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Parent's expectations

Janet Ray, M.Ed.

Parents can be great teachers when they know how much to expect of their children. But many parents fall into the trap of expecting too much.

This can set your child up to fail.   For example, if a child is expected to use the potty before she is able, she may:

  • think she has "failed" when she has an accident
  • think of herself as "bad."

If a child thinks she is a "failure," she stops trying to learn and do things.

Sometimes it may seem that your child is not behaving. But he may not yet be able to do what you’re asking.  For example:

Child won’t sit still:

You need your three-year-old to sit still and be quiet for 30 minutes. But he whines, wiggles and makes noise.  Is he being bad? 

  • What may be happening:
    • his body just may not be ready to sit still that long!
  • What you can do:
    • plan ahead.  Bring along fun toys, books or food to help pass the time happily.

Child forgets rules:

You told your toddler not to play with the phone, but a few minutes later she’s doing it again. Is she disobeying you?

  • What may be happening:
    • toddlers don’t have much memory for rules and instructions. They must do things many times before they can remember.
  • What you can do:
    • remind her about the phone rule and distract her with a toy. The next time it happens, tell her the rule again.

Child has toilet ‘accidents’:

Your two-year-old keeps having accidents. Is he just not trying?

  • What may be happening:
    • toddlers aren’t ready for training until their bodies can feel the need to go – and can wait to get to the toilet. Most are not ready until about 2 1/2.
  • What you can do:
    • wait until your child is ready to learn. Remember, it takes a while to learn  Never punish a child for accidents.

Child won’t share:

Your child won’t share her toys. Is she being selfish?

  • What may be happening:
    • toddlers and preschoolers aren’t ready to share. They can’t understand the idea of giving a toy away and then getting it back.
  • What you can do:
    • help her learn to take turns.
    • let her know she’ll get the toy back again.
    • distract with another toy

Child is too noisy:

You told your child to talk quietly in the house, but he’s being loud again.

  • What may be happening:
    • young children are noisy!
    • learning to talk quietly takes practice.
  • What you can do:
    • practice making loud and soft noises.
    • let your child make loud noises outside.
    • when inside, remind him that 'loud noises are for outside'.

- Janet Ray, M.Ed.

reproduced with permission of www.zerotofive.org