Categorized | Parenting, Toddler Behaviour

How to Stop Your Toddler’s Bad Habits

Bad habits are hard to break. This adage has been stuck to people for a very long time. Toddlers are very much susceptible to acquiring unlikely habits. They still do not have any idea what is the difference between right and wrong or good and bad. Trying to stop it may impose a challenge to parents. But if you are constant, firm and sympathetic, you can help your toddler break them.

Bad habits are referred to actions that are annoying, embarrassing and unpleasant. Toddler bad habits normally consists of nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, hitting, yelling or lying. Breaking these unattractive behaviors can take time especially because your little one goes through various developmental changes that makes him reluctant and obstinate. At the very first sign of bad habits, immediately come up with a plan to put a stop to them. Know the secrets to stopping your toddler’s poor habits. Here are some effective tips to help you counteract such practices.

Putting A Stop to Your Toddler’s Bad Habits

Identify The Habit

There are different kinds of toddler bad habits. The key here is to classify which kind it is in order for you to easily come up with a plan. If your toddler likes to:

  • Nail Bite. Figure out the times and places where his nail biting often occurs. Is it during a car ride, while watching TV, at the bathtub or dining room? Once you figure this out, provide him with distractions to prevent him from biting his nails again. Keep his hands busy. Give him his toys, finger puppets, play dough or squeeze balls. Let him draw, paint and color. Allow him to help you in preparing your meals. Assign him to prepare the dining table.
  • Thumb Suck. Facing the mirror, explain to him how too much thumb sucking can destroy his teeth and gums. Show him the changes in his teeth and inform him about the germs that can enter his mouth. Thumb sucking happens mostly during the night; to stop it, give him his favorite stuffed toy or his special blanket so he can hold on to it.
  • Hit and Yell. You need to exert more sternness when it comes to these habits. Once he starts to hit an object or a yell at someone, firmly grip his wrist and strictly tell him that not hitting is not good even when he is mad. After his anger has subsided, talk to him about it. This makes him realize that anger can be expressed without the need for violence. For every good deed he does, praise him. This lessens his chances to hit again.
  • Lie. Most often, your toddler tends to lie because he is scared you will get mad if he tells you the truth. If he accidentally breaks your favorite flower vase while you were out, instead of yelling at him, tell him that it is fine and you are not mad. Commend him for telling the truth. Forget the vase; your child’s behavior is more important.

Do Not Lose Your Temper

While it can be stressful on your part, always keep your cool no matter what. Generally, your toddler is still too young to comprehend everything you tell him. If he does something foul, do not shout or raise your voice instantly. Most often, your toddler’s insolence does not mean he agrees or disagrees with you, it is just that he lacks understanding and he wants to affirm his independence. Slowly explain to him that his actions display poor habits which other people will not like to see in him.  Your young one craves for the attention and care and once he sees you talk to him in a calm and serious manner he will try his best to stop his poor behavior.

Commend Him

Your toddler will be more encouraged to stop his bad habits each time you praise him for something good he does. Recognize his good behaviour and give positive reinforcement. If he sees your appreciation, he becomes more motivated to end his poor habits. Give him a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back or his favorite ice cream as his reward.

Your toddler’s bad habits gradually stops as he continues to develop. So never make him feel that something is wrong with him. Help him get through it by openly addressing the issue, providing him your affirmative support and giving praise for every positive habit he does.

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