ways to teach children how to interact with others respectfully and responsibly.
We can set an excellent example for our children by using polite language, displaying patience when interacting with others, and showing respect for those around us.
It is important to remember that our children are always watching and learning from us, so it is essential that we act as a role-model to our children and that we act in the way we want our children to emulate.
By modeling appropriate behavior, we can help our toddlers develop the necessary skills to interact with others positively.
We should strive to be consistent in our behavior and use positive reinforcement when they do something right.
Modeling appropriate behavior can sometimes be challenging, but it is an invaluable tool in teaching our children how to interact with others respectfully.
By setting a good example ourselves, you can raise your kids to grow up into well-rounded individuals who understand the importance of treating people with kindness and respect.
Offer Choices to Your Toddler
Offering choices to toddlers can be an excellent way for parents and caregivers to guide them while allowing their children the freedom to make decisions.
In addition, giving toddlers options gives them a sense of independence and empowerment, which is essential in helping them develop their autonomy.
By providing choices, we can help our toddlers learn to make decisions and be responsible for their actions.
Offering choices also allows us to guide our children without controlling them.
For example, we can provide our children with two or three safe options that we have approved, enabling them to choose which one they prefer.
This way, we still offer boundaries, but our children have some control over the outcome.
Giving toddlers options helps them feel respected and heard while still having parental guidance.
It is important to remember that it is never too early to start teaching our children how to make good decisions, so offering choices when possible is an excellent way for parents and caregivers to do just that.
This article originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Arnie is the founder and creator of ArnieNicola.com, a website resource for first time moms about pregnancy and motherhood. She is a CPA and a financial analyst by trade, and writes articles and runs her blog on the side. When she is not working or blogging, you can find her running after her very active toddler.