Archive | Toddler Discipline

Teaching Children Good Manners

Teaching children good manners is one of the most essential things parents can do. Having good manners will benefit children throughout their lives. Here are some simple steps on how parents can teach their children good manners.

Be A Role Model

This is the most important and effective tip any child expert and parent can give in teaching children good manners. If you want your toddler to model manners, you must lead by example. Remember, toddlers love imitating their parents. Say “Please.” and “Thank you.” when you ask someone to do something. If your toddler gets accustomed to hearing polite speech around the house, that is the kind of speech he will use himself.

Start With The Basics

Teaching children good manners is a process, so take it slow. Start with the basics – “Hello.”, “Please.”, “Thank you.”, “You are welcome.” and “Excuse me.”. You  can also teach your toddler to sign to articulate these words. For instance, when you say “Please.”, stroke your upper chest in circles using a flat hand at the same time. Ask your toddler to follow you. Gradually introduce more as your little one’s skills and comprehension develop.

Role Play

Practice good manners at home by role playing them. For example, show your toddler how to be respectful when answering the telephone. Pretend his stuffed animals are grandma and grandpa and they are visiting your home. Show him how to say “Hi grandma.”, “Goodbye grandpa.” and to shake hands. Or, pretend the two of you are in the grocery and someone is standing in front of the aisle. Have your toddler practice saying “Excuse me.”. With practice, your toddler will develop the confidence to deal with any situation that calls for good manners.

Make It Fun

To make teaching children good manners more enjoyable, why not turn it into a game. Play games such as Simon Says and Manners Detective. Play sports with your family or with other children his age. This will teach him the value of respect and sportsmanship as well as how to be a good team member.

Eat Dinner As A Family

Family dinners are a perfect time to practice table manners. This is the best way to show to your little one how to use utensils, chew food correctly, not to talk when his mouth is full, make conversation, say “Excuse me.” when he is full or is done eating and to bring his own plate in the kitchen sink. Teach your toddler to compliment the cook and the food and how to politely decline the food being offered if he does not like it.

Do Not Ignore Bad Behaviour

Do not ignore your toddler’s bad behaviour. Correct him on the spot without embarrassing your toddler. For instance, if he disrupts your conversation with your friend, beg your friend’s pardon and let your toddler know that it is not nice to interrupt.

Discuss It

Once you are alone with your little one, bring up the behaviour again so you can talk about it in detail and make sure your toddler understands how to behave the next time. But, do not punish your toddler. Communication is more effective in teaching children good manners than any form of punishment.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

Most importantly, provide plenty of positive feedback each time your toddler displays good manners. Children love praise especially when it comes from parents. Let your toddler know that he did a good job helping you carry the groceries or for courteously asking his friend that it is his turn to use the bicycle. Do not forget to give him a hug and a kiss as well. A little reward such as stickers, a bar of chocolate for snacks or cooking his favorite food for lunch also helps.

Teaching children good manners is a trial and error process. One minute your toddler will be very polite and then be very bossy the next. Just be patient and determined, your toddler will understand how to be well-mannered in time.

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How To Teach Children To Be Honest

Honesty is one of the many virtues a toddler must learn. However, it does not always come naturally, it is a value you need to instil in your toddler. Here are some tips on how to teach children to be honest.

Keep Your Toddler Informed

One way how to teach children to be honest is to talk about it. Explain to your toddler what honesty is and why it is important to be truthful even when it is difficult. Talking is a very good way to send the message across. Another way you can teach this value to your little one is to use stories. Look for books about honesty (try “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Berenstain Bears and The Truth” and “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”) or make one up. Keep it casual and use simple words your toddler can comprehend.

Walk The Talk

Of course talking about the importance of honesty to your toddler will be useless if you do not lead by example. Remember that toddlers love to imitate their parents, hence, it is very essential that you model honesty. For example, if you tell your toddler you will go to the park later in the afternoon, make sure you follow through. Do not tell a ticket seller that your toddler is younger than he is just so you can save a dollar or get a free seat. Try your best to be straightforward even when it comes to difficult subjects such as divorce, death or illness.

