Teaching Toddler Manners

Now that Norton’s toddler communication skills are a little more up to speed, I’ve been shifting my focus.  You see, he can use words to express ideas and desires… so now we’re working on getting him to use his words to express what he wants using the best toddler manners that his level of language can handle.  Obviously, at this point in time, toddler manners don’t include the expectations of saying “May I be excused?” when he’s done eating.  Considering Norton’s level of toddler communication tops out at two words, that’s a little unreasonable.

Here’s what we are doing to encourage toddler manners.

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Helpful Toddler Really Does Help

For a while now, whenever I’ve referred to Norton as a helpful toddler, it’s been with air quotes and meant in the loosest sense possible…  Such as my “helpful” toddler decided to throw my silverware on the floor.  But recently, Norton has managed to truly be a helpful toddler from time to time.

I’ve struggled with getting Norton to help with cleaning up his room in the past.  In fact, there were times that my cleaning up his room got me the most unpleasant response of having toddler toys scattered faster than I could pick them up.  I’m not sure what inspired this change, but I’m loving it.

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Toddler Bonding through Song

Norton and I have had a variety of toddler bonding experiences.  Sometimes it’s over finger paints.  Other times it’s over Legos or pumpkin Rice Krispy treats.  One thing that our toddler bonding experiences seldom involve is song.

I’m guessing that Norton has a terribly sensitive sense of pitch or something.  When I sing or do anything vaguely sing-songy, he screeches at me.  I gave up on singing my children to sleep ages ago.  I still don’t have a lot of success with anything resembling singing, but there’s this one little thing that I managed to do once, and now Norton loves it.

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Random Toddler Behavior – It’s All Hat to Me!

Norton is the most fantastically individual boy.  From the beginning, he was pretty independent.  Now he’s a fiercely independent toddler who can do the most random things.  Of course, I think some of his random toddler behavior is just a sign that he’s his father’s son.  You see, my husband has always been a funny guy who does goofy things for a laugh.  I’m seeing toddler behavior from our boy that shows he’s much the same way.

In fact, I could swear that I’ve seen my husband do this exact same thing.

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Toddler Behavior, 911, and How Norton Got an iPod Touch

Norton playing with my phone… before he called 911. *facepalm*

We all know that toddler behavior is a changeable thing that can vary from moment to moment.  We try to encourage the happy toddler behavior and quash the tantrums as much as possible, but sometimes things happen.

Lately, Norton has been playing with my iPhone a lot.  I don’t mind; I put toddler apps on my phone just for that reason.  It keeps him occupied in the grocery store and other places that I’d rather not deal with a toddler screaming.  It sometimes causes problems, like when Norton says “pway gay” (or “play game”), he automatically thinks he should get my phone… regardless of what I’m doing with it.  On the whole, though, it solves less problems than it causes.

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Helpful Toddler – Norton’s First Chore

For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn Norton into a helpful toddler.  Yes, he has his helpful toddler moments when he pays attention to Eudora, like by rocking her in her baby bucket when we’re getting ready to go out to the van.  He throws the wrapper to his string cheese in the garbage after we open it for him.  But he’s still a toddler.  He does things like scatter blocks around his room ten minutes (or less) after I go in and clean up.  He eats dog food if he gets into the stairwell.  Or he bolts out the door into the back yard.  While it’s all typical, none of these are exactly the marks of being a helpful toddler who will grow into a boy who does chores, et cetera.

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When Toddler Behavior Leads to Infant Injury

Norton is a rambunctious toddler boy with rambunctious toddler behavior.  Like most toddlers, he’s happy to bounce off the walls and get into things.  And his toddler behavior often leads to time out.  This time, though, we had an incident that led to a panicked call to the doctor and a trip to the hospital.

Norton stepped on Eudora.  Hard.  On her chest.

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Toddler Safety – He’s a Runner

Ugh.  I hate it when toddler safety issues and toddler behavior and discipline issues are all one and the same.  It’s even less fun when the toddler safety issue is a potentially life threatening one.  So, what’s the issue?  Norton is an independent little boy.  He always has been.  And that’s great.   I also love that he’s so energetic and wants to run and play.  It’s fantastic that he’s curious about the world around him and wants to explore it all.  He’s completely fearless about his explorations.  Those are all behaviors that I want to encourage.  You know, except for when I don’t.  I don’t want to encourage those behaviors when he’s endangering himself.

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Sibling Bonding – Norton’s a Good Big Brother

Most parents worry about having a new baby.  How will the older child adapt?  How will I divide my attention?  I’m no different.  It turns out that, well, aside from some brief issues with toddler separation anxiety, I was worrying about nothing on the sibling bonding front.  It looks like sibling bonding is going very well… and it helps that Norton is such a very good big brother to Eudora.

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Toddler Behavior and Getting Over Separation Anxiety

I’m pleased to announce that a troubling toddler behavior that Norton had displayed is done.  He seems to have recovered from the trauma of becoming a big brother.

You see, when Eudora was born, I was in the hospital for several days after having a c-section.  After we got out, the husband and I were sick for days with some kind of stomach thing.  While I was in the hospital and the husband and I were ill, Norton stayed with Grandma and Grumpy.  This, of course, had an impact on his toddler behavior since he’d never been away from us for so long.

The most troubling manifestation of this newly developed toddler separation anxiety was when we’d drop him off for his toddler language delay play group.  The screaming when we’d left him behind was something awful.  I felt horrid when the speech pathologist running the group had to pry him off of me so that I could leave.  I’d hear his screams echoing as I left.

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