Every parent wants their children to be well-behaved, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Each child is different; some are born rule-followers while others are not. Teaching good behavior is a difficult process and it requires parents to focus on one large goal rather than the short-term goal that might be right in front of them, like getting their child to stop throwing a tantrum. Here’s what you need to do:
When your toddler hits someone, you may laugh it off since they are unlikely to do much harm and don’t really know what they are doing in the first place. However, if you wait until they are older to teach them that hitting is not okay, it will be much harder. They may feel confused as to why it has been okay in the past, but is not okay now. The earlier you teach them that certain things are not okay, and that no means no, the better. It is also important for you, as a parent, to understand why your toddler performs these actions. They most likely do not hit to be mean or throw a tantrum to ruin your day; they are just frustrated or sad and aren’t sure how to properly express their emotions yet. Part of starting early is helping your child understand good ways to express these emotions. Make sure your expectations are realistic for your child’s age as there is only so much you can ask of them at each stage of development.
If you only say no to certain things sometimes rather than every time, your child will most likely repeat the behavior. If you always say no, your child will learn the rules and be less likely to do it again. Saying no over and over may get exhausting, especially when it is something that seems trivial. But once you’ve said no once, you need to keep it consistent, so pick your battles. Teach your child that any behavior that hurts someone is never okay. It is also good to teach them that certain settings require quieter, less active behavior, such as religious services or public transportation.
Show your children that you notice when they show examples of good behavior or stop a bad behavior. It is easy to do a sigh of relief when you see your hard work pay off in their behavior, but they deserve appreciation for following the rules rather than just punishment when they don’t.
Be an example of the behavior that you want your children to follow. If they hear you saying “please” and “thank you” regularly, they will eventually follow suit. Remember that your children are always paying attention to the things you do, so show them how to treat people with respect as well.
At Children’s World Learning Center, we know that the early years of life matter because early experiences affect the brain. As a child’s brain grows, the quality of the experiences that a child has creates either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all of the development and behaviors that follow. Parents want to make educated choices for their families, and getting things right the first time is better than trying to fix them later. Contact us today!