Archive | Toddler Behaviour

How To Deal With An Unruly Child

Being unruly is part of toddler development. But if it is becoming a problem for you, your child and the people around him, what’s a parent to do? Follow these tips on how to deal with an unruly child.

Set Clear Limitations

Your toddler needs to know what is expected of him. Give clear cut rules in words your toddler can comprehend. But do not make the list too long or your little one will not remember any single rule. Saying “Do not do things that are not safe.”, “Do not be mean to people.” and “You have to finish your homework before playing.” are good examples. Once rules have been set, make sure you stick to them. Being consistent will make your unruly child respect your rules.

Never Give In

Another effective technique on how to deal with an unruly child is standing firm. Do not let your guard down. Remember that toddlers are being unruly because they want to test their parents and see if they will follow through with the consequence. If you are out with your toddler and he starts whining because he wants a new toy (again), say “Keep quiet.”. If he ups the ante and starts a full blown meltdown, do not cave in. Stay calm and ignore your toddler (even if you are embarrassed). Your unruly child will eventually give up because he knows you will not pay him any attention.

Make A Few Threats

Make a small number of threats and carry through on those you do make. It is effortless to tell your toddler that he cannot watch TV if he does not clean his room, but when you do not hold on to that threat, you are conveying a message that you do not really mean what you say. As a result, he will only disobey you. So if you are not good at keeping threats, then do not try making them.

Have Reasonable Consequences

One way to deal with an unruly child is to give consequences. No, you do not have to use corporal punishment to discipline an unruly toddler. But rather, create consequences that directly connect with your toddler. For instance, if he likes playing outside, have him stay inside the house if he misbehaves. Or, put him in time-out for talking back.

Bond With Your Toddler

Make an effort to spend more time with your toddler. One reason why a toddler is unruly is because he longs for his parents’ attention. Eat breakfast together. Let him tag along when you run errands. Allow him to do his homework at the dining table while you prepare dinner. Read him a book during bedtime. Talk about your day. Bonding with your toddler creates a sense of closeness and may reduce unruly behaviour that stems from insecurity and longing for affection.

Praise Good Behaviour

This may be a cliché but offering positive reinforcement encourages a child to repeat a good behaviour. Do not just focus on the times he is being unruly, commend him when he does something good. A hug, kiss, cooking his favorite food for dinner and uttering “Thank you for cleaning your room.” have a huge impact in making a toddler feel appreciated.

Dealing with an unruly child can be frustrating. But with a little time, lots of patience and practice, you can help your toddler behave appropriately.

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Tips For Teaching Tolerance In Toddlers

We are living in a world that is surrounded by differences. If you want your toddler to be open and accepting, you need to teach your child how to be tolerant. Here are some tips you can follow for teaching tolerance in toddlers.

Be A Role Model

The best way you can teach your toddler this important value is to be an example of tolerance. Be mindful of your attitude, the way you speak and talk to others. Children love to imitate their parents, so if you show your toddler the right way to deal with people no matter what race or background they come from, he will also learn to accept and respect them.

Talk About Differences Respectfully

Take the time to explain things to your toddler. Discuss diversity – race, hair color, skin color, religion, traditions, beliefs, etc. in a realistic and informative manner. Avoid name-calling even if you are just joking as this will give your toddler an idea that stereotyping is okay. Tell your toddler that it is good that people are different as it makes the world more interesting. Do not forget to talk about the differences in your family as well. Encourage him to ask questions and make sure to answer them honestly.

Expose Your Toddler

Give your toddler an opportunity to interact with children from different groups. Enroll him in a class, workshop, day camp or daycare center. Visit museums. Travel with your toddler. This new experience will broaden your child’s mind and help him understand the world.

Read books, listen to music and watch TV shows about different cultures. Together, you can learn about the history, holidays, celebrations and lifestyle that are not part of your own practices. A word of caution – the media is a very influential tool in shaping the mind of people, especially children so make sure you select your resources carefully.

Honour Your Family’s Traditions

It is also important to teach your toddler about your own background. Talk about your ancestors. Teach your family practices to your child. Doing so helps your toddler to feel proud of his roots.

Encourage Self-confidence

Everyone knows that people who feel badly about themselves often treat others disrespectfully. Each time your toddler shows respect, compliment him for a job well done. Small rewards such as giving your little one a hug and a kiss, cooking his favorite food for dinner or extending his time at the playground are good ways to show your appreciation. If he feels good about himself, he will be more likely to display tolerance towards others.

