Not listening and misbehaving is pretty normal in kids (at least some of the time) and in toddlers, well, ALOT of the time! These tips are useful when figuring out why your little one is misbehaving / not listening and how to encourage more appropriate behaviour in the future:
- Are they hungry or tired? (These factors are enough to make anyone grumpy and non-compliant, but especially small children.) It is not an excuse for behaviour, but it does make it easier to understand and to prevent.
- Have I been paying attention to them enough? Often, negative behaviour gets much more attention that positive behaviour. If you have not been paying much attention to your child while they have quietly been building blocks (a good idea is to praise the behaviour we want to see reoccurring) then you may find them throwing blocks at the cat in order to ensure that Mommy notices them.
- When we dont respond to what they say right away, we aren’t modelling good behaviour. Obviously, this is not always possible and children do need to learn to wait, but remember that they are learning from everything that you do. If you ignore them then they may just ignore you. If you are busy, acknowledge that you know they need you, but they need to wait until after you have had a sip of wine (kidding…kinda).
- Would a change of scenery change their behaviour? Over-stimulation is real and can make a child feral (I speak from personal experience). If you’ve gone from the park, to the shops, to coffee at grandma and now you expect your 2 year old to sit down quietly and eat their lunch, you may find food on the floor (or on you) and your mini-me screaming hysterically. Learn to notice the signs of over-stimulation (future post on this) and remove your little one from a situation that might bring on a melt-down.
WHEN SPEAKING TO THEM:
- Get down to their level (you’re harder to ignore!)
- Hold their hands to get and keep their attention.
- Ask for their eye contact and do not speak until you get it.
- Have them repeat back what you said (to ensure they understand what you have said).
Have a great 2018 everyone!