Did you just get an order from a miniature-sized drill sergeant? When your toddler tells you to ‘get her that desirable object now,’ you’re probably tempted to chuckle. You might even smile in awe as she shows her older cousin the “correct” way to play that game, fancying herself a fabulous teacher. While it’s perfectly natural for toddlers to let a little personality come through, if this non-flexibility tendency is not dealt with now, down the line you could be stuck with a tween who’s been getting her own way for so long, that you are no longer in charge . The truth is, while it may be easier to just give them what they want, your little one needs your mommy-knows-best judgment-call on most things. Because let’s face it, you have way more experience than she does. So what are some simple strategies to handle bossy toddlers?
One strategy is to pay less attention to the bad behavior, in other words ignore them. Young children love an audience, so don’t encourage her bad behavior by laughing when she’s doing a no-no. Even scolding her is attention, but the negative kind. And when they have a full-blown tantrum, the best thing to do is just let her cry it out in a safe place, but don’t get involved. Also, it’s important to be aware that sometimes, bossiness could stem from the need for more attention. Be sure you are spending quality time with your little one.
Another important pointer, as is to enforce social skills and set a good example as early as possible Think about the way you ask for things around the house. Is it polite? You are your child’s first role model and it is possible that her bossiness could reflect the way that you relate to her. Even though you are her parent and in charge, it pays to be polite to your child so she will use her manners with those around her. Ask toddlers kindly to make her requests in an appropriate manner. Something along the lines of: Is that how you ask for a drink of milk?
Be consistent with rules and don’t give in. If your child is making demands, and being inflexible, don’t give in just so you can have some peace and quiet. If your toddler throws his bowl of spaghetti on the floor after you have told him not to in the past, take him out of his chair and employ the appropriate method of punishment. Stick with the rules you set and the type of punishment you enforce. Remember, consistency is key with toddlers. Bending the rules will only send your child a mixed message, which will only confuse them and invite them to test your limits even more.
You spend so much of our days saying no to your kids in a million different ways that you sometime don’t praise the goods things your toddlers does all day. It is important to constantly strengthen their self-esteem. Children remember the positive statements we say to them, storing them up in their heads and replaying these statements to themselves. Ask your child to help you with simple chores like sweeping up around the house or watering the plants or helping you unload the groceries. You will see how excited they will get when you praise their help. Helping, makes them feel important and grown up without having to boss someone else around.
Don’t sweat these years so much because they will pass and usually a bossy toddler develops into an assertive one. Just help her polish her communication skills and see all points of view in the playground and at home. One day that bossiness could turn into leadership skills, and hey, maybe she will even have a shot at a prominent position.