Thursday, January 13, 2011

7 things never to say to your toddler


CHILDWISE
By RUTH LIEW


AROUND the age of 18 months, many toddlers have learned the power of the word “No” with authority.

They start showing signs of possessiveness. Parents will often hear the word “mine” or see tears rolling down their faces when they do not get their way.

After all, they are individuals who are learning to be independent. They need time to process the words they hear and understand the social behaviour they observe.

They have yet to learn social innuendos, and they get confused by what the adults say and do.

A teacher of a toddler noticed that a set of puzzles was returned to the wrong shelf. Instead of saying: “There is a set of puzzles on this shelf. It does not belong here. Let’s put it back to the place where it should be”, she remarked to the children: “Excuse me! Who put this puzzle in this shelf?”

The toddlers were oblivious to her concern. They are not able to relate to what she said.

Toddlers find questions perplexing. They cope better when you say exactly what you want them to do. They will have their questions when they become more aware of the happenings in their lives.

Here are seven things you should never say to your toddler:

Don’t cry

Toddlers will cry when they are upset, hungry, angry, frustrated, sad. When they feel discomfort and unable to voice out, they will communicate their feelings and need the way they know how. Try saying “You are crying because you are ...” or “You need my help in ...” It is more comforting to a toddler when you are understanding and supportive rather than condescending.

Are you ready to go?

Toddlers do not keep time like adults do. They need time to prepare for making transitions. Prior to the scheduled time for leaving, inform your toddler what will happen in a few minutes time.

Help her to pack up to get ready. When it is time to leave, say to your child: “You are all ready to leave and go home. I am so glad we are all set.”

Why do you keep doing this? I have told you so many times ...

Toddlers are naturally impulsive. They do what they like and when they like it. They like repetition. They live for the present. Say: “Remember we keep our floors dry. Stop splashing water or you will have to leave this area. Wet floors are dangerous. You can get hurt when the floors are wet.” Always repeat what is important so that your toddler can do it correctly.

Share your toys with your friend.

The concept of ownership is clear to the child but not with sharing. They are still new to this social behaviour. Sharing for toddlers really mean “I am giving away to you.”
It is best to say to your toddler “Your friend likes to play with your toys. You can play with your toys and he can also play with your toys.

Stop jumping around and be quiet.

Toddlers are active. It is practically impossible to stop being their natural selves. When the noise level gets intolerable, work out a plan that your toddler is comfortable with like “You can jump for five minutes and after that, we can read a book together.”

You cannot take without asking first. Say “please”.

Manners are learned over time. As they are older, they will start to use more social graces. Toddlers fare better with positive statements such as “Smile and say “May I?”

You cannot touch this.

When you say this to your toddler, he receives a very different message. He hears only two words “touch this”. He will do exactly that and play with it. If there is something you do not want your toddler to get his hands on, remove it from his sight or distract him to do something else.
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