4 bad toddler habits and how to break them

bad toddler habits and how to break them maternity and infant family

The toddler years can be tough. They’re a rare breed – sometimes stubborn and with bad habits that can be hard to shake. Here are some of the most common bad habits that toddlers adopt, and our theory on how to break them.

Grabbing

The ‘want it now’ symptoms of a toddler! Sometimes they can skip the ‘please’ and the ‘thank you’, as they haven’t fully grasped the act of patience. This can result in some grabbing. Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Sit down beside your toddler and explain that the other child or you are still using the object.
  • Then explain that your toddler can have a turn once they are finished, but that they have to wait their turn.
  • If your toddler starts to have a tantrum, don’t give in. Explaining the situation to them at their level, will enable them to understand the concept better.
Hitting and/or biting

Toddlers can have trouble expressing themselves. This is because their verbal skills are not as developed as yours or mine, and it can result in them lashing out to get what they want. Here’s what to do:

  • Calmly but firmly make it clear that hitting or biting others is not acceptable.
  • After saying this, give them some time to cool down in a quiet place, or take away a small privilege for a short while. This will let them know that the way they behaved was wrong.
  • The message will soon get across to them that if they do something bad, they will lose something good, and they should soon stop.
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Lying

Toddlers at this age are only beginning to realise the concept of real and imaginary and the difference between right and wrong. Asking a toddler if they did something wrong, will naturally prompt a denial to avoid scolding. Here’s what to do if your toddler starts to lie:

  • Try instead stating the obvious, like “Our new vase is broken. This is why we do not ever run in the house.” Being obvious eliminates room for them to lie, and when they eventually tell the truth, make sure to praise and award their honesty, teaching them that honesty reaps rewards.
Throwing

At this age, your toddler is experimenting in every way possible, and throwing things is one of those oh so fun experiments! To try and stop your toddler throwing, explain to him that some things are fine being thrown (outside while playing) and some are not. If your toddler continues to throw items that you asked them not to, take it away from them. Tell them why random throwing is wrong: “This object is hard, it could hurt someone”, and let them know if they want to throw the items they are allowed to, they can go outside and do so.

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