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Label and Model

Be very careful that you don’t label your toddler as “bold”. When we label children, they will undoubtedly take on that role. Sometimes we deliver attention to toddlers when they are doing things that are unsafe, and we may label that behaviour as “bold” or call them bold. Children and toddlers do things to get our attention, and if we deliver this attention contingent on “bold” behaviour all the time, this is what we will see all the time. Rather relabel behaviour as “unsafe” behaviour.

Be careful, that’s not safe a big boy/girl does safe things, they don’t do that.

Do this instead.

Show them the alternative.  As soon as you see them following your instruction, immediately attend to that very positive choice they made.

Well done that’s what a big boy/girl does, good for you, high five!!

Also, it’s okay for us to feel anger. It is a very normal emotion that we all feel. The problems arise when we act out that anger. You can model the best choices to make when we feel angry. Do a little role-play by showing them your reactions when things go wrong for you. Label for them what is happening. For example.

“Oh no, Mommy, can’t reach the plate…. Grghhhhh Mommy is feeling angry, …. She can’t get what she wants, Mommy feels like she’s going to have a meltdown. What should I do? I know I will draw a circle slowly in the air with my finger and breathe in and out”

Do this action yourself and ask them to copy you… Model this regularly for them every day to show them we can make choices when we are getting angry. Make sure you give them lots of praise and attention, when you see them using this strategy. Always prompt them to use this strategy if you see any onset of any of the tantrum phases.