Tuesday, September 28, 2010

5 Easy Ways to Talk to Your Toddler

I read an article yesterday about an airline passenger using an e-cigarette in an airport before boarding. Fellow travelers were upset that he was smoking in a non-smoking area. He pointed out that he was using an e-cigarette and that he was, technically, not smoking. Airport authorities asked him to stop, stating that e-cigarettes gave the perception of smoking.

This story reminded me of something that happened when I took my children with me grocery shopping last week. We left in a hurry and had not eaten breakfast. I told them that for being such good sports we would pick out a breakfast goody at the bakery. As we viewed the offerings, I suggested a chocolate doughnut. They couldn't decide.

Then their eyes wandered over to the dessert case. They saw a piece of chocolate cake and told me the cake was what they wanted for breakfast. I told them that cake was not a good breakfast and that they should choose something from the traditional breakfast items. They looked at the cake and then at the doughnut. I could see that, to them, there was little difference between the cake and the frosted doughnut. How could I explain to them the difference, when in reality, there was no significant difference?

Children are very literal creatures. If we ask them not to yell in the house and then shout for them to bring us something, we shouldn't be surprised when our 3 year old tells us not to yell in the house.

Here are some things I have learned about communicating with toddlers:

Get down to their level and look into their eyes when you talk.
Don’t give them too many choices. Tell them what you expect.
Always compliment their good behavior.
Simply outline each step of a task or upcoming event.
Let them make some daily choices.

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