Breaking your tot's bad habits
While exploring their newfound independence, your toddler may pick up a few unsavoury habits. Banish them for good with our practical tips.

The first time you find your toddler pinching a friend on the playground you may feel absolutely horrified and start to question your parenting skills. Rest assured that aggressive behaviour isn’t a malicious act and is in fact quite normal at this stage – your toddler simply isn’t aware that his actions can hurt others. However, the earlier good habits are established and bad habits are banished, the better.

Nose picking

Toddlers may do this out of boredom, curiosity or simply because of an itchy nose. Try to ignore this habit as far as possible and it will soon go away. A parent’s attention is the most powerful way to influence a toddler’s behaviour, and even negative attention from you may spur a bad habit on. Rather ignore the negative behaviour and reward positive behaviour with lots of praise and hugs.

Potty mouth

Toddlers are quick to pick up bad language from those around them and likely to use these juicy new words at the most inopportune times. Bear in mind that your toddler doesn’t really know the meaning of the nasty words he says but does enjoy the attention it brings.

Again, the best way to deal with is not to draw attention to the behaviour. Tell your child in a firm, calm manner that such language is not tolerable and watch your own language around your little one.

Hitting, biting and pinching

Even the toddlers with the most affectionate parents lash out physically. They’re quite impulsive and haven’t yet learnt to control their emotions and self-restraint doesn’t come easy. This can lead to biting, hitting and pinching.

To curb your toddler from lashing out, show him your disapproval by calmly saying, “No, we don’t hit!” Then remove your toddler from the situation and apologise for your child’s behaviour.

Never hit your child as punishment for this as it will only confuse him – rather than modelling a positive way of dealing with a problem, you are showing your toddler that this kind of behaviour is acceptable.

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