Any parent of a toddler knows that this stage of development can be incredibly rewarding—and frustrating! At this age your child’s curiosity is really starting to show, as well as her desire to test boundaries. Read on for some tips to help get your little one to listen to you, and potentially avoid some of those all-too-familiar battles of wills!
Take things slowly
It’s easy to forget just how new things that we take for granted still seem to a toddler. All those background noises, sights and sensations that our adult brains have long since learned to filter out still pose serious distractions to a young child, and result in their thoughts and actions occurring at a far slower pace. Try not to rush them if at all possible, and try to keep any instructions to one or two steps at a time, as this is all they will be able to process at this stage. Also, slow your movements down when trying to show them new things. You’ll find it helps whatever lessons you’re trying to teach sink in much easier.
Sometimes a grumpy mood can be avoided by offering a small choice in what you’re trying to get your child to do. Even something seemingly inconsequential like letting them choose between two pairs of socks when getting dressed can make them feel like they have a little more control over themselves and hence less frustrated.
A toddler is only just starting to make sense of the world around them, and you’ll only confuse them if you accept a certain behaviour one day and then change your mind the next, or are unclear about what you want from them. Following on from this, don’t back down in the face of resistance to your day to day rules, and be ready to follow through if you threaten any punishment for bad behaviour.
Make listening fun!
Even a young toddler may not get much entertainment out of mundane, day to day tasks they need to do. Why not make things more fun by singing a song to accompany getting dressed, or turn tidying up into a game by putting things away in order of colour or shape? Children are far more likely to go along with what you’re asking them to do if they think it will be fun, after all.
Get them involved!
It’s never too early to start instilling a sense of helping out around the house. Even a young toddler can join in with the day to day housework in little ways, such as helping stir a sauce or putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket. They’ll feel like they’re being useful, and with any luck you’ll be instilling habits that will overcome the inevitable time they get too old to find the chores fun!
Lead by example
It seems an obvious thing, but never lose sight of the fact that you’re your child’s main, if not only, role model. No matter how frustrated, angry or upset you may be feeling, try to stay calm and you’ll find your outward mood reflected by your little one more and more. Likewise, if you take the time to listen to your child then they in turn will grow to be a good listener themselves. Just remember, take your time and keep your calm, and eventually even the most difficult tot will begin to listen and do as they’re told!