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The Mindset Trick That Works Wonders When Toddlers and 2's Misbehave

Welcome to your place of support. We want to make things just a little bit easier for you today. After all, if you spend a significant amount of time with young children, you are heavily involved in creating the architecture of their brains.

What job could be more important?

I realized the other day that I have a tool now that I didn't have for the first 15 years I taught infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I explain it more thoroughly in this article I published a while back but here's the synopsis for you.

Humans are goal-oriented. When a child misbehaves, they're not really being "bad" but simply trying out new behaviors. Sometimes those behaviors help them reach their goals and sometimes they miss, causing "misbehavior".

For example, a young child tries to learn about the properties of dirt and how gravity works so she makes a mess of a potted plant. Noticing her goal of learning, the adult could stop the child from making a mess using an "I" message and plan some sandbox time shortly.

The adult's job is to stop the behavior and teach the skill the child needs to get what they want acceptably. "Ask for a turn or wait for a turn." (Goals of Misbehavior, Rudolph Dreikurs).

The goal of the adult is not to punish, but to teach.

Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY!  She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.

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