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Follow Through

by Michele | February 25th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Parenting a toddler isn’t an easy job. Truthfully, parenting children of any age isn’t an easy job, there just are unique challenges at every age and with each individual child. With toddlers, one of those challenges is teaching your child about consequences.

How many times have you heard (or said) some sort of conditional statement, such as, “I need you to put your truck down and come to Mommy by the time I count to three.” As a parent, you make statements like that numerous times during the day. The important part of a statement such as that is the follow through. What happens when the child does or does not follow that direction?

It is quite easy to make excuses and not issue a consequence. He’s only two years old. He’s busy playing. It is easier for me to pick him up anyway. However, when your child doesn’t follow your direction, even at two years old, you have taught him that your directions don’t need to be followed.

I am not advocating harsh punishments for not following directions, but there do need to be consequences. For example, if your child refuses to stop playing with the truck, putting the truck in a closet for a few hours may be a good consequence. Yes, your child will cry, but he also will learn the direct correlation between following directions that involve the truck.

In contrast, if your child follows the directions, make sure you praise him. At two years old, it is very tempting to want to continue to play with the truck. By following your direction, your child has made a good choice and needs to be aware of that. You don’t need to award prizes, but a simple, “I’m proud of you” or “Good job” should suffice.

Remember, even though our toddlers are adorable, learning about consequences to our actions is an important lesson.

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