Do Not Be Afraid To Reprimand

Whenever you see your toddler being intolerant, call him out to make him aware of his misbehaviour. Never ignore it. If you hear him say slang words which can offend others, say “What you said was not good baby. It can hurt others. You do not want to hurt others don’t you?”.

It is your responsibility to teach your toddler proper behaviour. Thus, it is important that you lead by example and make him aware of people’s differences so you can help him grow into a well-mannered and well-informed individual.

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Toddler Biting – How To Stop This Habit

Most toddlers go through a biting phase at some point. While this habit is common and temporary, it is still important that you put an end to it as early as possible. Here are some tried and tested tips on how to stop toddler biting.

Pinpoint The Cause

The first step to stopping this habit is to understand the reason behind the behaviour. Maybe your toddler bites because he is undergoing a transition (e.g. teething), upset, bored, lacks attention or it is his way of exploration, self-expression and self-defense. When you become familiar with your toddler’s actions, you can gain understanding about the causes which can help you stop your child from biting in the future.

Recognize The Habit

Whenever you see your toddler bite, tell your little one to stop. This will make him aware of his action. Remove your toddler from the situation, get down at his level, look him in the eye, express your disapproval in a clear and firm voice and say “Stop biting. Biting is not good.”. If this does not work, take your toddler somewhere quiet to calm down.

Talk To Your Toddler

Explain why biting is not good. Use one or two short sentences to make sure your toddler understands you. For instance, if your toddler bites because he does not want to give his toy to his playmate, say , “Biting hurts. We do not bite. If you do not want David to get your toy car, you can hold on tight and say ‘Mine.’”. Or, you may also try reading a book about biting (try Teeth Are Not For Biting by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen) during story time.

Offer A Substitute

Another effective technique is to offer a biting substitute or a “biting toy” such as a washcloth or a teething toy. Tie the toy or cloth to his hand or clothing so every time he wants to take a bite, your little one will bite on his teething toy or washcloth instead of biting you or his playmate. Eventually, your toddler will not find biting so amusing anymore because he is not getting any attention or reaction from the toy.

Teach Your Toddler How To Express His Feelings

Oftentimes, children bite because they have not developed the verbal skills to communicate their emotions. If your toddler wants to show affection, teach him to hug or kiss. Likewise, if he feels angry or frustrated, teach him to hold his hand up to tell somebody to stop or he can say “I do not want to.” or “I am mad.”. Practice this new skill together until he can effectively use it on his own.

Comfort The Victim

If your toddler bit his older brother, go to him and say “I am sorry. That must have hurt. What can I do to  help?”. Doing so shows your toddler that what he did was wrong while at the same time teaching him how to show compassion. Or, you can encourage your toddler to soothe the victim.

Remember, changing a habit does not happen overnight. It takes time, so be patient. Most of all, never forget to praise your toddler each time he does something good.

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Five Little Behaviour Problems In Children Parents Should Not Ignore

Parenting is such an overwhelming duty. As a result, parents are tempted to overlook petty behaviour problems in children which often lead to bigger behavioural conflicts. Here are 5 toddler misbehaviours you should never ignore.

Problem # 1: Using Tantrums As A Means of Emotional Expression

Think your toddler’s snippy tone, screaming, whining and crying are okay because it is his way of communicating his emotions? Think again. Most often, parents dismiss this kind of behaviour because they think it is just a fleeting phase. However, if you do not confront it as early as now, you may find yourself dealing with an ill-mannered 3-year old who has a hard time getting along with other children.

Solution

Give your toddler a head’s up each time he displays a rude behaviour. Tell him, for example, “When you scream at me, it seems as if you do not respect me.”. But, if this trick does not work, ignore your toddler whenever he throws a fit. Once your child realizes he will not get a reaction from you, he will stop. You can also try distracting your toddler by giving him crayons and papers to help him release his emotions in a more positive way. If all else fails, implement the time-out method. Leave your toddler alone in a safe area for a few minutes. When the time is up, go to him and then talk about what he did wrong and ask him what he should do next time.

Problem # 2: Interrupting Conversations

Toddlers love to talk, even when their parents are on the phone or talking to someone. Though this misbehaviour is unintentional, if you tolerate it, your toddler will become insensitive of other’s privacy.

Solution

Inform your toddler that you will talk or visit someone so he knows he should not interrupt you. Then give him a quiet activity such as coloring a book or assembling a jigsaw puzzle to keep him entertained. You can also use hand signals such as holding up one finger or pointing to a chair to let him know that you will listen to him once you are done talking.

