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Behaviour Management Tips and Tools for Children — Part 1

Does your toddler’s behaviours stun, frustrate or even anger you?

I will be sharing on situations in which toddlers behave and suggestions on behaviour management tools to manage the behaviours.

You may need to choose a few behaviour management tools to try out for your toddler’s behaviours.

Changing the Environment

Helps to change the toddler’s behaviour. The environment includes things around the toddler.

- Location

For example, at home or childcare.

- Time of the day

- Parent’s requests and instructions for the toddler

But often the environment has things that trigger unwanted behaviour in the toddler. If the toddler has behaviour problem, look at what is going on in the environment.

For example, it is normal for the toddler to:

- want to play with the things around him.

- explore his surroundings.

- not want to share his favourite toys.

- not do what the parent asks if he doesn’t understand.

- have tantrums when he is tired.

Changing the toddler’s physical environment Suggestions:
At home

- Move fragile or expensive items out of sight and reach of the toddler’s fingers. This is important for safety and good behaviour.

- Make a corner of a room for Quiet Time which has cushions and books.

- Make sure screens like tablets and TVs are off when the parent needs the toddler to focus on something like getting ready for school in the morning.

Out and about

- Choose an outside table at a restaurant. The parent might be less stressed, and the toddler’s laughter, talking and moving around is less likely to cause discomfort to others.

- Have a family day out, look for places that have things that both the parents and the toddler will enjoy.

For example, a playground, a café, a cycle path or a shady picnic spot.

Toys and belongings

- Put the toddler’s favourite toys in a place that the toddler can reach.

This helps to prevent the toddler to climb to get the toys.

- Help the toddler choose and put away toys the toddler might not want to share with visiting children.

If you are looking to take your child out for a play in the day without sun, do check out our article on Indoor Playgrounds in Singapore.

Changing the timing of activities in the toddler’s environment


- Encourage quiet activities before bedtime.

- Take the toddler grocery shopping after an afternoon nap.

- Get up earlier to reduce pressure and stress in the morning rush for childcare.

Keeping the environment interesting and stimulating


- Put together a bag of special activities to take on car trips or to other places where the toddler needs to wait, like the doctor’s waiting room.

- Involve the toddler in shopping by letting the toddler put things in the trolley or look for items.

- Play music or video.

- Have activities such as colouring.

Click here to read about "Toddler Development" and "How can Parents help".


Distraction is a behaviour management strategy that is good for situations where behaviour might be a problem.

For example,

The toddler:

- gets cranky.

- has been sitting still for a long time.

- is having trouble sharing or taking turns with other toddlers.


- Give the toddler something else to do. Introduce a new activity, toy or game.

- Change the scene. Move the toddler to a new place.

- Think ahead. Have a few ideas for fun activities.

For example, indoor or outdoor play.

- Bring along some fun toys, books and snacks which the toddler likes when bringing the toddler out.

- Screen time

For example,

Which apps the toddler can use? How long?

Which TV show the toddler can watch? How long?

Distraction will not help if the toddler is having a tantrum or has hurt another toddler such as biting, hitting and pulling.

Planning where to bring your child for an outdoor play date with a friend's child? Here are some Outdoor Playgrounds in Singapore which you can consider.

Planned ignoring

Planned ignoring is paying no attention to a toddler who is misbehaving. It means not looking at the toddler and not talking to the toddler.

Planned ignoring works because the parent’s attention is a big reward for the toddler.


- Completely ignore. Walk away from the toddler who is misbehaving.

- Start ignoring when the behaviour starts.

- Stop ignoring when the behaviour has been stopped for the 30s.

- Pay attention to the behaviour the parent wants to see instead of the behaviour the parent ignoring.

- Check before deciding to use.

1. Is the behaviour rewarded by someone else’s attention?

Yes. Do not use. Use changing the toddler’s environment. 2. Should the parent ignore the behaviour?

Should not ignore dangerous behaviour or behaviour that hurts others or damages items.

For example, biting, hitting, pulling on the curtains or throwing things.

Use consequence or time out. 3. Can the parent ignore the behaviour wherever it happens? For example, if the parent ignores the toddler yelling at home but not at the supermarket, the parent might get more yelling at the supermarket.

Use planning ahead for the behaviour at the supermarket.

4. Can the parent ignore the behaviour whenever it happens? Rewarding the toddler’s behaviour some of the time strengthens the behaviour more than if the behaviour is rewarded every time it happens.

Use Planning ahead.

5. Will other people ignore the behaviour? Talk with your spouse and agree on which behaviour to ignore.

6. Is the parent prepared to see the behaviour get worse before it gets better or does the toddler keeps behaving and hoping the parent respond?

If no, do not use Planned ignoring. I hope all these suggestions on behaviour management tools will help you to manage your toddler’s behaviours and your toddler will behave better.

Check out our article on "Managing Tantrums".

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