Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all


  • 1.  behavior

    Posted 02-08-2020 11:21 AM
    I am looking for successful tools to help with toddler behavior.  Thank you!

    Deborah S. Mears
    Director of Early Childhood
    Kettering City Schools

    "I wish you well!"

  • 2.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-09-2020 06:43 AM
    Hello Deborah,

    One book/website I have found invaluable since I discovered it quite a few years ago while attending a workshop, is THE PARENT CHILD DANCE by Miriam Manela.  Though it was originally written for parents and is by an Occupational Therapist, MANY of the strategies she recommends are spot on for all children and for any adult dealing with children.  She also has a very helpful website called THE THRIVE GROUP.  Look it up- you won't be sorry!!

    Also, as a retired early childhood educator, I always found and firmly believe that staying positive is much more effective.  Though it can be difficult at times, it is worth it.  When in the midst of a tantrum, for example, it is best to let the child know you are there for him/her and when they have calmed down you can try to discuss alternatives.  PREVENTION is also helpful- very often when behaviors are getting dangerous or out of hand, so to speak, have many alternatives to reroute the child/ren.  Some ideas: ask child to help you or another, give child a toy you know he/she likes, start singing or moving/dancing, and remember to always point out positive and acceptable behavior.

    I hope this helps- Gina James

    Gina James
    Williston Pk NY

  • 3.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-09-2020 08:37 AM
      |   view attached
    Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey is a GREAT resource.
    This resource helped me design a program I created called Y.O.G.A.- Your Objectives Get Accomplished that I teach in the school I work in.  The thing is that kids need to learn how to be mindful, which includes identifying their emotions.  If you tune into body language you could help a toddler identify difficult feelings.  For instance, if they are angry and throwing a tantrum then saying "You seem angry."  Can you tell me why?  If they can't bc they are out of control- lead them through slow/purposeful deep breaths- "STAR Breaths" until they have calmed enough to talk.  LISTEN.  Show you care.  Give acceptable choices ( you can choose this or that)- both of the choices are something you can live with.  Empowering all people, even toddlers, helps them to feel control.  Feeling as you if have some say over your own life often helps eliminate behaviors in the first place.  Best of Luck!

    Jessica Janowsky
    Yoga M.A.G.I.C.
    Elmira NY

  • 4.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-09-2020 08:58 AM
    Great suggestions so far.  I would add a few websites to check out.

    I often recommend these to parents and teachers and make print articles from their posts.  Janet Lansbury also has a useful book, No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.

    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA

  • 5.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-09-2020 11:46 AM
    Deborah, I don't know what you already know, so please don't take offence if I start with basics. Toddlers often are the most punished children. Their new brains have a great deal of curiosity and inadequate development of a sense of consequences (that literally doesn't finish growing until about the age of 25).The basis of dealing with their behaviors that can be frustrating and even dangerous is relationship. They need not to be afraid of their caregiver. They need to be soothed when something goes wrong so the part of their brain that thinks most completely (PFC) can be used. That gets them past the part of the brain that quickly thinks--like responding to a snake in the grass--and that leads to responses that are fight, flight, or freeze (amygdala). You can see in this why punishment doesn't work. A trusted caregiver with calm body, voice, and eyes can discuss the consequences of a negative behavior--good to discuss positive ones as well. You will see on Hello many caregivers asking for help with things like biting, hitting, shoving and such. If you read these you will get more help than I'm offering here, I've shared some basics.

    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT

  • 6.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-09-2020 12:53 PM

    Hi Deborah.

    I encourage you to check out Let's Talk Toddlers: A Practical Guide to High-Quality Teaching (Redleaf Press). This book explains the need for a balance of meaningful and appropriately challenging learning experiences that really match the developmental needs of toddlers. It also present specific behavior guidance strategies designed for this unique age group.

    Most toddler classrooms do not provide a sufficient level of language and cognitive challenge and lack materials and spaces that can engage children for increasingly longer periods of time. Without that challenge, children struggle with each other and struggle to manage the spaces.