Problem # 3: Being Too Aggressive

It is never correct when your toddler hits, slaps, kicks or punches anyone. Rough behaviour is a difficult issue to resolve so it is best to stop the misbehaviour as early as possible.

Solution

Grab your toddler aside, look him in the eye and tell him (in a firm and clear manner) that punching his playmate is not correct. Follow it up with a question like, “How would you feel if he did that to you?”. Consistently remind him to be gentle. Help him practice friendly behaviour by role playing at home.

Problem # 4: Pretending Not To Hear You

Telling your toddler what to do over and over again before he does it sends the message that it is okay to ignore you. Remember, toddlers often do this because they want to test their parents. So if you tolerate it, the more your child will be defiant.

Solution

Avoid talking to your toddler from across the room. Walk over and tell him what he has to do. If he is in front of the TV, switch it off so his attention is on you. If he does not follow, give a consequence.

Problem # 5: Being A Picky Eater

Food battles are common between toddlers and parents. However, being a picky eater is not a good trait to have especially when your child reaches puberty.

Solution

Compromise. Tell your toddler that he can only have a cookie after he eats some of his vegetables. Or, make a deal that if he eats his veggies during dinner for 5 days, he can plan the family menu for Saturday. Furthermore, do not force him to clear his plate. It is better for him to eat a few servings of broccoli than not eat them at all.

It is very hard to change a bad behaviour. Hence, you have to deal with your toddler’s misbehaviours immediately so you can save you and your toddler from future trouble.

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Toddler Behaviour – Understanding Your Child’s Weird Actions

Toddlers are unpredictable beings. One minute they are in a good mood and then the next, they are acting strange and crying their eyes out. Here is a guide to help you understand toddler behaviour.

Your Toddler Avoids Eye Contact

What It Means

When a toddler does not look someone in the eye, he either feels overwhelmed or guilty. For instance, if it is his birthday and he is receiving gifts, your toddler may not be able to look at you because he is excited. Or, if he knows you are angry because he forgot to put his toys back in the cabinet, he may look at the wall or somewhere else because he feels guilty or embarrassed.

What You Can Do

Wave your hand or place his favorite toy in his line of vision to catch your toddler’s attention. Recognize his misbehaviour using short, simple sentences – “We do not scatter our toys.” and then help him make it right. This helps him understand that everyone commits mistakes, but it is important to take steps to mend the damage. Explain to your child that making eye contact shows he is polite, respectful and paying attention to what the other person is saying. Constantly remind him and praise him when he remembers.

Your Toddler Throws A Tantrum

What It Means

It is shocking when your usually sweet child transforms into a total brat – hitting, screaming and throwing things. These reactions are a toddler’s way to tell you he is bored, hungry, tired or needs attention. It can also indicate that something is bothering him.

What You Can Do

Figure out what is going on. If he is throwing a tantrum because he is bored, go to the park or plan a daytrip. If he wants attention, do a fun activity with him. Talk to your toddler. If he misbehaves for no reason, put him in time-out, withhold his privilege or just ignore him. This sends a clear message that you will not tolerate bad behaviour.

Your Toddler Raises His Shirt Over His Head or Hides Behind Furnitures

What It Means

When toddlers do this, it can only mean one thing – they are nervous. Toddlers are still developing their social skills, hence, they feel anxious when meeting new people.

What You Can Do

Reassure your toddler that everything is okay. Relax, say “Hello.” to people and smile. Give his hands a tight, comforting squeeze. This lets him feel that he is in a secure and friendly place. Do not pressure him to interact, give him time to warm up.

Your Toddler Takes All His Toys To Bed

What It Means

The main reason why toddlers do this is because they are scared. A child’s imagination is at its highest during toddlerhood. He may think monsters will creep into his room or he may have night terrors and keeping comfort items nearby makes your toddler feel safe.

What You Can Do

Saying monsters are not real will not work, so just let your toddler surround himself with as many familiar objects he needs. Or, give him a monster spray and ask him to use it before he sleeps or whenever he feels scared. Put up a “No monsters allowed.” sign on his door. Install a nightlight in his room.

Understanding a toddler’s behaviour is not always easy. But, as long as you pay attention, you can help crack and handle the toddler behaviour code.

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Top Ten Child Fears and Ways To Eliminate Them

Toddlers love exploring their world which can cause fears. Hence, it is essential for parents to help their toddlers deal with child fears. Here is a guide to help you out.

