1 YEAR OLD
Are you expecting too much from your one-year-old?
It’s only natural that you want your toddler to be well-behaved, to cooperate with you, to be sociable with others and to do exactly as you ask of him.
For example, you’d love him to sit quietly in his stroller while you wander round the mall. You’d be delighted if he ate all his lunch without complaining. You’d be over the moon if he didn’t have a tantrum every time you tell him he can’t have his own way.
Instead, he makes up his own mind on these matters, so his behaviour may not meet your expectations.
First, ask yourself these questions:
What do I base my expectations on?
You develop your ideas about bringing up your kid from a range of sources, including your childhood experiences, magazines, websites and other parents. And you’ll have already discovered wide variations about the way a tot should behave. There is no single set of rules that applies to all.
Do I expect too much of my toddler?
Perhaps it is unrealistic to assume that your energetic tot should fall asleep the moment his head touches the pillow. And perhaps a child this age doesn’t usually sit quietly in a stroller. Consider the possibility that the standards you set for him are too high.
Does he respond to my demands?
There’s no point in expecting your little one, say, to play with the same toy for 10 minutes if you know that he is easily distracted. Try to accept his standard, if that is the best he can possibly do at the moment. Of course you should encourage him to improve, but avoid fruitless confrontation.
Do I push him far too hard?
If your young one consistently fails to meet your expectations – and you nd that you’re constantly arguing with him – then consider lowering your demands so he can achieve the behaviour targets you set. There is no point persisting with goals that are completely beyond him.
Here are four suggestions to help you manage your little one more successfully:
Set realistic targets
For instance, if he is a disorganised type of child, don’t expect him to keep his toys neatly stacked in the corner.
Perhaps a starting goal of putting one item in the toy box each night is sufcient. That way it is possible for him to achieve what you want.
When you reprimand your tot for his misbehaviour, it draws attention to his failures. That’s why it’s better to say: “I’m really pleased you sat quietly in your stroller in the shop today, that made me very happy,” than to say: “I wish you would sit in your stroller for longer without moaning.”
Gradually increase your expectations
He played nicely with another young child for a minute without snatching each other’s toy! Once you see that Junior has achieved the goal you set for him, increase your demands gently.
For example, expect him to play with his friend for a few moments longer without ghting.
Watch other parents and toddlers
Ultimately, you decide how you want to raise your child and how he should behave, but there is no harm in observing other parents with their young kids. You can learn a lot from watching them cope with the same challenges that you face.
Consider the possibility that standards you set for him are too high. For example, a child this age doesn’t usually sit quietly in a stroller.