The Toddler Dictionary: Tips on Communicating with Your Toddler

When you say: "Do that again and you'll get a time-out!"

mother talking to child

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You mean Can't you listen and follow directions? I feel like a broken record!

Why your kid doesn't get it What exactly drives your child to repeat something immediately after you've made this threat? Well, it's not that he's willfully ignoring you (you can look forward to that later!). "Little kids still haven't developed the capacity to understand cause and effect," Dr. Borba explains. In other words, telling your toddler that there will be a consequence if he continues to do something simply won't sink in enough to scare him off the bad behavior.

Speak toddler Don't speak at all! The fastest way to fix the issue is to simply remove your kid from the situation and get him interested in something else, Dr. Borba recommends. So if he won't stop splashing the water in the dog bowl, redirect his attention: Gently pick him up, move to the couch, and start a new activity together, like doing a puzzle or reading a book. Not only will it nip any naughtiness in the bud, but over time it will show him that certain pursuits (like spilling water all over the floor) are no-nos.

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