Help Your Toddler "Be Nice"


We would all like to teach our toddlers to "be nice" to other people. The best way to do this is by being kind, caring and respectful with him and others.  

Try to:

  • pay attention to your child by giving him a hug or talking about the toy he is playing with or something else that is important to him.
  • tell your child that you like his behavior, saying, for example, "I like the way you give me a hug!" 

Your toddler is watching you, so be aware that the way you treat those around you is the way he will also treat others!

Brain Science for Your Baby

Talking (nice talk!) and language development are closely linked!  A study published in Pediatrics (Glascoe, 2010) showed that young children's language development was more advanced if their parents reported activities such as:
  • "I help my child learn by talking and showing him or her new things"
  • "I talk to my child in a special way"
  • "I can make my child feel better when he or she is upset"
  • "I talk with my child when feeding or eating with him or her"
A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Avoid name-calling when you are upset with your child-when you are upset over something he did, say, for example, "I want you to hug your brother, not hit him. Hitting hurts. Hugging feels good." Let's try to hug him instead of hitting him."


Practice using kind words with your child and point out when other people do. Say, "I like it when Grandma says 'thank you' when you give her something. 


Decide what "being nice" means to you-and what words are not "nice". Tell your child how you feel about those words and praise his use of the "nice" words. 

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Avoid being a historian! If your toddler does something you don't like, don't keep bringing it up. Constantly reminding her of it will only lead to resentment and increase the likelihood of her repeating the behavior to get your attention. 


If you find yourself unable to focus on spending time, one-on-one, with your toddler, talk with your child's doctor or your healthcare provider about your life's schedule.  Try to arrange your days and nights so you can spend time with your toddler-and he can do so with you! 




What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.

Gene's Research Tip

 Let baby have a turn feeding himself!  A study from Swansea University in Wales looked at infants whose families spoon-fed them versus those who were given freedom and time to finger feed. The babies who were spoon-fed exclusively were decidedly more over-weight than the ones who were allowed to do some finger-feeding.

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Kathy Ellerbeck, MD, MPH, FAAP

Have you heard of "Active Listening"?   They have seminars about it in workplaces. Police officers, counselors, ministers, rabbis and priests do it.  The U.S. State Department teaches it.  Or you might even see a program about Active Listening on late, late night TV like I did a few weeks ago while cleaning up the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning. 


What IS "active listening" - and why might it matter to you and to your baby?   There are some key elements that aren't only good for communication with the adults in your life, but for babies as well - with a little adaptation.  This is what I learned (that should apply to babies and toddlers and not just to my husband).

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