Practical Parenting: How to Decode and Motivate your Toddler’s Behavior

Practical Parenting: How to Decode and Motivate Your Toddler’s Behavior

In the magical journey of parenting, the toddler years can feel like a thrilling rollercoaster ride. We understand that deciphering your toddler's actions and reactions might seem like learning a new language, with little hope of encouraging good behavior. Here at Moms on Call, we see this phase as a beautiful opportunity for growth and connection.

That’s why we have crafted tools specifically for parents of toddlers. These resources are designed to help you traverse these wonderfully dynamic years with grace and confidence. Yes, there will be numerous moments of discovery and learning, but rest assured, we're right by your side!

With our guidance, you'll soon find yourself not just deciphering but fluently speaking your toddler's language of behavior and, before you know it, motivating good behavior! You'll be fostering their positive actions and nurturing their development in no time at all. Remember, every challenge is a chance for growth, and every day is a new adventure in the wonderful world of toddlerhood!

The free Moms on Call Toddler by Design quiz uses a tool we’ve built called the SMART Paradigm. SMART stands for Social, Movement, An Engineer, Rule Follower, and Touch. These are the designs that are specific to toddlers and their many quirks! For example, you know you have a Movement toddler if going to the grocery store is like wrangling cattle, while an Engineer toddler will meticulously help you follow your grocery list.

So, how can you motivate your toddler’s behavior based on their specific design? Keep reading!

Social Toddlers

  • About Social Toddlers: Social toddlers are charming. They make friends easily and will often misbehave just to get a reaction from you. The more animated your response, the more they are interested in it and want to reproduce it.
  • Motivating Social Toddlers: Good behavior can be motivated by positive reinforcement. When you see good behavior, be sure to make it known! Talking about their good behavior to others while in their earshot is a great way to do this, too.
    • “I love it when we see you (playing with your toys while we make dinner, eating your food, getting a nice long nap, etc).”
    • “I am so proud of {NAME}. They stayed in their room all night and woke up with a great attitude this morning! I knew they could do it and am so proud of them.”

Movement Toddlers

  • About Movement Toddlers: Movement toddlers are our flight risks, fall risks…just risky in general toddlers! You will feel that you are chasing them all day long. They often master movement early on, are great at sports and dancing, and will lead very active lives.
  • Motivating Movement Toddlers: Good behavior can be motivated by making things physically challenging. Involve body movements in your toddler's daily activities, and keep in mind they cannot sit still for long stretches. Give them clear instructions for safety and active activities for downtime!
    • For example, when going potty, they will need to kick their legs. And if you are getting in the car seat, ask them how high they can reach their hands over their head (then look amazed at how they can stretch!).

Engineer Toddlers

  • About Engineer Toddlers: Engineer toddlers are analytical, and changing activities can be a challenge because they want to complete their predetermined activity first. They have to process the adjustment, and that is okay!
  • Motivating Engineer Toddlers: To encourage good behavior, give them easy-to-follow instructions (3-4 steps).
    • For example, when going potty, break it down in a few steps. “First, we will sit on the potty, then go potty, pull up our pants, and wash our hands! You’ve got this!”

Rule Follower Toddlers

  • About Rule Follower Toddlers: Rule Follower Toddlers are our high achievers and are often celebrated at school. These toddlers are likely labeled “tattle tales.” It is important to them to alert authority figures when others are not “following the rules.” They may seem confused that you are not interested in other kids’ misbehaviors.
  • Motivating Rule Follower Toddlers: Encourage good behavior by setting an example and sticking with your routine. Rule Followers love structure! Keep in mind these toddlers like to set their own boundaries. It is important to remind them who is in charge (parent) and do so with a stern voice.

Touch Toddlers

  • About Touch Toddlers: Touch toddlers are affectionate, enjoy the company of others, and can be clingy. These toddlers are more likely to rough house, hit, or bite.
  • Motivating Touch Toddlers: Encourage good behavior by giving them a chance to get their energy out when energy levels are high. You can rough house with this child in the evenings and give them a chance to enjoy their design with you (their parents) in a safe space. Remember to tussle their hair, give them an extra hug, or even squeeze on their arm to ground them. These kiddos love human interaction. The key is to manage their love in good ways!

Ready to learn more about your toddler’s design, including tips for discipline, sleep, and potty training? Get our Toddler by Design E-Guide, and don’t forget to take the Toddler by Design Quiz before checking out so you can get a full breakdown of your little one’s design combination.

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