Toddler Behavior Management: Stepping Into Their Shoes
Toddlers are generally quite adorable, but behaviours like throwing tantrums, screaming, biting and even hitting aren’t quite so, which is normal. But sometimes, the aggression, interruptions, screaming, the constant clamour for attention and throwing things could be a sign of an underlying problem.
Contrary to popular belief, infant baby boy shoes or baby girl shoes have a profound effect on their behavior. Many times, a one-year old who has started walking will scream as soon as you try to put shoes on their feet or refuse to walk and will claw at them until they are taken off.
While this is not a problem when you are at home, and you can leave them barefoot, taking your toddler outside without shoes is not safe, even if the little person is going to be in your arms at all times. So, why do so many parents find themselves with this unusual problem. The answer lies in the infant shoes or infant’s sandals that you choose.
Toddler Behaviour Checklist
Everything you read about raising children laments the extreme challenges associated with parenting and “getting it right”, if that is even a possibility. While there is no shortage of acknowledgment of the joys of having children, watching them grow, imagining who they are going to grow and develop into as adults – it is validating when you pick up a book on parenting, or read an article about being a parent and the first few lines are a validation of the fears that most if not all parents experience when being constantly confronted with the new demands and surprises. And just when you think you’ve worked out how to do it, something else new catches you by surprise.
There are milestones and differences, advances and delays, successes and failures, wins and losses, and the whole time, most of us are flying just a little blind. In the confusion, it’s not unheard of for parents to choose the wrong toddler shoes that can lead to discomfort and possible injuries.
What we have come to understand about different parenting styles has come from a plethora of research on the subject, research that has spanned many decades. We’ve heard parenting typologies that include descriptors such as authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and indulgent. Other style references include attachment parenting, child-centred parenting, positive parenting, narcissistic parenting, and slow parenting.
More recently articles and texts in this field now describe new parent versions: helicopter parents, lawn mower parents, and tiger moms, all of which have received their fair share of criticism and debate. Interestingly, it seems that there is now an emerging trend away from the intensely involved parenting styles to ones that are more reminiscent of bygone days with parents being less inclined to swoop down and rescue their children, allowing them more opportunity to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
Recognition of how vital it is for children to build resilience, character and grit is shaping this movement together with the understanding that these characteristics can only develop out of children getting things wrong and being encouraged and supported to learn from those mistakes.
One aspect of childhood that authors agree on is the importance of incorporating play into your child’s life. Play is essential for a child’s development, even at an early age – so much so that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights acknowledges play to be the right of every child.
Play encourages creativity and problem solving, promotes negotiation and sharing, and helps children develop interests. Play also supports a child’s readiness for learning and the development of learning behaviours such as curiosity and imagination. It helps build strength and healthy bodies, and promotes interpersonal effectiveness. Child-driven play provides an opportunity for parents to see the world of their children through their eyes and to fully engage with them creating better bonds. But, it can also be the cause of pain and discomfort, if you end up using the wrong child footwear including toddler footwear.
While you and your child are having fun, you can use the following simple and easy toddler discipline strategy checklist:
- Think like a toddler – Toddlers aren’t adults, they have more trouble figuring out stuff, including many of those things we adults take for granted. The next time your toddler is acting up while playing or otherwise, try to look at the situation from a toddler’s perspective.
- Always remain calm – A child looks up to their parents (literally and figuratively). It is important to stay calm even during a stressful situation or else your stress will be contiguous.
- Exercise the art of distraction – Learning the art of distraction is an invaluable skill for every parent to learn. Especially, because it can help avoid many a dangerous and often times messy situation. As soon as you sense your child about to do something you’d rather not, distract them with something else.
- Distract and redirect – Similarly, once you have distracted your child’s attention, it’s important to not leave them staring at you, wondering what you want. Pique their interest to something else, a toy or a picture on the wall perhaps.
- Be consistent – Order and routine provide a safe haven where the child feels comfortable and safe. In other words, predictability and routine is something that children crave. Besides, it calms them knowing what they can expect next.
- Avoid stressful situations – Needless to say, it is important to never expose your child to any stressful situations. Whether you’re inside the house or outside playing, be sure to remove your child from any stressful event or situation.
- Focus on the behaviour and not the child – So, you’ve had your toddler with you for some time now. A few months time is long enough to understand what triggers certain behaviour. Smart parents remember those triggers and try to avoid them in the future.
- Don’t shout at your child – There’s nothing more stressful to a toddler than a screaming parent. In fact, it’s the major cause of triggering a response from the child, which means you now have to deal with a screaming, crying, and whining baby.
