Nail biting, nose picking, nonstop humming, bothersome fidgeting, gross jokes—these are mild and irritating misdeeds that are sometimes best dealt with by simply ignoring them. Rowena Matti, program director of Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, Inc., explains that the more adults pay attention and overreact to these annoying behavior patterns, the worse and more frequent these patterns will become.
Ignore Irritating Behavior But Pay Attention
Make a decision to ignore the misbehavior, but quietly pay attention. This works for “irritating but not dangerous or really problematic” cases, write Albrecht and Miller in their book , Infant and Toddler Development. Maintain an unimpressed face and relaxed body language, and simply refuse to get annoyed by the negative behavior.
Model The Right Behavior However, this doesn’t mean neglecting your tot and letting the nuisances slide. While you’re ignoring, you need to actively encourage positive behavior to replace the irritating misbehavior. If your toddler starts emptying out the toy box by carelessly bandying them all over the room and dumping them on the floor, model the correct behavior by putting the toys back in the box and casually asking for his help. Remember that children learn best when they are engaged, active, and having fun. Work on being a fun disciplinarian. Correct the misbehavior without the screams and you’ll reap more positive benefits.
Photography by Jun Pinzon
SOURCES: • Rowena Matti, program director, Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, Inc. • Infant and Toddler Development, by Kay Albrecht and Linda Miller