Toddlers & Impulse Control

Did you know toddlers don’t begin to develop impulse control until 3.5-4 years old? Before then, if a thought pops into their head, their brain is not actually capable of stopping them from following through with that impulse.

This can include behaviors such as

👉🏼 Hitting

👉🏼 Yelling

👉🏼 Throwing

👉🏼 Grabbing

And many more behaviors parents can sometimes mistake for ‘misbehaving’. When in fact, your little isn’t intentionally acting out, they are just unable to control their impulses. When they see a friend playing with a toy they want, they will simply grab it, because they don’t have the self control to wait and ask for the toy.

🤔So how can we help our children curb these unwanted behaviors?

First, always be aware of what your child is developmentally capable of. No matter how much you practice, their brain is still not developed to a point of self control.

But there are a few techniques you can use to start modeling and practicing the foundation of impulse control, as well as control the unwanted behaviors.

✔️ Without judgement, tell your little what behaviors are unacceptable: “We don’t use our hands for hitting”

✔️ Empathize with your little: “Your frustrated with me right now. You don’t want to stop playing”

✔️ Play games that practice self control: games like Red Light Green Light help your toddler to practice controlling their impulses.

✔️ Help them control themselves when they are unable: “I can’t let you hit the dog, I’ll help you keep your hands to yourself until you can do it”

It can be frustrating dealing with the lack of impulse control in your toddlers. But it makes it much easier when you understand that it is completely developmentally normal, and they will grow out of it!

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