How to Motivate a Toddler: 8 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Setting a good example is a wise way to motivate toddlers.


Cheerleading skills and strategic manipulation are often essential for motivating your toddler. It's hard to fathom how someone so small can outwit and exasperate adults who have years of experience and wisdom, but toddler stubbornness is a force to reckon with. Whether you are attempting to teach your toddler the alphabet or how to perform simple tasks, you'll get nowhere if you don't have some tricks up your sleeve.

Steps

  1. 1
    Praise your toddler freely when she accomplishes a task or even takes a good swing at it. Children this age soak up praise like a sponge, and they need it to stay motivated and focused. If you speak negatively or harshly to your child when she falls short, she may soon stop trying altogether. And then, good luck getting her started again.
  2. 2
    Give comments about your toddler's behavior a positive spin. For instance, instead of complaining -- "You never even try your vegetables" -- try congratulating -- "I was so proud of you yesterday for tasting the asparagus, even though you spit it out." Explain to your toddler that you don't expect him to like everything, but being brave enough to try something shows that he's getting to be a big boy.
  3. 3
    Keep up the positivity when you're talking to others, even when you think your tot is out of earshot. Like most of us, toddlers place more value on things overheard than things actually said to their face. Even when they seem fully invested in watching a video or playing with friends, they often are listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. Stay on message.
  4. 4
    Warn your toddler before you expect something of her. For instance, if bedtime is looming, tell her, “You have another 10 minutes before you have to get ready for bed.” This helps prevent the inevitable tantrums and pleas for just a few more minutes of play.
  5. 5
    Slow your pace down so that your toddler doesn't feel frustrated. Lack of size and experience keeps toddlers from doing things as fast or as well as you or even their siblings and peers. Assure your child that every person learns and accomplishes tasks at different speeds. Explain that it is all right to be slower or less proficient when performing a task, and that with practice, he will get the hang of it.
  6. 6
    Plan your day with your toddler so that he is aware of the schedule. You may have to repeat the schedule a few times each day and remind him of what comes next. Do this with simple language that is easy for him to comprehend. An established routine provides security and a sense of control for the child, motivating him to do what's next with some degree of independence.
  7. 7
    Pick the rules that are the most important for your child to obey; generally, these first rules involve safety. Help her learn them well before moving on. That way, she's not overwhelmed by too much to learn at once. Being attentive to your child's natural pace is vital in motivating her.
  8. 8
    Repeat your instructions calmly or provide other alternatives when your child digs in. For instance, if he wants to walk in a busy mall without holding your hand, tell him his only other options are riding in the stroller or allowing you to carry him. Giving him choices to pick from allows him to feel more in control of the situation and motivates him to comply.

Tips

  • Make a note of situations in which your toddler is most likely to throw a fit or act badly. Avoid these until your child is older. For instance, if he has a tantrum every time you visit a toy store, do toy-shopping on your way home from work or when you have a babysitter. The overwhelming array of toys may be too tempting for him to handle at his young age. Later, when he matures, he is more likely to understand that he cannot purchase a toy at every visit. Motivational tricks work best when your child is developmentally ready to follow through.

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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