Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Select An Article
    Font Size

    9 Mistakes to Avoid With Your Toddler

    These parenting missteps are common, but you can navigate around them with smart strategies.

    Mistake 3: Offering Too Much Help

    Some parents jump in to help a toddler who is having trouble doing something. Before you do, consider the possibility that helping your child complete a puzzle or put on a shirt may send the message that he or she can't do it alone.

    "Parents who offer too much help may be sabotaging their young children's ability to become self-reliant," Betsy Brown Braun, author of You're Not the Boss of Me, says.

    Fix it: "We need to teach children to tolerate struggle," Braun says.

    At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with offering praise and encouragement. "Be a cheerleader," Braun says. "Say, 'You can do this!'"

    Mistake 4: Talking Too Much

    Talking with toddlers is usually a terrific idea, but not when it's time to rein in errant behavior.

    Imagine a mom has just said "no" to her 2-year-old's request for a cookie. The child fusses. Mom explains that it's suppertime. The child grabs a cookie anyway. Mom takes it away and tries again to explain herself to her now tearful child. Back and forth it goes with mounting frustration on both sides.

    "Talking can lead to what I call the talk-persuade-argue-yell-hit pattern," Phelan says. "Toddlers are not adults in a little body. They're not logical, and they just can't assimilate what you are saying to them."

    Fix it: Once you tell your toddler to do something, Phelan says, don't talk about it or make eye contact. If the child disobeys, give a brief verbal warning or count to three. If the child refuses to toe the line, give a time-out or another immediate consequence. No explaining.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
    mother and daughter talking
    child brushing his teeth
    Sipping hot tea
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    hand holding a cell phone
    rl with friends
    girl being bullied
    Child with adhd