November 03, 2011

React positively to toddlers' behaviour

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We often focus on what children cannot do rather than what they can do.

With toddlers and preschoolers, their limitations become magnified when they are compared to their older peers. We cannot marvel at their capabilities when we make such comparisons, and it affects our responses to their efforts.

Take a 14-month-old who is still working on his hand grip. He does not differentiate between edible and non-edible objects. When he is given a piece of bread in the same way he is offered a small ball, he will throw it down after picking it up. This is his obvious reaction.

When toddlers are engaged in typical behaviours, such as climbing up a table, running away, grabbing a toy, yelling in protest, how can we not view these behaviours negatively? 

We would say: “He is so stubborn,” or “She is really mischievous.” We would try to change these behaviours immediately. Before we start our usual responses, we must first change our mindset. Go for one that is of curiosity and focus on the child’s mind.

You may be able to offer the right kind of guidance when you stop to ponder on how your actions will affect his learning.

Your toddler gets a little aggressive with his young friend. Instead of chiding him, you may say to him: “You want to play with your friend, let me show you how you can be nice so that he will play with you.”

When your child refuses to co-operate and eat his dinner, respectfully let him leave the dining table. You can see him as a two-year-old who is longing for some control rather than one who is defiant. He may want his dinner later when he is hungry. << done!

Children see and hear things differently from adults. They do not make the same interpretations as they lack experience and maturity. They are curious as to how things work. They explore with their senses. Putting things in their mouth and throwing them down are what they do to discover the world around them.

For the above purpose, place objects that are washed and clean for your child and remove all breakable items. As he grows older, you will tell him and show him that certain things need careful handling.

Parents tend to prevent toddlers from getting near household activities like cooking, washing and sorting the laundry. But these are things that intrigue young kids, who want to be part of the family and do the same work. Try allocating simple tasks that your toddler can manage while you are doing the chores.

When he makes a mess eating with his fingers, give him the pleasure of cleaning up after himself. Of course, you can do it faster and cleaner but he enjoys it more. Be patient and give him the right tools to do the work. A child-size cleaning towel or a hand brush and pan. A small pail of soapy water that is only half-filled. Allow enough time for him to finish the job by himself. <<--- slalu je nak tolong basuhkan tangan syabil... cepat sket.. heh

Trust your child to carry out the task on his own without help. That is, if you have shown him how to do it beforehand. Refrain from grabbing the cleaning sponge from him. Your child will learn to give up when he cannot complete a task independently. Your action will only reinforce the notion that he is incapable without help. << must bear in mind nih... otherwise syabil jadi dependent.....

Send your child a positive message. Allow him to finish his task until he is completely satisfied and is proud of his achievement. He will grow to appreciate the effort he puts into his activities.

If you are challenged by your toddler’s curiosity and active exploration, make a list of behaviours that you tend to react negatively to. Write down also positive responses that you should work on. << checklist yang akan dibuat... (emm, baiklah)

As you practise these reactions with your toddler, you will observe clearly your child’s intentions and begin to understand him better. 

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