Aren’t toddlers so fun and adorable? You’re probably saying to yourself, “Well, most of the time!”
Keeping your toddler well-behaved at a family function can be extremely difficult, especially because you don’t want to unleash the “monster parent” in front of other family members.
Keep cool! Remember that your toddler is doing the best he or she can with the limited skills they’ve got. Tantrums, throwing items, hitting and talking back are all “normal” – these behaviors show that your child is curious and “independent (or at least that is what you tell your family).
This is true to an extent. Toddlers are at an extremely curious age. They always want to know how things work and will often try things out that aren’t exactly ok (e.g. seeing if their sister’s new fish can swim in the toilet). It’s important to remember that communication at this age is tough. In the mind of a toddler, it’s much easier to throw their plate rather than try to say, “Mommy, I am done with my food.” It’s just not going to happen! And finally, remember that they all want to be independent at this age. They are seeing what they can do by themselves, which often leads to frustration, anger and then the dreaded tantrum.
Setting limits for your child is extremely important, especially when other family members are around. The following are some ‘taming toddler’ dos:
- Be consistent: Make sure that established rules are still followed even when there are a lot of people around. If putting their plate in the garbage is a mandatory rule in your house, make sure that they still do this. If you are inconsistent, your toddler will be confused, and the rule will be the only thing that goes in the garbage.
- Be patient: Toddlers tend to have a short memory span. You may have to repeat things a few times before they actually comply with that request. Be prepared to repeat the same rule over and over again.
- Be tough: Stick to your guns! Resist that adorable smile or the sweet sound of that giggle. If you tell your little one something, be prepared to watch and make sure that it is followed through.
- Let them be the boss (or at least feel like it): You can still provide the rules while allowing your little one to make choices.
- Be positive and happy: It’s very easy to criticize your toddler when he orshe does something wrong, but what about when they do something right? Praise them when they do something good!
Keep in mind toddlers are still learning and growing – they still lack the ability to control their impulses and often don’t acquire this skill until they are in kindergarten. Always help them figure out a solution. And when you really get stuck, remember their little minds can still be manipulated. Put on your creative hat and diffuse the situation. This will allow your toddler to give in without feeling like they lost the battle!