Kieran is 20 months old. His mission in life right now is to test every water, climb every step and run up and down every aisle! When it comes to stoping him or correcting him I am very careful how I approach it. The first thing I do when I catch Kieran doing something he's not suppose to do I quickly observe, is he doing it for attention or is he doing it because he's interested and wants to explore?
How can you tell? For me when Kieran is doing something for attention he gets whiny, loud and may even throw something. When he's testing his limits or exploring you can see him make a little cheeky smile, like "wow I just did that" kind of look. I try my best not to discourage him from exploring and I make sure he is safe when doing so.
The attention behaviors are very tricky! I am very careful with how I approach this. If you laugh oh best believe they will do it again! Been there and paid the price! To get a rise out of me Kieran will climb on top of his train table and start jumping. He knows better but he will do it just for the heck of it. So what do I do?!?!
Easy, I simply walk over take him off and say "feet on the ground please" and walk away. I then find something he enjoys doing like playing basketball. I start shooting hoops yelling and cheering hoping he would come over and join me. Not a second later he's at my side yelling "wow" "! yah"!
Did you guys just see what I just did!?! I did not put any attention in the unwanted behavior. I got him off the table. Spoke to him nicely and redirected him to something more appropriate! SWEET! Eazzyy peezyyy right?!?! Now you guys give that a try!
Does he go back on the table again? Sure he does everyday! And everyday I do the exact same thing. That's toddler life!
Now that Kieran's a bit older and understands me very well. I try to give him the chance to listen. So I catch him on the table again. I ask him "Kieran feet on the ground please" versus "No Kieran don't do that"! See the difference. Ask yourself as an adult which are you likely to respond better to?
Language is everything when shaping behavior and redirecting is the key to success, along with tons of praise and cheering!! After asking Kieran to put his feet on the ground I remind him "train table is for driving trains" and I show him what to do. Afterwards I walk him over to his play structure and tell him "we climb here". Once he starts climbing his play structure I start cheering and praising him for keeping his feet off the train table and for doing such a great job climbing his play structure. Whooooo!
Toddlers hate the word NO just as much as we do. Instead of saying NO to everything guide them to where they can jump or run. Instead of saying "No balls in the house" try "balls are outside toys".
I've learned that Kieran is so much happier when he is pointed to the direction where he is allowed to do what he wants. Never say No and leave them hanging. Explain. Redirect. Praise.
SHOW THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO RATHER THAN TELLING THEM WHAT NOT TO DO....
With Kieran PRAISE is everything! When the unwanted behavior is not around I am constantly praising him. I spend all day cheering and giving him high fives for being following the rules, listening and being nice. This is POSITIVE ATTENTION. The more you do this the less you'll get unwanted behaviors.