Monday Moments ~ The Boundaries of a Toddler

Little angel not quite so angelic anymore? Toddlers love to test boundaries as they discover the world around them. One time or another as parents, we will share a not so soothing moment when our child decides to test the waters of back talk. Here are a few simple ways to redirect and reinstate the proper way to react to and respond when spoken to.

1. Plan ahead. Decide on a consequence that you will implement if your child talks rudely to you. Examples include watching a favorite TV show, taking a favorite toy away for a day or to, or sending them to time out. The rule of thumb for a time out is a minute for each year of their age. So a five year old, will receive a 5 minute time out, a 6 year old a 6 minute time out and so on.

2. Respond decisively. When your child speaks rudely, say “That language (or tone) is not acceptable. As a result, I am taking (fill in the blank) away for today.”

3. Follow through with no further discussion. Do not offer a second chance. Do not negotiate. Avoid the word “if” (as in “If you do that again, I’m going to…”). It makes you sound weak instead of decisive and your child will pick up on that.

4. On a related note, ignore any back talk associated with the consequence. Don’t get drawn into explaining or justifying your position. On the other, don’t punish your child again if he gives you back talk when you enforce the consequence. Treat it as one incident.