Do Not Ask Questions When You Already Know The Answer

If you are sure your toddler was the one who spilled juice on the floor, do not be tempted to ask “Did you do that?” because your toddler will probably answer “no” because he is scared that if he says “yes”, you will be angry. Instead, say something like “I see you spilled juice on the floor. You know, I will not get mad if you tell me the truth.”. Or better yet, say, “Please clean up your spilled juice.”.

Have A Conversation

Talk to your toddler. Ask questions. Listen to what he has to say. Communicating with your toddler is another effective way to encourage your little one to be honest. Plus, this also gives him reassurance that he can be honest with you without you getting critical or angry.

Avoid Labels

Never call your toddler a liar. It will only make him defensive and lower his self-esteem and over time he may start to believe it. If your toddler lies, do not judge or punish him and say mean things. Emphasize that you are not happy he lied, but you still love him no matter what he has done. Help him see the effects of his misbehaviour and then help him think of a way to make up for it.

Be Careful of Little White Lies

You want your toddler to be honest, but not too straightforward that he says things that could hurt a person’s feelings. Explain to your toddler how to use them and when he can use them. Even if he dislikes the quilt grandma made for him, he has to find something nice to say such as “Thank you for the gift, grandma.” instead of saying “I do not like this blanket, grandma.”.

Praise Your Toddler

Another effective way on how to teach children to be honest is by giving positive reinforcement. Whenever your toddler tells the truth, commend him for a job well done. Saying, “Thank you for telling me the truth. I am very happy.” followed by a hug and a kiss will make your toddler feel good about himself which will motivate him to repeat the behaviour over and over again.

Honesty is one value every toddler must learn at an early age. It is an ongoing process. Just be firm, patient and forgiving in helping your toddler develop the characteristic of being honest.

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How To Teach Children Respect

Teaching toddlers to be respectful is a goal that should be started as early as possible. Showing respect will help toddlers gain friends and be successful as an adult. Here are some tips on how to teach children respect.

Respect Your Toddler

Show your toddler respect. Start by listening. In daily conversations, look your toddler in the eye and give him your full attention to make it clear that you are interested in what he is saying. Listening to your toddler will help him understand how important respect is which will encourage him to reciprocate the action.

Teach Polite Responses

Train your little one to say “please” whenever he wants or asks for something and to say “thank you” when someone has done something nice for him. He may need a little reminding at first so be patient and constantly give him reminders. Do not forget to say them to your toddler as well. The more he hears them, the more likely he will learn to use them with you and others, making respect a normal part of any conversation.

Demand Respect

Make your toddler aware that you expect him to show respect to everyone. When a child knows what behaviour is expected of him, the easier it will be for him to follow rules. Again, be prepared to give plenty of reminders. When limits are pushed, point it out but never make your toddler feel guilty which will only damage his self-esteem. For instance, if your little one yelled at his older sister, gently grab his hand and say “Screaming at your elders is disrespectful. Say sorry to your sister.”. Or, before you go out to eat, remind him to show good manners and if he misbehaves, he will be removed from the restaurant. Make sure you follow through with the consequence. You can talk it over later when the two of you have cooled off.

Do Not Overreact

When you are about to lose your temper, try not to get upset. Oftentimes, toddlers push their parents’ buttons to provoke a reaction. Squat to your toddler’s level so you are facing each other and say gently but firmly “We do not punch people.”, and then demonstrate how to get what he wants respectfully, “If you need help, just ask politely.” Say “Mommy, can you help me finish my homework?”.

Be A Good Example

Most importantly, be a respectful role model. Your toddler will learn by watching and copying what you do and what you say. Be nice and polite to people. If you are angry, show your toddler how to deal with the situation in a mature manner rather than having a meltdown. If your little one sees you calm, he is more likely to react that way with you and others.

Remember to praise good behaviour as well. Do not just focus on the wrong things all the time. Thank your toddler for saying excuse me while you were on the phone. Be appreciative and make sure he knows you are proud of him. Doing this will motivate your toddler to continue the good behaviour.

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Toddler Discipline – Discouraging Materialism In Toddlers

Buying stuff for your toddler is fine, but giving in to his demands all the time can make him materialistic. Here are some toddler discipline tips to help keep your toddler from equating things with happiness.

