One of the more frustrating aspects of toddlers is their ability to get into trouble. This includes trying your patience and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Some toddlers just have a hard time with the concept of keeping their hands to themselves. This is a rule that even kindergartens struggle with at times. But it is essential to start this lesson when they are toddlers because it will need to be reinforced quite a bit.
Often, the whole issue starts when a younger child is introduced into your toddler’s world. Your toddler gets jealous of the new child because the new child gets more attention or needs more help with something. This jealousy often is displayed as an action rather than through words. The results are usually two crying children — one because they got hurt and the second because they got into trouble.
You can offset this situation by helping your toddler early on to express their different emotions such as jealousy in a safe manner. Show them different ways to express themselves such as using sign language when their verbal skills aren’t up to the task, or by choosing simple words. Dealing with their feelings in a safe manner gives them a way to vent without resorting to hitting another child.
When you are dealing with stronger emotions from your toddler, such as anger over a broken toy, it is essential to head off the situation as soon as you see your toddler beginning to lose control. When you see the signs, direct them to a less stressful place until they can calm down. Place yourself as a physical barrier so that your toddler redirects their attention onto you and away from the other child. Just this simple act can break up any intentions your toddler may have had.
Be prepared to reinforce your punishment for this particular crime. Your toddler’s control over their temper isn’t going to be that good. Along with the time out should come an apology. Sometimes, getting the apology is more trouble than the time out. But don’t let your toddler skate out of doing that because they may do it again if all they get is a time out.
Teaching toddlers to keep their hands to themselves is very difficult at times. You have to be on top of this particular rule. It is so important that even teachers are constantly trying to reinforce it. Give them the proper tools to express their feelings in order to help them learn to keep their hands to themselves.