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How do I (with a 15 month old)?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My son is 15 months and walks, runs, and communicates with a handful of words and signs. He understands simple directions like "put the ball in the basket" or "pick it up". He knows a lot more vocab than he is able to say or sign.

 

How do I teach him to be quiet in a restaurant, not to throw food on the floor, smack people (then laugh) and things like that?

 

He is generally a good kid, and he also has a sense of empathy when a child or animal is upset. But if he hits one of us and we get mad or sad, he laughs. And he has not listened about not throwing food on the floor or the SHHHH cues.

 

It would really make our lives easier- any tips? Or do we keep on keepin' on til he's older and it will fall into place?

post #2 of 6

In general I've learned it's better to tell them what you want them to do rather than what you don't  want them to do.  For example, sit in the chair or bottom on the chair.  Food goes on the table.  I repeated this over and over.  The repitiion is enough to drive you batty.  The fact that I had to repeat repeat repeat made me think she would never get it, but they do...eventually.

 

What drove me insane was the need to throw everything on the floor, not just food, but everything in sight.  I kept going around with her and picking up the object and saying, ______ goes on the  table.  Even at 3.5 she still throws stuff on the floor.

 

With the food, I would say food goes on the table, maybe twice, give it back twice.  The third time I would not give it back.  Once they start playing with their food, they are done.  That is a sign that they are not that hungry.  I take the food away.  He can have another meal in an hour if you think he hasn't had enough to eat.

 

As for being quiet in a restaurant, I think he is a little young to get it.  Maybe around 2 they start to get it, but it comes with a lot of practice.  Some mom's just don't go out to eat, but I didn't want to feel punished just because I had a kid, so we just chose louder restaurants.  At 2.5 she was fine in most restaurants, most of the time.

post #3 of 6

15 mths is young to expect quiet in restaurants.  Perhaps just pick a family restaurant if you want to go out.  If they're throwing food to me it means they're not hungry, try again later.  Is there a pattern to the hitting?

post #4 of 6

We found the "all done" sign helpful in figuring out when our children weren't hungry....often the throwing is boredom and disinterest in food. (also, it's really cool to throw.) One yr olds are all about learning cause and effect. They want to know what happens when they....hit, throw stuff, screech, etc. 

 

You can

1) offer acceptable alternatives. "You can throw this ball or this pair of socks" (better to say what they can do than what they can't.) The idea of "do not" is pretty abstract for a one yr old.

2) know that babies (and he is still a baby) have developmental needs that they will do their best to meet (learning to throw, climb, etc.) (see suggestion one :) )

3) be consistent with your responses. If you laugh once b/c he hits you in a playful way, and then the next time you get sad, and the next time you get mad, he will keep hitting to see what will happen next. Simply and calmly say something like "hands are for gentle touch" and show him how to touch you gently. I started quite early with my kids telling them that if they hit, bit while nursing, etc I would put them down for a minute. I was never angry or harsh, just "Mama doesn't like to be hit." The behaviours stopped easily once the baby knew it wasn't okay. 

4) understand that he is not at 15 months capable of empathy, and is most likely mirroring your responses. True empathy comes into play at about 5. I mention this b/c I found it frustrating with our middle daughter when she would act so empathetic on moment and then do something unkind the next. I found my expectations of her were often not age appropriate b/c I believed her capacity for understanding other's emotions to be so much greater than it actually was.

5) understand that at 15 months, a child has very little to no impulse control. Just b/c mama said no last time doesn't mean that he retains that or is able to apply it to the current situation. (for example, the draw to throw stuff may be so much stronger than his ability to look at the thing he wants with all his little body to throw, and to restrain himself from throwing it b/c mama said no last time. (In other words, expect to go through the same issues again, and again and again :)

6. Best to prevent unwanted behaviours by close observation and really knowing your son (which I'm sure you do.) For example, what happens before he hits? Is he hungry, tired, bored? Etc etc.

 

Hope some of this helps, sorry it's a mini book. :)

 

post #5 of 6

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post

We found the "all done" sign helpful in figuring out when our children weren't hungry....often the throwing is boredom and disinterest in food. (also, it's really cool to throw.) One yr olds are all about learning cause and effect. They want to know what happens when they....hit, throw stuff, screech, etc. 

 

You can

1) offer acceptable alternatives. "You can throw this ball or this pair of socks" (better to say what they can do than what they can't.) The idea of "do not" is pretty abstract for a one yr old.

2) know that babies (and he is still a baby) have developmental needs that they will do their best to meet (learning to throw, climb, etc.) (see suggestion one :) )

3) be consistent with your responses. If you laugh once b/c he hits you in a playful way, and then the next time you get sad, and the next time you get mad, he will keep hitting to see what will happen next. Simply and calmly say something like "hands are for gentle touch" and show him how to touch you gently. I started quite early with my kids telling them that if they hit, bit while nursing, etc I would put them down for a minute. I was never angry or harsh, just "Mama doesn't like to be hit." The behaviours stopped easily once the baby knew it wasn't okay. 

4) understand that he is not at 15 months capable of empathy, and is most likely mirroring your responses. True empathy comes into play at about 5. I mention this b/c I found it frustrating with our middle daughter when she would act so empathetic on moment and then do something unkind the next. I found my expectations of her were often not age appropriate b/c I believed her capacity for understanding other's emotions to be so much greater than it actually was.

5) understand that at 15 months, a child has very little to no impulse control. Just b/c mama said no last time doesn't mean that he retains that or is able to apply it to the current situation. (for example, the draw to throw stuff may be so much stronger than his ability to look at the thing he wants with all his little body to throw, and to restrain himself from throwing it b/c mama said no last time. (In other words, expect to go through the same issues again, and again and again :)

6. Best to prevent unwanted behaviours by close observation and really knowing your son (which I'm sure you do.) For example, what happens before he hits? Is he hungry, tired, bored? Etc etc.

 

Hope some of this helps, sorry it's a mini book. :)

 


Thanks for this post! I find it very helpful that you point out the capabilities and limitations a 15 mo child has. My DS is 13 months and we are starting to come across some of these behaviors, i.e. hitting and nipple pinching. You made a great point about being consistent with responses. I never thought about how not being consistent could be perceived by him.

 

post #6 of 6

Part of the hitting/hurting really is just a phase at this age. My dd is 18 months and has been laughing whenever she hits me (generally a signal that she's tired but YMMV). My boys both went through this. Protect yourself and distract. I often have to hold her arm away from me and say "no". Consistency? Meh. I'm not so sure it's totally necessary here. If you give a clear picture that hurting isn't ok, she'll catch on eventually in spite of your best efforts :)

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