What's a parent to do when your child's compliant behaviors have all but disappeared? Let's use the standing-on-the-table incident from earlier. Consider this:
- Be responsive. Describe the situation as you see it, acknowledging your child's actions: "Oh, look, there you are on the table."
- Stay nearby. Walk toward your child and say, "Mommy doesn't want you in the middle of the table."
- Offer choices. Ask your child, "Do you want to get down on your own or do you want me to get you down?"
- Follow through, but be emotionally available. If it's clear that your child isn't getting down on his own say, "I'll get you down from the table." Pick up your child and put him gently on the ground. If he becomes distressed, stay nearby and acknowledge his emotions: "I know you wanted to stand up there, but it's dangerous and you could get hurt. It's not okay to stand on the table."
- Offer appropriate activities when appropriate. That is, consider why your child was on the table in the first place: Likely, he's eager to test his body's recent ability to climb. Once your child's distress dissipates, offer a satisfying similar activity, like spending time at the playground. Reinforce: ""You can't climb and stand on the table, but you can climb on this jungle gym."
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here: