I hope you have been communicating with your child since birth and are expecting them to understand you (which they do).
If that is the case, the toddler checklist will be an extension of your child’s experience of what is expected. If you have not been doing that, then this checklist will be extra challenging. Your toddler now has more verbal skills, more experience with how they can get their way with thing, and better control of their habits.
Either way, you have to acknowledge you are dealing with a more skilled and experienced child.
They now have figured out what works when you do not prepare for, or acknowledge, that the result could be a two year old out of control. This is where the “terrible two’s” expression was born.
So here are my guidelines.
1. They need to be taught that when you speak they need to listen and follow your directives. Be persistent and calm. It will take awhile for them to know that you mean it. Do not give up.
2. Set boundaries. Be clear on what they cannot do. Have possessions in the family space that they cannot have. They need to know that everything is not theirs. I.E. they should not play with your phone/radio ect.
3. One half of their awake time is teaching them how to play, and the rest will be observing their skill level in applying what you just taught them. There may be a lot of repetition, but expect them to complete each task or skill themselves. For example, they don’t know how to do a puzzle. You have to spend time with them and show them how to take the pieces from the puzzle box and fit them back in correctly. Also how to remove it from the storage area and return it. The entire process should be their responsibility. It makes them feel empowered.
4. When it comes to tasks, give them responsibility for personal ones i.e. putting their clothes in the hamper.
5. Only say what you really mean and follow up on it 100% of the time.
6. Take the time to explain and trust that they can problem solve. Don’t jump to help every time some small issue occurs, stand back and say, “you figure it out”.
7. Teach them to respect rules and follow them.
8. Do not give in when they are misbehaving in public.
9. Always keep your tone firm, respectful and calm.
10. If you still have infant toys, furniture or clothing – store them or give them away! Your child is no longer an infant.
Children thrive on responsibility. Give them as much as you can when it is safe to do so and it is a situation they can handle even if it could be a little stretch.
They need to start becoming confident and independent with your guidance and support!
When you and your child accomplish this, it will make both of you very proud and ensure they are btter prepared for the rest of their childhood.