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Energetic toddlers


CHILDREN in their early years have little self-control. They tend to get over-excited and test their limits. They like repetition and need to be reminded about how they should behave in different settings. They need constant adult guidance when they are in unfamiliar places or with new friends.

CHILDREN in their early years have little self-control. They tend to get over-excited and test their limits. They like repetition and need to be reminded about how they should behave in different settings. They need constant adult guidance when they are in unfamiliar places or with new friends.

It can be exasperating trying to cope with active children in their toddler years. Many parents misunderstand their children’s behaviour and label them as naughty or mischievous. Children at this age simply cannot stop themselves because their urge to explore is so strong.

One way of managing children’s behaviour, is to manage the situation and not the child. Knowing one’s own pattern of behaviour in responding to children can help parents do a better job.

Are you in the habit of saying “No” to your child all the time and hardly give a word of acknowledgment for his good behaviour? Do you tend to nit-pick when he is just being playful?

Telling your toddler that he is naughty for doing what he did will make him feel bad about himself. Children who are active are also keen to please their parents. They feel worse when they cannot control their ways to get praises and acknowledgement.

When your child creates a negative situation, focus on making the situation better with him. Tell him exactly what he did that needs rectifying. If there is something he needs to stop doing, be specific with your words.

Tell him: “I am upset because you threw your toys all over the floor in the living room. You need to put your toys in the cupboard when you have finished playing with them.”

If your toddler refuses to listen, you can show him how to do it. I usually start by holding the child’s hand to pick up several toys before I say: “This is how we pick up the toys and clean up the room. Once you are ready to do the same, I will let you do it all by yourself.”

Children feel better when they know their parents are protective of them and want the best for them. Instead of punishing or threatening them, it pays to guide young children so that they know how to act appropriately and minimise parent-child conflicts.

They learn very quickly how to “dance” to their parents’ pattern of behaviour. They know if they were to scream or cry loudly enough, their parents would give in. They also know that their parents feel guilty after spanking them and would make up for it by offering gifts or special treats.

Wise parents know that they should focus on their children. They place their children first rather than worry about the opinions of others.

Janet Penley, author of Mother Styles, reminds parents that they should develop their own good judgment rather than look outside for quick answers. This good judgment or wisdom is developed over time and through loads of experiences. If you understand yourself and your child well, your decisions should work well for you and your child. Your struggles will not be in vain.

One mother commented that her highly energetic toddler does not know his limits. He is always climbing and jumping off high grounds. She finds it hard to hold on to him when they go out.

To her, he is almost fearless and does not need her help at all.

Even the most active child can have moments of wariness. When this happens, children often do not know how to express themselves. It is important that parents keep a careful lookout for signs of fear.

Reach out to your child to ensure that he can always seek comfort and safety from you.

Confident parents know when to yield and forget about saving their own faces. Apart from the basic rules on safety, health, respect for others, and caring for things, parents have to be flexible and be willing to negotiate with their children.

Parents must remember that it is a life-long journey of learning for children. If something you are trying to teach your child does not seem to work now, you can always try again at a later date. The key to success is to keep doing and saying what is right for the child. Work out negative situations together with your child.
They learn from adults how to manage negativism, as well as to be persistent in getting what they want. When you place your child’s needs as priority, you will find it easier to get along with your active child.

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