The best way a toddler learns limits is by testing them. You will always see a toddler asserting their independence by saying no to you or by escaping situations. Setting limits does not mean that you are stunting their development, it only means that you are slowly and gently laying foundations of discipline and personality.
Young toddlers do not understand what we mean when we tell them to hurry or ask them to wait or to take turns and share. Each child develops at their own time and so it is crucial for parents to keep teaching and reinforcing. Patience is the key. Our teachers at Memorial Montessori Preschool always use this formula.
You will notice that toddlers are attracted to certain adults in the family or circle of friends. These are the people who always notice the positive things kids do and who always comment positively on their behaviour. These are also the people these young ones want to please because the attention delights them. The key is to praise good things and you will get more of the same.
Nagging, shouting and pleading affects the willingness of your child to comply. Always take the path of being calm and positive and never let your child see if they have successfully managed to push your buttons. Speak calmly, politely and firmly when your child misbehaves. You may need to physically remove your child from a situation but always mind your tone of voice.
Toddlers need simple and clear instructions so they know exactly what is expected of them. Instead of telling your child not to mess up the room, tell them to clean up. Instead of telling them not to run on the road, tell them to hold your hand. Children are able to understand requests better than sentences with ‘don’t’.
How do you set limits for your toddler?