Please Don't Do That! How to Handle Inappropriate Toddler Behavior

The Pottymouth

Just when a hush falls over a public area, your child yells "%$#@!"

Why she does it: As your toddler's vocabulary expands, she'll naturally repeat words she hears -- bad ones included. But are you encouraging her R-rated chatter? "Toddlers can learn how to push their parents' buttons," says Dr. Coleman. If you freaked out in the past when she blurted a bad word, she may be curious to see what happens when she does it again.

The fast fix: Don't overreact. A simple "excuse us" to everyone in earshot is enough. Calmly tell her, "We don't use those words," then drop the subject.

What to say later: If you've cursed in the past, explain that you shouldn't say those words any more than she should. Then, brainstorm some funny words you can both use in place of the bad ones, like "bananarama" or "monkey toes."

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