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Turn your 'Don'ts' into 'Dos' - How to get your toddler to listen

Do you ever have days where you feel like all you are saying is, 'no!' or 'don't!' to your child and they don't appear to be listening?

Seeing it from your toddler's point of view, it is totally justified. Being told not to do something without a justifiable reason when you're a toddler, is a difficult concept to grasp. They are still learning how to understand the world around them and they are still figuring out what boundaries are.

The quickest way to communicate, is to say "no" or "don't", but a better approach, and one that may take some practice, is to tell your child what to do, instead of what not to do.

You may have noticed that when you have said "don't touch that", your child has immediately touched it. They may still be running when you have said "don't run!" and they may have hit again, when you have said "stop hitting".

Overuse of "no" or "don't" actually weakens the words, and you will find that your child isn't doing as you have said.

Instead, try a short reminder of what you are expecting your child to do. So, "don't run!" becomes "lets use our walking feet" "don't hit your sister" becomes "we use kind hands".

You can then go onto a brief explanation as to why walking feet is a better option to running, or why using kind hands is a must.

Keeping your reminder short to gain their full attention at first, and then giving a more lengthy explanation, means that they hear the important part when they are absorbed in what they are doing, as so often toddlers are. If you give a long command they will only hear a snippet, and often that snippet isn't the really important part, so cut to the chase.

There will obviously be times where your child is in immediate danger and a firm "stop!", "no!" or "don't!" is a must, and by using these words, in these instances only, you will find that your child is more inclined to follow your requests, which, when there is danger, you really want.

Remember, children respond best to requests that are firm and direct, but also calm, so avoid yelling or shouting as this will make them shut down, and yes, you guessed it, mean they also won't listen.

For further help with any aspect of your toddlers behaviour, why not book in a consultation? To book, click here.

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