The little girl in the picture appears no more than three years of age, and anyone who knows anything about the development of two and three year old children knows that their decision making skills are not developed. A toddler does not see a busy parking lot, or understand that mom needs to buy groceries before picking up John Jr. from carpool in exactly 45 minutes.
What do we know about toddlers?
1) Toddlers are seeking to establish autonomy over their world.
2) Toddlers are emotional.
3) Toddlers learn from experience.
How can a parent interact with their child while adhering to Positive Parenting Philosophy?
1) Mutual Respect – Crouch down to the child’s level, and look them in the eye. You want to encourage communication, not communicate intimidation by standing over the child. It is okay to pick up the child and move them a safe space.
2) Empathy – Ask the child why he/ she wants to stay on the ground forever. Explain why it is not a good idea to sit in a parking lot. Listen to what your child has to say. Is she tired, thirsty, or does she hate Walmart because it is cold and loud? Acknowledge his or her feelings.
3) Healthy Attachment – Don’t walk away from your child. Doing so communicates that their feelings and emotions are not valid and that their voice is not worthy of being heard.
What can we do in the future?
1) Proactive Parenting – Take into account your child’s physical and emotional state before venturing out. Does your child need a nap, or a snack? Does your child always scream and cry in a particular store? Try to meet your child’s needs to prevent emotional outbursts.
2) Positive Discipline – Parents, before leaving home and on the drive to the store, explain where you are going, what is going to happen, and your expectations. Don’t forget to keep your expectations age appropriate.
What not to do.
1)Don't walk away and leave your toddler sitting in a parking lot. Leaving a child in the way of harm is considered neglect.
2) Don't yell at your child and tell them to get up.
3) Don't snatch up your child and throw him into the cart or car and go about your day.
Parents, use this as opportunity to connect with your child, and to validate his/ her feelings. Children, especially toddlers, have complex emotions, and shutting them out or down communicates to them that that what they feel, and think is not important.
#mutualrespect #empathy #proactivediscipline# healthyattchment #empathy