It is so much easier for a parent to deal with issues both big and small if you understand how your child’s brain works. For example, you may notice that your toddler throws their food on the floor every day at dinner, or purposely spills their milk at breakfast. Most people would think that this is bad behavior and punish their child, but in reality, a toddler’s brain is trying to figure out how everything works. They don’t understand what gravity is, but they are trying to figure it out, so they continuously want to see things fall. A good way to avoid this problem is to give them opportunities to drop appropriate items from their high chair. Right before dinner, you could take 2 minutes and give them a ball to drop to the floor. Talk to them about what is happening:
”Balls fall to the floor, but food stays on our plate!”
“The ball fell down!”
“The ball was up and now it’s down!”
This technique is called redirecting. Our goal is to replace a negative behavior with a positive behavior. It is important to remember that none of us are born knowing what is and isn’t appropriate behavior. Our focus as parents and early childhood teachers should always be to help children learn what appropriate behavior looks like. The only way we can accomplish this is by understanding basic development.