    Behavior success depends on lots of physical activity and movement, appropriate learning challenge, and positive supervision where teachers really engage children in meaningful conversations. This is a foundation that is critical to bring out the best in toddlers. Once that foundation is in place, behavior guidance focuses on preparing children and supporting their skills through modeling and positive redirection. Sometimes, teachers expect toddlers to be able to do independently what they actually need ongoing support to accomplish.

    I also recommend 101 Principles for Positive Guidance: Creating Responsive Teachers (Pearson). This book gives specific examples of how to reorient "mis" behaviors by age. There are tips and strategies to respond to and minimize challenging behaviors.

    More and more, I am focusing on the interconnections between behavior, the design of spaces, learning challenges that strengthen emerging skills, responsive, warm relationships, and consistency of routines. These all work together to keep toddlers meaningfully engaged. Positive family communication also can help teachers better understand each child's needs - and ensure positive outcomes.

    Toddler behavior - it can be a real challenge! I think these resources will encourage teachers and provide really practical ways to make needed changes. 

    Marie Masterson

    Marie Masterson
    McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
    Wheeling, IL

  • 7.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-10-2020 01:37 PM
    All great suggestions, I want to mention specifically (as Marie has) the physical environment. Often I see toddler rooms either quite bare or  modeled on a preK room with shelves of manipulatives. Toddlers are in the age of perpetual motion. Among their key learning goals are proprioception: the sense of the relative position of parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement, and vestibular: the perception of our body in relation to gravity, movement and balance. You can see how these are shiny new developments when compared to their previous lives as infants, with just the rudimentary beginnings of development in these areas.

    We do not want the children to hear a lot of "no's," so the environment needs to provide for constant gross motor learning/doing opportunities, and an ample supply of age appropriate materials: no choking hazards, and enough multiples so there is no need to "share."

    I have watched the tenor of a toddler room transform simply from the addition of large foam blocks (ramps, tunnels, etc.) being made available in the center of the room- and shelves of trucks, smaller blocks and other engaging toys placed at self help level around the walls.

    Toddlers are do-ers, and while it is important to create safe areas for quiet play where children won't get trodden on, most toddlers will happily spend a lot of their waking day in motion.

    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA

  • 8.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-10-2020 05:34 PM
    Yes Karen, environment is the third teacher. The way we set up, children will know their limits and how to play within. Small groups and more space to move around with toys at their eye level - will give them freedom of movement and choice.

    I believe, we should refrain from saying five words - No, Stop, Can't, Won't and Don't....tell them what they can do instead of what they can't do.


    Jagruti Patel
    Patel Family Child Care
    Redlands CA

  • 9.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-10-2020 12:59 AM
    Try Katherine Kersey's 101 Principles of Positive Guidance.
    As someone said, Conscious Discipline is amazing!
    Twos can learn mindful breathing techniques as well!

    Patricia Jack
    Boulder City NV

  • 10.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-10-2020 05:28 PM

    At toddler age, I see them as "Terrific" twos and not at all "Terrible" twos.

    We need to understand age/stage - brain development along with all domains development process. They are learning and understanding how world works around them, "theory of Mind" is developing - understanding others' perspective and are also learning to understand their emotions-regulating them ------all this happens based on our actions not reactions.

    - Early Literacy - speaking new words, forming sentences, - while processing in their little brains how to put words together -- we have to give them some time and not expect immediate response.
    - We also need to follow up our words with action -  for example- if we ask them to sit down - they know what to do but sometimes they take time to put it into action -we help them sit down.
    - Repetition of words and actions - with consistency on our part will help toddlers learn what/how/why to do
    - "Be there" - when they need/demand our attention, before any inappropriate action happens and above all "be in sync" - know/understand their temperament/way of learning/doing things and what are the dynamics with each other, trigger points - be proactive.
    - Small groups, one on one interactions, building a relationship of trust and care....

    You can visit PITC - Program for Infant Toddler Care or zero to three websites to learn more on toddlers....
    Hope this helps. Any specific question/concern, please feel free to email me.

    Jagruti Patel
    Patel Family Child Care
    Redlands CA

  • 11.  RE: behavior

    Posted 02-10-2020 05:40 PM
    @Jagruti Patel Terrific Twos​ is exactly what my university Infant and Toddler professor called them! Take advantage of all teachable moments. ​​​

    Patricia Jack
    Boulder City NV