Fear # 1: The Dark

Being in the dark makes children feel vulnerable because they cannot see what is out there. Combat your toddler’s fear of the unknown by teaching your little one how to turn on the lights in the house, particularly in his room. Install a nightlight. Go on a night stroll together and talk about all the new and fascinating things you can see in the dark.

Fear # 2: Monsters

“Mommy, I do not want to sleep in my room. There is a monster under my bed.”. Toddlers have imaginative minds so even if the two of you look under the bed together and find no monster, your toddler will assert that the monster will be back after you leave his room. Keep his bedroom door ajar or turn on a nightlight. Make a “No monsters allowed!” sign and place it on his door. Give him a “monster spray” (just fill a spray bottle with water) and ask him to spray his room before sleeping so no monster can hurt him.

Fear # 3: Night Terrors

There are times when toddlers wake up in the middle of the night screaming and frightened. To vanish this, decrease your child’s stress by not overstimulating him during the day. Create a calming bedtime routine. Use a low, soothing voice and say comforting words to help him go back to sleep.

Fear # 4: Bathrooms and Toilets

Your toddler might believe he will go down the drain or fall in the toilet. Help him overcome this fear by giving him bathing products such as bath tints (to change the color of the water), bath crayons or bath foam letters. Place his favorite toys in the bath so he can wash them while you are shampooing his hair. Ask your toddler to put tissue paper in the toilet and have him flush it. Use a step stool or place a potty seat.

Fear # 5: Separation

Toddlers feel anxious when mommy and daddy leave because they feel neglected. Have a quick goodbye routine. Parents who sneak away only heighten their children’s separation anxiety. Give him a hug and a kiss. Tell him to enjoy his day and that you will come back before he knows it.

Fear # 6: Costumed Characters

They are big, weird-looking and strange. Ease this fear by playing dress-up with your toddler. Read books featuring clowns and mascots. Most importantly, do not force your child to interact with the costumed character. Give him time.

Fear # 7: Animals

Animals are random creatures. One minute they look so innocent and then the next, they are ready to pounce. Let your toddler watch you while you play with your pet, rub your pet’s ears or give it food. Read animal books or watch children’s programs about animals.

Fear # 8: Doctors

Children dread doctor visits because they dislike pain and the unknown. To erase this, explain to your toddler what he should expect and what will happen. Ask him about his apprehensions and reassure him mommy will be by his side all the time. Pretend play at home and take turns playing doctor and patient. Bring a few toys while waiting for your toddler’s turn to keep him busy. Afterwards, praise him or give a small reward for being brave.

Fear # 9: Strangers

This fear is normal because it teaches children not to talk to strangers. However, if your toddler only wants to stick to you and does not interact even with his cousins and friends, something must be done quickly. Stay by his side while he mingles with his peers. Organize a play date with your neighbour’s kids. Enroll him in a class.

Fear # 10: Loud Noises

Thunder, howling, toilet flush and vacuums produce loud noises which can be upsetting to toddlers. Acknowledge his fear and assure him that loud sounds will not hurt him. Carry him in your arms while you visit the source of the noise and laugh to prove he will stay safe.

Easing your child’s fears is very important for proper development. Follow the tips above to make your job easier.

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What To Do When Your Toddler Has A Potty Mouth

As your toddler’s vocabulary continues to expand, there will be times he will utter a few words that are just too mortifying to hear. Here are some tips on how to tame your toddler’s potty mouth and save yourselves from embarrassment once and for all.

Set A Good Example

One of the best ways to keep your toddler from using inappropriate language is by controlling your own words. Children love imitating people, especially their parents. So if your toddler hears you say it, he is going to try it. Even if you are angry, this is not a reason to curse. Know how to handle your feelings in the heat of the moment so you will not have any regrets once you have calmed down. But in case you unintentionally cuss in front of your little one, replace it with another catchy word. Say “Beep.”, “Peanut butter!” or invent a new word like “Boccalocca!”. Do not forget to say your substitute word with just as much emotion.

Create A Swearing Jar

Whenever mom, dad, your child or any family member utters a swear word, have them drop a quarter or dollar into a jar. This is an effective strategy that will stop anyone’s potty mouth.

Always Keep A Straight Face

A toddler who uses foul words is looking for a reaction from his parents. He may think the word is funny or saying it makes him cool. So if your toddler says “Stinky pants.”, do not laugh nor get mad as this will only reinforce your little one to say the words more often. Turn the other ear. Sooner or later, he will stop cussing because you did not give it the time of day.

