If you feel yourself shouting all the time - this one's for you.
If you respond to an unwanted behavior with a big reaction, don't be surprised if your toddler (or baby) repeats that behavior again and again. Big, snappy reactions can feel fun to a child, and even if they don't feel fun they are STILL ATTENTION and children crave attention and connection.
Remember - they're not little adults, they're children who have underdeveloped brains. They are meant to treat the boundaries and explore their world - just often to us that looks like misbehaving.
HOW TO RESPOND
1. PICK YOUR BATTLES. Letting some things slide isn't going to turn your child into a demon. If they're tired and hungry and they tipped their water then just move past it.
2. Be calm and kind (even if you're screaming inside). Make your reaction sound almost bored -- totally none threatening and no gruff undertones.
3. Use an 'I' statement and follow through consistently. "I can't let you hit me, I'm going to put you down so I can keep my body safe ".. " I won't let you pull her hair, I'm going to help you move away to give her space".
4. BE CONSISTENT. Gentle, authoritative parenting only works of you do what you say you're going to do. It's not about being all fluffy and letting them do whatever they want! If you've said "I can't let you snatch his toy" then make totally sure that you don't let him! Shadow them if you have to to support that behavior.
5. Look for ANY and ALL good behaviors and praise them whenever you can. Ideally before anything negative happens. That fills your little ones bucket with good attention and makes them way less likely to misbehave. "You're being so kind to your brother by sharing your blocks ".
If you'd like to see some examples of how to respond, check out my 2 behavior highlights :) share if you've tried this and seen a difference :)