What's the baby up to?
It is normal for a toddler to develop bad habits. If you want them to stop, it helps to know why they develop. Your toddler might revert to habits like thumb-sucking to soothe him when he is tired or insecure. Nail-biting, nose-picking and biting may appear when he is nervous, frustrated or unhappy. Most of the time toddlers outgrow their bad habits. A toddler may do one or more of these.
Thumb and finger sucking
Head banging, head rolling and body rocking
A few tips on handling bad habits
Ignore the behaviour and think about how you want to react.
Offer her something else to do that will require her to get her thumb out of her mouth like blowing bubbles or playing a game together, but do this without mentioning her thumb sucking.
Give your child more attention overall. Do not increase your attention only after observing the “bad” habit; to do so would just make the child associate the habit with getting more attention.
Make the bad habit less pleasurable. For a girl who pulls her hair, try a hairstyle that makes it hard to get at her hair like a plait or ponytail.
For the child who engages in raucous head-banging at bedtime, pad the headboard or crib. (Remember, even though head-banging sounds anything but pleasurable to you, it is a tension reliever for the child.)
Nail biting is another common habit: keeping the nails short and the cuticles softened and trimmed may help.
Breath holding is a more serious bad habit and should be discussed with your paediatrician.
Other stuff to think about
Your toddler needs between 12 – 13 hours sleep per night and is probably also still napping during the day.
Between ages 1 – 3 years your toddler still needs at least one nap during the day.
Naps can be short and in the late morning or early afternoon for about an hour or two. If it is later and longer you might have difficulty getting him settled at night.
Get into a set bedtime routine which is followed every night before bedtime. This routine should be followed by all of your toddler's caregivers.
Here are a few things to consider:
Set a bedtime
Bath your toddler
Say goodnight to mommy and daddy (and teddy / favourite doll)
Read a story or play lullaby songs
Switch the light off and use a dim night light
Go back to the complete list of Baby week-by-week updates.
Your baby: Month 22
What's the baby up to?
18 Nov 2010