Are you ex­pect­ing too much from your one-year-old?

Young Parents (Singapore) - - C NTENTS -

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 sufcient. That way it is pos­si­ble for him to achieve what you want.

Praise suc­cesses

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.

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