We have all seen it. No matter where you go, you always see the crazy toddler that is running around and you wonder what the parent is thinking. Then, you wonder what would you do if it were your child?
Some people do not know how to handle this situation. That is why you see “The Super Nanny” and other show on TV. So what do you do to take a toddler anywhere?
Taking a toddler anywhere starts at home
Before you take a toddler anywhere, you have to let the toddler know your expectations are before you leave.
Let’s take a restaurant for example.
Before leaving for a restaurant, I tell the toddler that we are going to eat and she is going to sit in her chair. I also tell her she is not allowed to run around because that is not appropriate. (Yes, I do use appropriate. I use adult language even to my highly Autistic and severely disabled pre-k three-year-old students.)
Set the expectations for your child to follow. They cannot follow expectations, if they do not know what is expected. Imagine your boss yelling at your for something you had no idea you were suppose to do? How in the world can your child know to sit quietly if you do not tell them to?
Reinforce the expectations at the scene
When you get to where you are going, hold to the expectations you have set. Do not let your toddler change those expectations.
Let’s go back to the example.
At the restaurant, if your toddler does not want to sit down, then you will have to make a decision to either leave or force your child to sit down. However, your toddler cannot run around the restaurant. That would equal changing the expectations and would teach your toddler that your expectations do not mean anything.
Therefore, your consequences have to meet your expectations. Personally, I tell the toddler they can either stand in the chair or sit in the high chair. This simple choice generally eliminates the power struggle and accomplishes my goal of them not leaving the table.
In general, when a toddler is forced to make a decision, they stop arguing and immediately stop the bad behavior. As the adult, if you can come up with an acceptable choice to meet your needs you will find life easy and your toddler very cooperative.
Stop Bad Behavior Instantly
Nothing is worse than a screaming child in a public place. Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to stop a child from dropping into a tantrum. Luckily, not all children will pull this stunt. However, if you have enough kids one of your darlings will try this stunt.
If you have gained credibility with your kids, then a firm “Stop that right this instance” in a low deep voice will calm the tantrum. Otherwise, you will have to pick up the child and escort the child out.
Leaving should only have to happen once. I know this sounds like you are punishing yourself but it is very effective method. It works for years to come and it works on other children as well. From that point on, you will always be remembered as the one who actually left!
It all boils down to setting expectations and sticking to them. I have dealt with the most severely disabled and most “unteachable” of toddlers. I honestly could take them anywhere. Make your expectations clear and make sure they know you will stick to them. They will do what you want if they know what you want.