Tips to a Better Toddler: Be the Change

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Toddlers are sponges.  Toddlers are mirrors.  Toddlers are spongy little mirrors.  (Shiny little sponges?)  They learn how to handle life by watching how the people around them handle life.  And believe me, they will not pick up on the one time you were gracious and patient if it was surrounded by selfish impatience.

In fact, I’ve noticed that they pick up on negative behaviors so much more quickly than positive.  All it takes is one angry outburst from me, and my toddler takes it as his license to do the same.

So, in order to see a change in your toddler, you will have to be that change you want to see.

They say it takes a month to set a habit.  So this won’t be easy.  And there will be set-backs.  But it will be worth it.

Step one:  Watch your toddler’s behavior carefully throughout the day and see if you can pick out which negative behaviors he gleaned from you.  When I pay attention to this, I’m always shocked how much I see.  And ashamed.

Step two:  Watch your own behavior and consciously make the effort to restrain from the actions you want to eliminate in your toddler.  In my case, this would be shouting, snapping, and being negative.  It takes a lot of concentration and self-awareness to talk calmly, smile more, and take time to understand the situation before responding.

If you are having difficulties remembering these changes in attitude, enlist the help of your spouse.

(They will be more than willing to help, I’m sure.)

Once you’ve become aware of your own shortcomings, you will not become perfect.  You are only aware of your mistakes.  And a great way to take advantage of this new awareness is to apologize to your toddler after you make a mistake.

In doing this, not only are you teaching your child that your action was inappropriate, but also to apologize when you’ve done something wrong.  Twofer!

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