Now is the time to teach your child these three essential keys to happiness:
Talk to your child with a “serve and return” habit. Your child talks, you respond. You talk, your child demonstrates a response. Converse all the time, about everything. Read to your child regularly. Seek books that deal with issues of character and behavior to provide a shared attention to these topics. Talk about and practice what you read. Require your child to use words to get needs met. Model the words, ask questions, expect a response, answer questions thoroughly.
Provide safe materials and time for your child to explore. Playing in the bath is a good example of this. Create clear expectations, such as where your child can play, for how long, and which materials are safe for play. Then provide appropriate supervision and help with clean up.
Help your child’s “no” become healthy empowerment, not a battle. Acknowledge and value their concerns. Then explain your expectations and limitations in a no-nonsense manner. Use your “no” to teach them about “safety” and “well-being.” Be consistent to provide a sense of security. Allow your child to make mistakes, then talk about those mistakes together. Make a shared plan to avoid the same mistake in the future.