What to do when your toddler starts swearing

Grown up rebuking a little child for bad behavior. (PHOTO: Erik Reis for Getty Images)
Grown up rebuking a little child for bad behavior. (PHOTO: Erik Reis for Getty Images)
Erik Reis

It’s probably the most embarrassing of situations ? you’re with a bunch of strangers and suddenly your little one blurts out the vilest language. Chances are your toddler has no idea what the word means. So how do you handle the situation?

You’re with a group of strangers and suddenly your toddler drops the F-bomb. He probably doesn’t even know what the word means, but that doesn’t make the situation any less embarrassing. How should you handle it?

According to educational psychologist Melanie Hartgill, most children swear at one time or another; younger children will often repeat what they’ve heard.

Toddlers don’t understand what swear words are. They just pick up those words from their environment and accept them as a way of speaking.

“It’s hard to manage [swearing] with younger children as they are often mimicking what they have heard. The best thing to do with your younger children is calmly correct them and try to teach them that what they’ve said is a bad word,” Hartgill says.