Toddler Zap is playing with her blocks while Mom has a few moments for herself. Since all looks calm, Mom leaves Toddler Zap and goes to the kitchen to tend to her baking. Mom stops to listen for Toddler Zap but everything is too quiet. When Mom goes to find her, Toddler Zap is gone - only to be discovered at the desk in the den, very busily scribbling on the bills waiting to be paid, just like she has seen Mom do. In the process, ink from the pen has leaked all over one of them. Toddler Zap is proud of her work and shows Mom. At first, Mom starts to get angry, but quickly realizes that Toddler Zap doesn't know she has done anything wrong. Mom says how nice her work is and then takes her off to her own room where she redirects her to a more appropriate activity: playing with her crayons.
Redirecting a child's inappropriate behaviour to something that is good is one way of teaching her what a more appropriate behaviour might be. This is certainly what to do when your child is too young to realize she's done anything wrong.
If you must leave a young child alone, take steps to keep him in a safe area. Toddlers toddle - faster than you think! Try closing doors and using baby gates to keep him in one place, but don't depend on such precautions - it's easy for someone to forget and leave a gate open.
Your child will copy your behaviour, so keep that in mind. She also likes to feel "grown up."
Some things that your child does, while bad, will nevertheless be funny or cute. Try not to show your amusement too plainly, because you might encourage him to do it again, to make you laugh. And remember that they're not the child's "fault." It doesn't help to get upset. Consider your child's feelings, too. He may be proud of what he's done. Try to redirect him without hurting his self-esteem.
Food for Thought:
- How do I cope with having to watch my toddler all the time?
- How do I get anything done if I can't leave my toddler alone?
- I think this was bad behaviour, not cute - isn't this a situation for discipline?