Positive Guidance: Q’s & A’s

Positive Guidance: Q’s & A’s

Hi all! We hope you walked away from our workshop with some useful nuggets of information and thought this follow up information might give you a little more to consider. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find a couple of links to some related resources on the same topic that we thought might be of interest to you. Enjoy!

What are reasonable consequences for a toddler?
When considering reasonable, effective consequences for a toddler, we encourage you to make sure that they are timely and relevant. For example, if your child is throwing a tantrum over a toy in the morning, it would be most effective to address the tantrum immediately, perhaps by removing the toy. It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it be effective to remove a different privilege, such as eating a treat, later in the day. Young children live in the moment, and delayed consequences are ineffective at this stage.

In addition to using logical consequences, natural consequences are very effective. For example, if your child is throwing sand, a logical consequence would be to remove the child from the sandbox (assuming you’ve already given a warning) whereas a natural consequence would look like the child getting sand in their eyes. I’m not telling you to throw sand in your child’s eyes!  😉  But, if it happens naturally, you might observe, “Oh no, you were throwing sand, and it got into your eyes. Ouch!” Over time, using both natural and logical consequences will help deter those unwanted behaviors!

What happens when there is an issue of safety?
Sometimes children engage in behaviors that are non-negotiable (such as trying to run across the street!) Obviously, in these moments, safety is paramount. I had a colleague once refer to the voice needed in these moments as their “dog voice.” Essentially, saving your big voice for these moments and using minimal language (“Stop!!”) is key to having your child listen! If you’re always using a dog voice, they will begin to tune you out. It might scare your child in the moment, though you can always explain to them your need to keep them safe, and you can even do this in advance. For example, “It’s my job to keep you safe, and sometimes I might use a loud voice so you can hear my message. I’m not mad, but I do get scared when you are not being safe.”

My child just won’t listen. What do I do when they wander or have difficulty moving from one activity to another?
This is a tough one! Some children are simply more active than others, and temperament is a key factor here, though this behavior is pretty common amongst all toddlers at one time or another!Typically, it takes several tools to assist children when they are in this space, and it might even take some experimentation to figure out which tools are most effective with your child. Some of my favorite tools with children in this scenario include using some combination of providing expectations ahead of time, using minimal language, getting down on the child’s level, making eye contact, whispering, offering limited choices (even if the choices are “You can do it.” or “I can help you.”), and using a when/then statement, such as “When you finish putting your shoes on, then we can go for a walk.”

Related resources . . .

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