Set A Good Example

Parents are the best role model for their children. If you want to stop your toddler from developing an insatiable desire for things, let him see you behaving with control and wisdom. Evaluate yourself. Do you shop impulsively? Love buying designer labels? Are you only happy when you have new things? Remember, children like imitating their parents. So if you want to discourage materialism in your toddler, you have to let go of your own materialism.

Window shop together without buying anything to demonstrate that while it is nice to look at store displays, you do not necessarily have to purchase something each time you go to a store. Or, when looking at a catalogue, you can say something like “I like this new flat screen HD TV but our old one still works just fine.”. Explaining these things will help get the message across.

Limit Screen Time

The media, especially TV commercials can pressure toddlers to get the latest robot or shoes. Limit your toddler’s screen time so his exposure to TV commercials and “I want that” mindset is reduced. Record his favorite programs so you can skip the ads. Watch more movies. Discuss the marketing techniques used in commercials with your toddler.

Teach Your Toddler About Money

Believe it or not, a 4-year old can understand the value of money. Give your toddler weekly household chores and an allowance once he finishes them. This will make him realize that money should be earned. Teach your toddler how to use it. Give him a small piggy bank and ask him to save half of his money and half is his to spend as he chooses. If he says “Mommy, I want that toy” at the store, say something like “This costs four dollars. Do you have enough money to pay for it?”.

Do Not Use Things As A Reward

Rewarding good behaviour with buying your toddler something he likes is okay, but it should not be done all the time as this will make him associate the reward with good behaviour which will only cause problems later in life. Use other incentives such as letting him play at the playground a little longer, cooking his favorite food for dinner or reading him an additional bedtime story.

Give Back

Teach your toddler to give back. Ask him to clean out his closet and pick a few toys and clothes to donate to homeless shelters. Let him tag along when bringing food for a sick relative. Help out in a soup kitchen. These activities instil an outlook that will help counteract materialism.

Focus On Things That Matter

Teach your toddler how to express gratitude for the deeper value of things. Make gifts instead of buying them. Explain to your little one how much you value the blanket grandma gave you for your 18th birthday. Spend time with your toddler no matter how busy your schedule is. Play hide and seek. Take afternoon walks. Ride a bicycle. Go on road trips during weekends.

Teaching your toddler that there is more to life than brand-new, modern and cooler stuff is the best way to ensure he does not become materialistic so he can enjoy the true joys of life.

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Dressing A Child – How To Keep Your Toddler From Undressing

You get him dressed, you turn around to grab something and the next thing you know, your toddler is halfway through removing his pants again. Dressing a child can be tricky, especially if he would rather be naked. Here is what you can do to keep your toddler fully covered.

Check The Clothes

One of the most common reasons why toddlers undress themselves is because their clothes are uncomfortable – the material is itchy, the fit might be wrong or they feel too warm. Take time to look through your toddler’s clothes. Discard clothes that are either too small or too big, those that restrict movement, those that are too heavy and thick, clothes made of brocade and nylon and garments with embellishments such as sequins, lace and ruffles. Toddler clothes must be soft and cool to prevent trapping body heat which can make toddlers uneasy.

Go Shopping Together

The next time you visit the mall to buy clothes, take your little one with you. Ask your toddler to pick out a t-shirt or pajama he likes featuring his favorite color or cartoon character. Children are more willing to wear something they have some ownership of. You can also point out pictures or mannequins of children who are dressed so he will be more eager to copy them.

Avoid Too Many Layers of Clothing

Most parents have a tendency to pile the clothing on their toddlers and cover them so tightly they can hardly move. Because of this, toddlers are so eager to get rid of them and as a result, they would rather be naked than dressed in heaps of layers. Dress your toddler in weather-appropriate clothes. If it is hot, then do not make him wear long sleeves and pants. During cold days, just add one layer of clothing to keep him warm.

Say Yes Sometimes

When temperatures and conditions permit, allow your little one to take off his clothes for a period of time. For instance, you can let your toddler go naked around the house for, say, 20 minutes before taking a bath in the morning or before getting dressed. But, do associate it with his daily routine so your toddler knows when and where he can and cannot go naked. This way, if he starts undressing himself while everyone is still eating breakfast, you can say to him “Not yet. You can remove your clothes after breakfast.”.

