Mom Tip Monday: Toddler Guidance Techniques

by Heligirl on January 3, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

If you have a toddler or preschooler in your house, you’re quickly becoming very familiar with their insatiable appetite to explore, experiment and push their boundaries to the absolute limit. That sweet little baby that used to follow your lead and eat, sleep, play and go along with you when you offered has now started to show some real independence.

With that independence comes a fair level of frustration on both the child’s and your part. Suddenly, as parents and caregivers, we’re thrust into a new world where we need to figure out all over again how to encourage these little people without punishing or spoiling them.

Guidance is an excellent way to approach toddlers and preschoolers. By guiding them through these feelings, emotions and new desires, we can continue to kindly but firmly keep them moving forward in their journey to a self confident future. Here are 25 great guidance techniques to add to your arsenal, plenty of options for you to pick and choose from as you encourage your little ones. You’ll recognize many of these from past tips, and I’ve provided a link where I could for you.

1.    Give your child lots of positive attention for appropriate behavior

2.    Ignore inappropriate behavior

3.    Redirect dangerous behavior.

4.    State suggestions in a positive rather than negative form. Tell your child what he/she can do rather than what he/she can’t.

5.    Set a good example for children to model after.

6.    Use your voice as a teaching tool.

7.    Warn your child in advance of a proposed transition.

8.    Toddlers like to dawdle. Allow enough time to get places. The more you hurry, the longer it can take.

9.    Follow through with what you say.

10.  If you’re going to give in to your child’s request, do so immediately, before the whining starts.

11.  Avoid ultimatums such as, “you have to eat all your lunch before you can go out and play.”

12.  If a request cannot be granted, distraction of any kind may be your best bet, or terminate by changing the scene.

13.  Avoid questions which can be answered by “no.”

14.  Offer choices, and give your child a choice only if you’re willing to accept what he/she chooses.

15.  Once a tantrum has begun, ignore it as much as possible (meaning don’t react to it), but stay close to show your support for the child (don’t close them in another room to deal with the emotions alone).

16.  The best technique for tantrums is to prevent them before they begin, but understand sometimes they’ll happen and at that point, just be there for your child until it passes.

17.  Take advantage of your child’s ritualistic tendencies to help you through routine times. (Bed time, dressing, etc.)

18.  Accept your child’s need for sameness.

19.  Accept and even welcome security measures your child sets up for himself, such as a favorite toy or blanket.

20.  Avoid any expectation that all daily routines will go smoothly.

21.  Don’t expect your child to wait for things or to take turns easily.

22.  Don’t expect your toddler to share and don’t force this concept. Offer substitute toys for the other child (modeling).

23.  Arrange your house in a way that limits the possibility for inappropriate behaviors. For instance, valuable things aren’t reachable, keep a regular predictable schedule, have appropriate things in every room and even in the car for your child.

24.  Avoid getting upset by your child’s demands and rigidities. Their behaviors are not bad or rebellious at this age, just immature.

25.  Give your child undivided alone time with you every day to give him/her lots of positive attention. Do an activity together of your child’s choice. Doing this every day will have an incredibly positive affect on your child’s behavior, not to mention your relationship.


Krista January 3, 2011 at 3:49 am

I love these tips. I really do.

Can I ask a question? What age do you consider a “toddler”? My daughter is 15 months and has just started pushing her boundaries… whining, saying “no no” right before she does something she knows she’s not supposed to do, watching for my reaction when she does other things. I try to ignore the whining, I try to stick to my guns when I say no, I redirect, etc. But, I feel like I’m already giving in too much and I’m worried that at some point, I’m going to regret it. My husband says she’s too young to understand (he gives in more than me). I have to tell you, I see now why people say the newborn stage is the easy part. Some days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.
Krista recently posted: 2010 Reflection

Twitter: Heligirl
January 3, 2011 at 7:51 am

Hi Krista. It sure does sound like she’s well into the “toddler” stage. I can sure empathize with you through this stage. Sweetness is very much the same way, and it still comes and goes even though she’s in her preschool years now. The best advice I can offer from what I’ve learned and tried is to stay calm (keep your reactions to a minimum), restate what she can do, and stay with your guns. You can also start experimenting with logical consequences. She clearly understand what she’s not supposed to do, and at that age they do understand more than they let on. Give her a warning such as if she, for instance, throws food from her tray, dinner is over. We initiated this one with our boy at 15 months and he caught on pretty quick. Hope this helps some. 🙂

Liz F January 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

By psychological standards, a toddler is 12 months +. Jen I see SO much stuff on here that could be straight out of my Lifespan Psych textbook 🙂

Previous post:

Next post: