Teaching Toddlers Self-Control

The difference between right and wrong, and self-control are not innate abilities that we are born with. CLAIRE MAHER explains how toddlers and children need to be taught right from wrong, and which behaviours are socially acceptable. 

Children need to be taught self-control, and most often learn from the example set by those around them. While every family is unique, the following are some general time and age guidelines as to when your child should begin to establish some cooperation and self-control.  

From about one year of age, toddlers begin to learn some cooperation, and may listen to simple requests that their parents make. But they can be quite unpredictable in their responses to situations or requests. Between the age of 18 and 24 months, toddlers start to develop patience and some self-control. They may be able to wait for an activity that is enjoyable for them, such as opening their birthday presents and are more able to listen to instructions such as not running away from you on a busy road. It is essential that you practise patience, though, and keep your emotions in check so as not to get upset with your child when they do not listen – they’re still learning.

Read more on Teaching Toddlers Self-Control in our February 2015 issue. Subscribe here!

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