Setting limits with your toddler is very tricky, but essential. They are still learning their environment, and our role as parents is to guide with respect and support our children.
As a Montessori Teacher and fascinated with neuroscience, the book I often recommend is The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel. It helped me understand more about the children I work with (0-6) and of course with my own children ( 11-13). Setting limits must be respectful, appropriate, and reasonable.
Just to give you a snippet of what whole brain strategy is, here’s one practical tip from the book
Engage Don’t Enrage :
In high stress situations, engage your child’s upstairs brain by asking her to consider and plan and choose, rather than triggering her downstairs brain which is less about thinking and more about reacting.
- Saying NO to your toddler is ineffective. If your child is throwing kitchen utensils in the kitchen you can say “ How about we go outside and throw a ball instead?”
I suggest saying “STOP” than saying “NO”
- Redirect : If your child is climbing on a table, find an alternative that is safe for her where she is allowed to climb
- Always offer 2 or 3 choices and wait for your child to respond. For snack time instead of saying “What would you like to have for morning tea?” you can ask “Would you like an apple or orange for morning tea?”
What do you do when they don’t choose what you offered them? You may say “I didn’t give you those options, you may choose from the choices I gave you.” They will try to negotiate with you but children under 3s need your GUIDANCE.