Establish Consequences

If your toddler’s potty mouth becomes an ongoing problem, it is time to set consequences – withholding privileges, giving him a time out or washing the mouth with soap. Make sure to implement it. This way, your toddler will understand that what he is doing is not making you happy.

Explain

Talk to your toddler. Figure out the source and his reasons for using cuss language. If he heard them on a TV show, monitor the television programs your toddler watches or watch TV together. If he heard it from his playmates, ask him if he knows what it means, but do not correct him. Instead of saying, “Baby, saying you are stupid is not nice.”, say, “Oh my, I heard your teddy using potty talk. What should teddy do instead?”. This way, your toddler is giving a lesson to someone else which helps him better develop empathy.

Provide A Distraction

Play games with your toddler. Dare your toddler to think of words that rhyme with the cuss word. If he keeps saying “Damn it.”, he can say “Bam it.”, “Game it.” or “Slam it.”. Or ask him to think of words that start with the same letter. Ultimately, your toddler will disregard the “word” because he is too preoccupied thinking of other words.

When all else fails, talk to you toddler so you can get to the bottom of his misbehaviour. Your child might have a bigger problem that needs professional help.

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Teaching An Ungrateful Child To Be Grateful

Toddlers are naturally self-centered beings. They love testing their limits and have a hard time understanding that not everything is about them. Thus, it is very essential for a parent to teach an ungrateful child to be thankful. Here are some simple tips you can start using now.

Practice Saying Please and Thank You

Teach your toddler to say “Please.” each time he asks for something and “Thank you.” whenever he receives something. These two words may be small but they are valuable ways to show gratefulness and keep the thoughtfulness mood rolling. Small gestures of niceness can become infectious.

Make It A Part of Your Daily Conversation

There are so many thinks to be thankful about every day. Make “thanking” a part of the day by asking each family member what they are thankful for during dinnertime conversations. Say grace at the table. Make bedtime prayers a part of your toddler’s nighttime routine. Give hugs and kisses. Even if it is as mundane as appreciating how the sky was so clear today, the sentiment will rub off on your toddler.

Create A Gratitude Journal

Give your toddler a small journal and a special pencil so he can make a list of all the things he feels thankful for in his life. Have him write in his journal every day. Training your toddler to be appreciative from the start will create lifelong habits. Plus, during tough days, his journal will serve as his reminder of all the great things he has been blessed with.

Teach Acts of Kindness

Teach your little one to share, open the door for a stranger, help an elderly carry things, and pick up trash from the sidewalk. Assign him simple household chores such as setting the table, piling dirty dishes in the dishwasher or feeding the dog. These small gestures teach your toddler the importance of helping other people and realize that all these things require effort.

Let Your Toddler Help

Encourage him to donate his old clothes and toys to your local family center. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, your local Red Cross office, clothing banks and churches. This will make your toddler realize that not all children are privileged enough to have clothes to wear, a home, food on their table and can go to school, which will teach him to value things.

Praise and Reprimand Appropriately

Every time your toddler performs an act of compassion, commend him. Say you are proud of him or plan a special day trip. Knowing he made you happy and that you are grateful makes your toddler feel good. At the same time, if your toddler insists on buying a new toy even if you just bought him one last week, make sure to let him know. Say, “I know you love toys, but remember, we had an agreement, no more toys for this month. Maybe next month you can have another one.”.

Lead By Example

A parent is a child’s role model so make sure to practice what you preach. Always say “please” and “thank you”. Bring your toddler to the supermarket and have him help you buy food for a local food drive. If he sees you doing something good, he will be inspired to do the same thing.

Having a sense of gratitude is an important quality everyone should have since it is an important factor that will help an individual succeed in life.

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Anger Management In Children

Anger is a normal emotion everyone feels every now and then. However, if it is not addressed correctly, anger can turn into violence which can be very detrimental, especially to a child’s development, health and relationships. This guide about anger management in children will help you out.

Model Good Behaviour

The best way to teach your toddler how to deal with anger constructively is to lead by example. If your little one sees you becoming irritated while waiting in line or speaking rudely to your household help, he will assume that anger is an acceptable behaviour. Choose the right words and actions to express anger the proper way. For instance, instead of shouting at him because he keeps on playing with his food, say, “Mommy is angry right now. For the last time, stop playing with your food or you will go into time-out.”.

