5 Habits you should Teach your Toddler.
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Toddlers understand so much more than we may realize and they pick up on things even before they can communicate it so it’s important to always try set a good example with how we communicate and interact with others.
Once you teach your child good manners they’ll get pretty good at using them (though they may need a little reminder at times). Instead of telling them “say please” like they haven’t learnt it already, gently ask them “what do you say?”, that way you’re reminding them that they already know what you’re asking of them.
Asking them a question when they’re crying and whining for something helps them to stop for a second and think and snap out of it, the important thing it to remain calm and remind them that that’s Not how they get things.
There’s pretty much nothing more heart-warming than to hear a toddler say “thank you”. It gets me every time. Manners are one of those things we get free but they’re worth so much more than money can buy.
2.Be Gentle with Animals and Others.
This is something you can really start teaching them whenever they encounter a pet or another child and they all of a sudden grab them with the “death grip”, they’re still working on their fine motor skills, but they’ll start to grasp the idea of being gentle a bit better as they get older, demonstrating how it should be done is the best way to help them learn what’s appropriate.
It may take some patience getting this one down but the sooner they understand the less you’ll have to worry about them having issues on playdates or visiting people with small pets. Teach them to keep their hand out flat and “be Gentle” when they play so they know what is acceptable, and then give them encouragement when they are gentle.
If they slip up gently reinforce the right way positively, but if they aren’t able to be gentle remove them from the situation and explain calmly but firmly that they can’t play if they can’t learn to be gentle.
3.Brush Their Teeth.
We started with a baby toothbrush and even got the training toothpaste which has no fluoride in it, because they can’t quite understand at this point that it shouldn’t be swallowed, but they like the taste of the training toothpaste and basically just suck it off the brush in the beginning.
I can be hard to get a thorough brushing in with a regular toothbrush so I’d recommend the electric ones with a rotating head, it really helps to get their curiosity going and gives you a chance to get a more thorough brushing in for the short amount of time you manage to get it in their mouth before they lose interest and clamp that thing shut.
4. Put Trash in the Trash Can.
I started doing this with my little one initially with his diapers, he’d take them to the trash and then I’d give him a high five, this has already become a habit and he’s actually called me out when I’ve forgotten that it’s his job.
I’ve also taught him to push the pedal on the trash can in the kitchen and get him to put his snack wrappers in there. I just ask him where it goes and he knows and proudly says “chash”.They like to be all big and independent, which can be kinda sad seeing them change from a sweet little cherub to a toddler but at the same time it’s also pretty cool to see how quickly they learn to pick up new skills.
It’s good to show them how to find a trash can in public too, and teach them not to litter…there’s nothing more scummy than people who just litter wherever and have no respect for their environment.
One thing I remember my mom always did when we did something like dropping rubbish on the floor was immediately treat us like we knew better…she’d say in her firm mama voice, “Uh-oh! you know better than that, where does that go?” and of course we did know, or we figured it out pretty soon, and that made us think about it and remember for next time.
5.Clean up their Messes and Tidy up their Toys.
While it may seem easier and quicker to clean and tidy up yourself it’s well worth investing some time to teach them to clean up after themselves as soon as they can comprehend it…which believe it or not they understand a whole lot even before they can talk, just try giving them instructions and see how they react.
This is particularly good to teach them when they spit half-eaten food out on the floor or spill their drink. You can help them at first so they know what to do but then go ahead and hand them a kitchen towel next time and get them to have a go, you’ll be surprised how good their clumsy little hands can be at cleaning up and it’s great for their motor skills too.
In the long run it will really pay off to teach your little one to help so that it becomes a habit when they spill something or get done playing and they will be more helpful as they grow up as well.
Communicate what you want them to do and be clear and concise about your expectations, it works a whole lot better by telling them that it’s time to clean up now, rather than asking them if they want to or trying to coax them into it.
As parents we need to make the rules, provide structure and be consistent so that they feel safe and secure knowing that someone is in control…even if deep down we know we may be on the verge of losing it at any given time (on those days our patience wears a little thin)…like when you’ve been encouraging them to go on the potty for half an hour and they finally get up and pee on the carpet!!!
Just take a deep breath and hang in there, this too will pass and one day you’ll beam with pride at how well mannered and responsible your little one has become and you’ll be able to laugh about all the mishaps along the way. Of course it’s also good to remember to have a sense of humor because anytime you start to feel like you’re doing pretty good they’re gonna find a way to present you with a new challenge and keep you on your toes, so good luck mama! 😉