- Give your kid a break – Giving your chid time-outs is one of the cornerstones of developing discipline in them. But, too much can have a negative impact on the child, which is why it is important to limit the time out to just a minute or two when they are a toddler.
The Need for Toddler Behaviour Management Strategies
A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics explored factors that appear to be impacting on the reduction of free play for many children and identified a number of influences. These include a “hurried lifestyle” – we’re busier now than we’ve ever been, juggling the multiple demands of work and home and feeling more pressured to “manage” it all.
Later on, there is more focus on academic performance with additional time outside of school being devoted to accelerated, additional, or supported learning opportunities. And if the focus is not on learning per se, it is on engaging children in enrichment activities and programs that ultimately reduce the amount of time that they might otherwise enjoy with play-based activity. At this point a child becomes “over scheduled” and subsequently reacts to the pressure and demands by becoming anxious and stressed.
The family structure has changed. According to the 2016 ABS Census, the total number of single parent homes has increased by 50,000 over 5 years. This can result in a greater need for, and reliance on child care outside of the home so that children can be monitored. As the demands on parents increase, and the need to be more efficient and productive at home becomes more pressing, it is understandable that for many parents, opportunities for child-driven play decrease.
So, what can we do to increase the opportunity for children to engage in free play? Allowing children, the time to play is possibly the first place to start. Encouraging children to play independently promotes problem solving, enables them to foster imagination and build confidence.
To encourage small children to play you can do the following;
- Supervise from a distance to give them a sense of independence.
- Change the play environment – take them outdoors, get them moving.
This will build their opportunities for learning and increase their overall health and well being. Children will naturally seek out new opportunities or challenges in order to keep learning. This will probably mean there will be spills, falls, tumbles and grazes. These experiences are normal aspects of developing the ability to make risk assessments and building resilience!
Being with nature, enjoying fresh air and sunshine, children learn how to adapt to different environments. Even if it is cold, just rug them up with an extra layer, and make sure they’re wearing warm and weatherproof footwear. Children’s safety is critical, so do ensure that their little feet are protected from injury, rough or sharp surfaces with well fitted, comfortable shoes.
Getting the Right Toddler Footwear
Following are some things for parents to keep in mind when choosing toddler shoes for their children. In fact, these tips can even be used when buying shoes for older children.
- Well-Designed – Once a child begins to walk, toddler shoes are going to be required to protect their little feet from stepping on sharp objects, slippery surfaces and dirt, especially while outdoors. This is where a fancy design is not required, but rather well-designed toddler footwear that provides the child with the protection their feet needs.
- Good Cushioning – Needless to say, toddler shoes that provide good cushioning is the key to providing better protection. Along with that, it is also important that the toddler shoes are soft and flexible so they do not hurt the child while they are playing or hinder the movement of their feet. Good cushioning is crucial to toddler footwear because it provides much-needed shock absorption and protection against hard objects and the elements, and should be at the top of the list of parents who are looking to buy their toddler or small children shoes.
- Flexibility – When choosing toddler shoes, it is important to go with shoes that are not made with materials that are stiff and will not only hamper movement of the feet, but will also break easily. This is why it is important to always go with toddler shoes that have high-quality rubber soles and ridges that keep the shoes from slipping, while providing the child with proper traction. Flexibility is the key feature in baby footwear since it provides toddlers with better grip while on the ground, and in turn, helps train their small foot muscles.
- Breathable Fabric – When searching for baby shoes, it is important to choose only those shoes that offer good ventilation and helps keep the feet cool. This means using toddler shoes that are made from soft leather or high-grade fabrics that are both soft and breathable, which makes the ideal footwear for toddlers and also older children.
- Straps and Other Protective Features – It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that your child will be running everywhere as soon as they learn how to walk. This means a toddler’s shoes need to have some sort of protective mechanism that will keep them from coming off while they are playing. Ideally, toddler shoes come with Velcro straps that help keep the shoe in place as the child moves about. This also reduces the chances of the child slipping and falling or losing their balance because of wearing an unsafe shoe. It is also important to make sure that the shoe is lightweight to minimize the effort the child has to make while they walk or play.
Parents who really want their child to be protected at all times, especially while playing, have to take the matter of buying toddler shoes seriously.The number one reason why parents need to purchase the right toddler shoes for their children is because it’s for their own protection.
Above all – it is important to remember that play is one of the joys of being a child. We all have to grow up eventually and tie our own shoe laces. But at least if we’ve been able to enjoy play, even as a toddler, perhaps the child within us will remain around for a while longer. But, that’s only possible if you use well-designed baby footwear.