Promote Self-expression

All too often, toddlers display anger by showing aggression (e.g. screaming, biting, hitting or throwing things) because they do not have the words to show their emotions. Talk to your toddler about his feelings. Ask him what happened, how he feels and what he wants to do about it. Better yet, teach him this statement: “I am feeling ________ when ________ because ________.” This way, every time he feels angry, he can identify his feelings and handle his anger better, making it easier for him to manage this emotion.

Teach Your Toddler How To Relax

It is very important for children to learn how to deal with anger. Teach your toddler ways to cool off. Tell your toddler that each time he feels angry, he should walk away, count to ten, take slow deep breaths and do a relaxing activity (e.g. drawing, coloring or writing in a journal) and come back once he has cooled off. Redirecting one’s thoughts is the best way to calm down so one can think with a level head.

Teach Your Toddler To Resolve Problems

Once your toddler has calmed down, it is time to face the problem. Teach him to solve problems in four easy steps – stop the action, listen, come up with solutions and decide which option is best. Give him different scenarios so he can practice the steps.

Instil The Value of Sympathy

Teach your toddler to empathize and be forgiving of others. Empathy can help your little one feel less irate and annoyed by letting him understand the situation from a different point of view which helps your toddler treat others compassionately. For example, if your toddler is arguing with his playmate because the other child will not share his toy, ask him, “Why do you think your playmate does not want to share?” or “If you were your playmate, would you share your toy?”.

Help Your Toddler Identify The Symptoms

Teach your toddler to spot the signs that warn him he is getting mad. If your toddler’s cheeks get flushed, his eyes widen, if he scrunches his fists or he breathes faster, point them out to him by saying, “Baby, your clenching your fist. Do you feel angry right now?”. The earlier he recognizes the signs, the sooner he can calm himself down.

Teaching anger management in toddlers is not easy. But with a little patience and practice, you can train your child the right way to handle anger and help him deal with different people and circumstances without making his blood boil.

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Is It Normal For Your Toddler To Have An Imaginary Friend?

According to researchers, imaginative play is common for toddlers between the ages of 3 and 5, a time when they are just beginning to form their own personalities. So is your toddler’s imaginary friend a cause of concern? Read here to find out.

The Reason Behind It

Children develop imaginary friends to help cope with change or transition (e.g. welcoming a new sibling, starting school or death of a loved one). It is a form of self-expression, it gives them a sense of control over their environment and helps them comfortably express negative emotions.

The Positive Side of An Imaginary Friend

Imaginary friends serve several imperative roles. Some of these functions are:

  • A Great Playmate – an imaginary friend can be a wonderful buddy for pretend play which is very essential in honing a toddler’s imagination
  • Act As A Confidant – an imaginary friend is a good secret keeper during times when children have issues that are too confidential to share with parents
  • Helps Differentiate Good From Bad – everyone knows children are very mischievous, but having an imaginary friend helps them distinguish right from wrong. For example, when he insists that his friend ate the cookies, not him, he is able to recognize what is right from wrong but is not quite prepared to own up to the responsibility of his action, thus, blaming the imaginary friend.
  • Helps You Understand Your Toddler’s Emotions – hearing your toddler give reassurance to his imaginary friend gives you a glimpse of what your little one is truly feeling about a certain situation (going to the doctor, getting a shot, transferring to a new home, transitioning from crib to bed, etc.)

How You Can Help

Do not reprimand or make your toddler feel embarrassed about his imaginary friend. It is okay to play along as long as you keep the following rules in mind:

Respect The Friend

Acknowledge his imaginary friend as a living being. This means greeting him, saying sorry when you sit on him and listening to your toddler talk about his friend’s likes, dislikes and other characteristics.

Pretend Play Together

Take advantage of this opportunity and encourage your toddler to make up stories, but do not take over. Allow him to explore his ideas and emotions.

Increase Social Interaction

Never let the imaginary friend be your toddler’s only companion. Toddlers need to mingle with their peers as much as they can. Encourage him to go out. Organize a play date. Enroll him in a class he is interested in. If he prefers playing with his imaginary friend than with his “real-life friends” or has no other friends, consult with a professional.

Do Not Let The “Friend” Take Full Responsibility of Your Toddler’s Actions

Allowing your toddler to blame his imaginary friend each time he misbehaves is not good as he will not learn how to acknowledge his own mistakes. Instead, use it as a teaching opportunity. For instance, if his friend spilled juice, you can say “That is okay, I am not angry. But let us help your friend clean up the mess.”

Having an imaginary friend is normal so do not make a big deal out of it. As long as you are there to guide him, everything will be fine. He will outgrow it sooner or later.

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