Do Not Overreact

Try not to make a big deal out of it. If you punish your toddler, act shocked or laugh at him, this will make your child think that this is the way to get your attention and you will only set yourself up for repeat performances. Stand your ground. If he refuses to put his clothes back on, put them on for him. Your toddler might whine or throw a tantrum at first but eventually, he will realize that you are serious and he has no choice but to comply because rules are rules.

Make Removing Clothes A Challenge

If all else fails, you can try making undressing more difficult by putting his clothes on backwards, dressing him in a jumper over the diaper (so it will he harder for him to remove the diaper) or letting him wear clothes with zippers or very tiny buttons at the back.

It is normal for your toddler to remove his clothes. This is his way of exploring his body – how it works and what it looks like. So do not fret. This is just a phase that will wear off in time.

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How To Discipline A Toddler Without Feeling Guilty

Feelings of guilt are natural in parenting. But, it will not do you or your child any good. Fortunately, there are methods you can follow on how to discipline a toddler that will not leave you feeling guilty.

Set Rules and Stick To Them

Just like everyone else, children need boundaries. Talk to your toddler about your rules. Make him understand them clearly. For instance, do not just say “You are not allowed to open the front door.”. You have to explain to him the possible dangers he will face once he goes out of the house on his own. It is very important that you are consistent in your discipline. Do not put your toddler on a time-out for pulling his sister’s hair and then disregard the same behaviour the next. If he knows what to expect from you, not only will he be less likely to misbehave but you will not feel so guilty when he does and when giving him a consequence.

Give Yourself A Time-out

It is very common for parents to start yelling when their children are unruly and then feel awful about it afterward. Whenever you are angry at your toddler, take a break, count to ten or go outside and come back when you have calmed down. Having a clear mind helps you make good decisions when disciplining your toddler and you are less tempted to react in a way that can hurt or frighten your toddler (e.g. spanking, using bad words).

Ignore It

Learn how to pick your battles. All too often, toddlers misbehave not because they are being rowdy but because they want to exercise their freedom. Choose not to get mad over small issues. Ignoring the tantrum or misbehaviour is the best way to discipline a toddler without the guilt, especially if you are in public. Just let it go and eventually, your little one will stop whatever he is doing once he realizes you will not give him any attention.

Cut Your Toddler Some Slack

Say “no” every time and your toddler will see you as a mean mommy. If your toddler threw his peas because he does not like his food, control yourself from reprimanding him. Let him have his way sometimes. After all, your child needs to make mistakes so he can learn what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable. Plus, always telling your toddler what to do will only leave you feeling guilty.

Keep It Fun

You do not have to be strict to make your toddler obey you. Look for creative ways to enforce rules. For instance, if your toddler does not want to brush his teeth or make his bed, turn it into a game by setting an egg timer and tell him the target is to complete his task before the timer goes off.

Recognize Good Behaviour

Whenever your toddler behaves or does something good, provide positive reinforcement. If your little one cleaned his room without being asked, do not just praise and say “You did a good job honey! Mommy is going to buy you a new toy.”, but encourage – “That was so kind of you. Thank you baby!”. The latter gives encouragement to repeat the behaviour without expecting any reward.

Guilt-free discipline will make things much easier for you and your child. It will help your toddler misbehave a lot less and regain your proper train of thought.

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Disciplining Children Without Using Threats

Parents have a hard time controlling their emotions once they are irked with their children. Hence, they result to using threats in the hope of correcting their toddlers’ bad behaviour. However, threatening will only backfire. Here are some tips on disciplining children without using threats.

Talk To Your Child

Communication is the best way to discipline a toddler. Instead of telling your toddler you will spank him if he does not clean up the mess he made, talk to your toddler in a calm yet firm manner and in words a toddler can easily comprehend. Help him understand that cleanliness is very important and that he should be responsible for everything he does. Set a clear expectation. Give him simple rules and let your child know that there will be consequences once he breaks them.

Decide On A Consequence

Giving a consequence is more effective than using threats. But, be sure you are consistent or otherwise they will become ineffective. Choose a consequence you think will work on your toddler. For instance, you can put him on a time out. Leave him in a quiet room for a few minutes (you can go to other room so you can still keep a close eye on your toddler) and once the two of you are calm enough, you can talk about the problem. Or, you may also withhold privileges such as watching TV, playing video games or playing with friends.

