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Encourage Good Behavior in your Toddler

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 11-01-2007

It is important to motivate children with positive words, especially when they need to be corrected. Here are some thumb rules that can help you protect their blossoming self-esteem while gently helping them to distinguish their do’s from their don’ts:


  • Use ‘No’s prudently. When you use ‘no’ too frequently, it tends to lose their impact. Reserve the ‘no’s’ for serious, life-saving behavior and just let the small stuff be.

  • Learn to differentiate between deliberate behavior and unintentional behavior. Do not assume they are misbehaving on purpose all the time.

  • Avoid labeling. It is very damaging for children to constantly hear how clumsy they are, that what they are doing is wrong, etc. Avoid saying sentences that have a “you” followed by a negative term. When active kids are swinging from the drawers, replace the “You will break that! Get off!” with more neutral “That will break the sofa.”

  • Distract with suitable alternatives. If you want to distract children from destructive or harmful activities, replace them with alternatives. If the issue is toddlers who bite, suggest that they could play with a toy instead. If the children are jumping on the sofa, offer the floor to them as an open-ground for jumping.

  • Take timeouts. Parenting is a full-time job; it and can get on your nerves. Whenever you feel the pressure get to you, take a small break instead of taking it out on the child.

  • Most importantly, acknowledge and reward good behavior.
Motivating, like parenting, is an on-going process—so keep at it! And you will have happy children who not only like to get kisses and hugs, but lavish you with them too.