How To Teach Your Toddler About Limitations

Posted on: 12 February 2015

Toddlers are naturally curious and are seemingly always one step away from getting into some sort of trouble – especially when they become quiet. Your job as a parent is to instill in your toddler the concept of limitations and that they can't always do what they want when they want to do it. The problem is, how do you teach a small human being about limitations when they have no knowledge or concept of such a thought? Here is how you can begin to teach your child that there are limits to their behaviors and expectations.

Consistency Counts

Toddlers, especially those nearing their second birthday, eventually start to become more engaged with their caregivers and can begin to empathize with how you feel. This will mark the time when they can also start to gauge your reaction to the things they do and look for positive feedback from you. When they do something good, you should praise them; but when they do something bad, you should consistently point out that their behavior was unacceptable. You should not overlook specific negative behavior (like playing around the stove) sometimes, but then scold them later when they do it again – this sends a mixed message that your child will probably not understand and it will take longer for them to figure out what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Body Language Matters

Toddlers, like humans of all ages, also use non-verbal communication to understand how others are reacting to their behaviors. If they see you smiling at what they have done, they can tell they made you happy and that will probably make them happy and make them prone to repeat the behavior. However, if you have a sad or an angry facial expression, they will be able to tell whatever they have done has not gone over so well with you. Use your body language and facial expressions to your advantage. If the child is playing around the stove, tell them to stop while using the word "hot" with a sad facial expression so they can understand better what you are saying.

Allow Some Freedoms

You don't want to be in a constant battle with your toddler everyday by trying to control every aspect of their behavior. So, you have to pick your battles wisely to prevent your toddler from digging in their heels and starting to ignore you. The first priority parents typically have is to make sure their toddlers stay safe and your battles can begin there. Every time your child goes to play around the stove, you should react quickly; but if your child likes to roll marbles across the floor that you persistently step on, you may hold off on making this behavior a battle until the toddler grasps the safety issues.

Learning how to control the behavior of toddlers takes a lot of time and effort. If you feel like you don't have enough knowledge or insight to do it yourself, contact a childhood learning center like The Kiddie Lodge to assist you in gaining the skill set you need to raise your child well.