Change Your Words

The next time your toddler misbehaves in the grocery store, instead of saying “Stop running now or I will take away your toy.”, try, “Baby, can you help me find the cereal you like?”. This distracts him from the negative behaviour and offers a positive alternative.

Give Your Toddler Freedom

The more you threaten your toddler, the more he will rebel. Allow your little one to be independent. Give him options. If you want him to clean up his room, instead of saying “No dinner until your room is tidy”., you can say something like, “I want you to pick up your toys and return them in the toy chest. Do you want to do that before or after dinner?”. It gives your toddler a choice while making your expectations clear.

Ignore The Misbehaviour

Toddlers are attention seekers. However, giving your toddler the attention he is looking for each time he misbehaves only increases the misbehaviour. If your toddler is whining because of a toy you did not buy, ignore his complains. Once he realizes you will not give in, he will eventually stop.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

It is very crucial that you give your toddler plenty of love and affection. Giving him a hug or a kiss after a consequence will help your little one understand that you love him but his behaviour is not acceptable.

Most importantly, do not lose your cool. Restraining yourself from using threats can be difficult especially if you become impatient with your toddler. But, if you remain calm, your toddler will also feel calm which makes disciplining your child a lot easier.

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How To Discipline A Screaming Child

Disciplining a toddler is already a tough job for parents. But what if you have a screamer? What do you have to do to correct the behaviour? Here are some tips on how you can discipline a screaming child.

Stay Calm

The first thing you should do is to remain calm. Do not react to screaming with yelling of your own. You are your toddler’s role model, so if he sees you respond to anger with anger, he will only learn that there is nothing wrong with screaming. Keep your composure when dealing with your screaming child. Take deep breaths, count to ten and hold back your frustration.

Acknowledge Your Toddler’s Feelings

Determine the root of the misbehaviour. It may look like mischief, but your toddler’s high-pitched voice is his way of exploring the power of his voice and experimenting with what he can do with it. Screaming is another way for toddlers to communicate or to be heard. Some toddlers shout each time they want their parents’ attention while others scream when they want something they cannot have.

Ignore It

When your little one begins shrieking up a storm, leave him alone for a few minutes, turn on some music and sing a song or ask him to sing with you. Ignoring the screaming will make your toddler stop his tantrums because he knows you will not give him attention if he continues the bad behaviour.

Address The Issue

Once your little one has calmed down, talk to your toddler in a calm and firm manner. Explain to him that screaming is unacceptable and is against the rules. You can say “I know you are upset because you want another scoop of ice cream, but yelling is not good. You should ask nicely.”

Provide Distractions

Another way to control your toddler’s screaming is to keep him busy. Offer a new activity or toy. If you are in a restaurant and your toddler starts yelling, step outside for a few minutes. Play fun games such as “I Spy” while running errands with your toddler. Ask him to help you pick out fruits and vegetables while at the supermarket. Better yet, make up a song about what you are doing to make it more entertaining for your little one.

Give A Consequence

No, you do not have to be violent to make your toddler stop screaming. Whenever your toddler is yelling, give an effective punishment. Put him in a time-out. Leave him in a safe corner and have him sit there for a short time or until he is calm enough. Or, you may also withhold privileges (TV, video games, desserts or extra minutes of playtime).

Provide Positive Reinforcement

When your toddler behaves appropriately, make sure you give him praise. Hug him and say, “You did good honey. I am very happy you talked nicely even if you were angry.”. Offer him a small but sweet reward such as cooking his favorite food for dinner, a sticker or a small toy. This will increase his motivation to continue the good behaviour.

Never lose hope. Know that this phase is only temporary. Your toddler will outgrow this annoying behaviour in time and of course, with your help.

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How To Discipline A Child Without Bribing

Using bribes to discipline children is very common. Why? Because it is very effective. Promising your toddler a toy or treat if he stops crying can automatically stop a stressful and embarrassing situation with your child. However, bribes only work for a short time and the more you bribe your toddler, the more your toddler will feel like he has the “upper hand”. Plus, his motivation to behave and do well is only driven by rewards, threats and ultimatums, and not because he wants to be good without expecting something in return. Here is a guide on how to discipline a child without using bribes.

