Badly behaved toddlers will likely grow into badly behaved children if you don't take control of the situation. Toddlers don't have the reasoning or communication skills of older children and must be reprimanded right away in a way they can understand. Biting, hitting, lying and temper tantrums are unacceptable behaviors that require your immediate attention.
Pick your battles with your toddler. If she can't figure out how to make a puzzle piece fit together and whimpers a bit or tosses the piece down, it's OK. If she bites when she doesn't get her way, that is not OK and needs to be addressed.
Talk to him in short phrases and explain the punishment. For example, tell him, "Do not hit mommy, it hurts." Toddlers do not have the language skills to understand complex sentences or reasoning.
Tell your child what type of behavior you expect before going out. You could tell her, "I expect you to behave and color quietly while we're at the restaurant."
Be consistent. Only punishing him sometimes but not others will confuse him. Look at him with a serious expression and give him a warning, such as counting to three, before imposing a punishment, such as timeout. If he doesn't heed your warning, take him to his timeout spot immediately and set the timer. Ask him to apologize for his bad behavior and give him a hug to let him know you aren't angry with him when his timeout is over.
Show your toddler alternative behavior, such as explaining how it hurts when he bites you but it feels good when he hugs you.
Ignore temper tantrums. Tell your toddler that you will leave the store, park, restaurant or wherever you are when she acts out and follow through. Leaving your nearly full grocery cart in the middle of the aisle may be a huge inconvenience for you, but teaching your toddler that you will not put up with temper tantrums will save a lot of headaches and heartache later.
Stay calm in front of your child. He may foster a negative self image or view you negatively if he sees you crying, yelling or talking about how much his bad behavior bothers you. Turn to your partner, a friend, doctor or parent support group to vent and seek advice if necessary.
Reward your child's good behavior by adding special quality time, reading a good book, extra hugs or a special treat. Reward her good behavior as soon as possible so she correlates the reward with the behavior you're seeking.
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