Communicating Effectively with Your Toddler

  • Meet them where they are: Before asking or telling your child something, connect with them first. Get close, notice what they are doing and then start talking.
  • Turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’: Instead of saying ‘no shouting’, you could say ‘let’s try to speak quietly, ok?’
  • Be specific: Under twos don’t fully grasp abstract instructions such as ‘tidy your toys’. ‘Let’s put the fire truck back in your toy box’ makes a lot more sense to them, which makes them more likely to follow the instruction you have given.
  • Give choices: It’s important that children, however young, feel involved in making choices. ‘What would like to do first, put on your pyjamas or brush your teeth?’ can go a long way in preventing bedtime meltdowns because your toddler is both involved and distracted.
  • Give advance notice: Knowing what’s about to happen prepares your child for a change. Something as simple as ‘when we’re finished lunch we’re going to go in the car and visit grandad’ creates security for toddlers because it provides routine and structure.
  • Be playful: Play is the language of children so a teddy bear asking for help to tidy up or a toothbrush that turns into a magic wand turns monotonous chores into fun games.

As featured in the Limerick Chronicle 13th September 2016

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