Keep Your Emotions In Check

Children love testing their parents’ buttons. When this happens, it is hard to manage one’s reaction, so parents use bribes to make their children follow them. However, it is very important for parents to keep their cool so they can better get their children’s cooperation naturally with quiet authority. So the next time you feel like bribing your toddler, stop, count to ten and take deep breaths before you open your mouth again.

Identify and Eliminate Triggers

Instead of thinking how you can get your little one to behave in the heat of the moment which often results to bribing, find out what sets off your toddler’s bad behaviour. For instance, if he gets cranky every time you bring him to the supermarket, leave him at home with a relative or babysitter. If he does not want to eat dinner, do not give him snacks an hour before dinner time. Plan your days according to your toddler’s mood so that your little one has every chance to behave fittingly.

Find The Root of The Problem and Possible Solutions

If your toddler refuses to sleep in his bed, talk to your toddler first instead of bribing him right away. Maybe the reason why he does not want to sleep in his bed is because he is afraid of the dark or he does not want his bed near the window. Once you have figured out the problem, solve it. Plug in a nightlight or stick glow in the dark wall decals. Move his bed away from the window. If you take the time to figure out what is making your child anxious, you can resolve the problem easily without resorting to bribes.

Allow Your Toddler To Learn From His Consequences

Children need to understand there are consequences for their actions, good and bad. If your toddler continues to play with his food after you told him to stop, do not say “Baby, if you finish your food you can have dessert.”., instead, ask him to leave the table and only come back once he is ready to eat. At the same time, praise your toddler after he does something good. This will teach your toddler that good behaviour has good consequences which will motivate him to behave on his own and the need to use bribes is no longer necessary.

Disciplining children without bribing teaches children to think for themselves and to rely on their inner beacons which will help them flourish in life.

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Effective Rewards For Kids To Encourage Good Behaviour

There are many ways to discipline children. One of the most effective methods is to give rewards. Rewards can help children improve and learn new, good behaviours and habits and repress undesirable ones. Here are some effective rewards for kids to encourage them to do well and be good without promoting materialism.

Simple Privileges

Give your toddler simple privileges when he behaves such as extending his time when playing outside, extra 15 minutes of TV and game time, staying up past his bedtime, picking the dessert for dinner and feeding the family pet. Giving these kind of rewards not only teaches your little one positive behaviour but also helps your toddler learn to take on new obligations.

Outings

Organize outings. For instance, if your toddler kept his bedroom clean for a month, take him out to dinner at his favorite restaurant or to an amusement park, museum or zoo. Ride your bikes around the neighbourhood. Go to that baseball game he is raving about. Watch movies. Plan a picnic and invite your toddler’s friends to join to make it more fun.

Inexpensive Items

No, you do not have to go over your budget just to reward your toddler for sharing his toy with his sibling. Reward him with inexpensive items such as a new coloring book, crayons, pencils, stickers, a new DVD or toy (that is within your budget) or prepare a special snack and his favorite drink. Simple things like these will make your toddler feel that you are happy and thankful.

Bonding Time With Mommy and Daddy

Take a break from rewarding your obedient toddler with physical items and reward him with extra time with you and daddy instead. Children love spending time with their parents. Let your toddler go to a soccer game with dad. Give your child a piggyback ride. Read him more books before bedtime. Ask your toddler to be mommy’s little helper in the kitchen. Spend the weekend at a hotel or go for a stroll after dinner as a family.

Physical Affection

Pat his back, hug and kiss your toddler often, especially when he did a great job such as making his bed, putting the toys in the box after playing, eating all the fruits and veggies on his plate or helping his sibling clean up. This shows him that good deeds are also rewarded with good feelings, not just material things.

Words of Affirmation

Each time your toddler behaves or does something good, tell him you are proud of him. Say, “Thank you baby for helping your brother. You made mommy and daddy very happy.”, “Good job!”, or “Keep it up!”. A parent’s kind and encouraging words is the most effective way to motivate children.

Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to boost a toddler’s behaviour. By rewarding your toddler, whether through privileges, words of praise or touch every time he does something good, you build his confidence and teach him to repeat those actions.

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