In addition to keeping the "don't-touch" items out of the way, consider positive steps you can take to
encourage good behavior in your toddler.
1. Give Him His Own Drawer In The Kitchen
filled with interesting
pull out, sort, and study, things like measuring spoons, plastic dishes, a
potato masher. Provide things of his own around the house that he can push,
pull, turn, and manipulate.
2. Give Him a Safe Outlet For Climbing
Let him experiment with
in a dishpan outside or in a tub, or at the sink under your supervision.
Uncooked rice or oatmeal are easy-to-clean-up indoor substitutes for pouring
3. Place Child-Sized Furniture Around The House
to encourage the busy
to sit still longer and "work" at her own drawing table. A step stool will help
her reach the kitchen sink for hand washing, tooth brushing, and for "helping"
in the kitchen.
4. Program Your Day to Fit Your Child
It's easier to shuffle your
schedule around a bit than to change the temperament of your toddler. Do not set
yourself up for impossible struggles. You know your child best, and you will
learn, by trial and error, what works.
5. Use Wisdom When Shopping
When you shop with a toddler, be sure she
well-rested and well-fed, and be ready with a nutritious snack to keep her mind
off the cereal boxes, lettuce, and egg cartons. Be prepared to have it take
twice as long. Take your babysling along, or let baby ride in the cart. Have fun
and a short grocery list. If you're in a hurry, feeling distracted or stressed,
shop without baby.
6. Plan Ahead
Know your child's up and down times of the day. Most
behave their best in the morning and their worst in late afternoon or just
before naptimes. Plan outings during what we call "easy times." Martha finds
mornings one of the easiest times of the day to get our children to fit her
agenda. During "tough times" of the day, our toddlers stay at their homebase.
7. Anticipate Your Child's Moods,/b>
Provide snacks, and lunch or supper
he gets ravenous. Sit down to share some quiet activity before he's so wound up
he can't fall asleep at night.
8. Provide Regular Routines
You don't have to be a slave to a
toddlers need predictability: breakfast first, then get dressed; put on socks
and shoes, then go bye-bye; supper, quiet play, bath, brush teeth, then bedtime
stories. Routines give a child a sense of mastery.
9. Program Your Child to Fit Your Day
While children are not machines
set to behave according to the design of the parent engineer, there are simple ways to
channel little minds and bodies to make your day run smoother:
10. Provide a Rested Mind and Full Tummy
If you have no choice but to
toddler to a place where it's difficult to be a two-year-old, plan ahead.
Suppose you have a meeting with your older child's schoolteacher at four o'clock
and you have to take along your two-year-old. Encourage your child to take a 1½
to 2 hour nap at 1:30, give a snack just before leaving home, and take along
some quiet but fascinating toys. Be sure your child has had lots of your
attention earlier in the day. This may help him behave better while you
concentrate on the meeting. Invite him to sit on your lap while you talk.
11. Provide Workable Playtimes
Life with a toddler can seem like a
coaster ride unless you know what sets off the highs and the lows. Note what
prompts desirable behavior, and cut out what stirs turmoil. Some play
environments foster good behavior in your child and fewer hassles for you. Seek
out the ones that work; avoid the ones that don't. It may be a who, when, and
how-many-playmates decision. Recognize who your child has the most fun with
(this may not be the child of your best friend) and the time of the day he plays
best. Does he play better one-on-one or beside two or three other mates? Most
toddlers do best playing alongside a carefully-selected playmate with a
compatible temperament. Many children under three are not developmentally ready
to play together cooperatively. Playgroups for toddlers work well when the
mothers are willing to be present and observant, and able to be involved as the
toddlers learn the social "ropes." An alternative to same-age playmates would be
four-to-six-year-old playmates for your two-year-old. Older ones like playing
with "babies" and they won't end up fighting.
12. Eliminate High-risk Toys
Plastic bats are great for solo play but
disaster in a group. Select age and temperament-appropriate toys. An impulsive
thrower needs soft toys, not metal cars that he can use as projectiles. If a toy
habitually excites squabbles among playing children, shelve it. Children under
three do not yet have the developmental capacity to share.
13. Busy the Bored Child
A bored child is a breeding ground for
your child be busy with you. Sometimes play with her yourself; sometimes have
things for her to do on her own. The fourteen-to-eighteen-month-old will need
you a lot. After that, a toddler is more and more able to self-stimulate.
The bored child with a busy parent is a high-risk mismatch. Count on the old
standby: "Want to help Mommy?" Her "help" may slow you down, but this is less
time-consuming than dealing with an "unbusy" child.