Just like adults, toddlers have habits. They have learned and developed these habits over time, and they are not always beneficial. Habits you should teach toddlers to drop are thumb sucking, teeth grinding, and leaving messes.
Thumb sucking is a natural thing for babies and toddlers to do. They are born with the natural reflexes to suck because that is how they eat. It also provides them comfort. Even though this is normal, it can be detrimental once they start to come in. To help your toddler drop the habit, lead with a pleasant tone. You can try different approaches such as replacing it with a comfort object, offering praise, and helping them restrict the thumb sucking to limited parts of the day.
Teeth grinding may not always be noticed but it can cause issues. Teeth grinding can lead to alignment problems later on. It can also cause wearing down of the enamel or pain in the jaw. To help them drop this habit you can help them relax, especially at bedtime. Teeth grinding is sometimes caused by stress so providing a relaxing environment can be very beneficial to reduce the grinding. Another important thing to do is to keep your toddler hydrated and have a dentist monitor their teeth as you work to break the habit.
While it is natural for your toddler to leave a mess, it doesn’t mean that you need to forgo the good teaching opportunity. You can help them drop messy tendencies by helping them understand cleaning. The first way you can help them drop leaving messes is to model the behavior. Toddlers love to imitate, and the more they see you cleaning up a spill or object the more they will want to jump in. You can also turn it into a game by cheering them on as they pick up their toys and put them into their container. You could add some more fun by putting the actions into a song.
You are the most important person in your toddler’s life because you are the person they look up to most. You can model good habits and behaviors by helping to teach your toddler which habits they should drop. Don’t expect any quick fixes when teaching them, because toddlers are in a big learning stage, and it can take them some time.
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