BAN

THOSE BAD HABITS

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your 1 To 3 Years Old Toddler - BY YOLANDI NORTH

In his book The Hap­pi­est Tod­dler on the Block, pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Har­vey Karp com­pares tod­dlers to cave­men. “They pee in the liv­ing room. They pick their nose. They put food in their hair… When they get up­set, they spit and scream and scratch and throw things.” And par­ents have the priv­i­leged (yet un­en­vi­able) task of civil­is­ing them.

Tod­dlers live in the right side of their brains, says Dr Karp. This is the part of the brain that is con­trolled by feel­ings, which ex­plains why they are so emo­tional and im­pul­sive. The left side of your tod­dler’s brain (which helps con­trol emo­tion) will only ma­ture at around age four.

As a par­ent it be­comes hard to dis­tin­guish be­tween a nor­mal de­vel­op­men­tal phase, naugh­ti­ness and bad habits. Luck­ily, there are strate­gies you can use to curb these.

YOUR RE­AC­TION IS KEY

Be­fore you tackle any of the in­di­vid­ual be­hav­iours that you’re look­ing to tame in your tod­dler, ex­am­ine your own ways of ap­proach­ing dis­ci­pline. Of­ten, it is the way you “pun­ish” your tod­dler that causes her to act out even more.

AC­KNOWL­EDGE FEEL­INGS WITH­OUT AL­LOW­ING UN­AC­CEPT­ABLE BE­HAV­IOUR Ann Richard­son, au­thor of Tod­dler Sense and par­ent­ing coach, says that your tod­dler should be guided to ver­balise the un­der­ly­ing feel­ings she is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, while at the same time you are teach­ing her to limit the bad be­hav­iour. Use words like: “I can see that you are very an­gry, but we do not hurt peo­ple by hit­ting them when we feel up­set.” ex­pected of her be­hav­iour if she’s al­lowed to do some­thing to­day and to­mor­row she’s not.

IF YOU FEEL

CHILD’S THAT YOUR

Y COMPLETEL IS BE­HAV­IOUR

TRUST YOUR OUT OF CON­TROL,

CON­TACT A IN­STINCTS AND

AL FOR AD­VICE. PRO­FES­SION

IST OR PLAY PSY­CHOLOG A A

WOULD BE THER­A­PIST

GOOD OP­TION

HE’S ASK­ING FOR HIS OWN BED If your child is in­ter­ested in hav­ing his own bed and you’re com­fort­able with the idea, go for it. If he is able to ver­balise some­thing like this, he is also likely to un­der­stand those imag­i­nary bound­aries.

4 5

The dif­fi­culty arises with your eight-mon­thold baby. At this age ba­bies start to form a more con­sis­tent pic­ture of an “ob­ject” in their minds that they start to rely on to feed them, calm them down as well as un­der­stand what they may be want­ing or feel­ing. At this age that ob­ject is you, and when you leave (even if it’s for a short pe­riod) the baby may ex­pe­ri­ence sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety. In a nor­mal sit­u­a­tion, moth­ers go to work dur­ing the day and then come back home, which the baby

starts to be­come ac­cus­tomed to. How­ever, go­ing away for three weeks is more of a sig­nif­i­cant loss for her. She won’t re­ally be able to grasp what has hap­pened – all she’ll know is that her ob­ject is gone. This can cause some emo­tional dif­fi­cul­ties.

When con­sid­er­ing both your chil­dren’s ages and needs it would be im­por­tant to re­think your travel ar­range­ments. At most I would sug­gest a week’s sep­a­ra­tion from your chil­dren.

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