HELP! How do I teach my toddler to ask for help rather than scream or throw toys?
Toys can be fun but also a source of much frustration when they don’t do what your toddler wants them to do, or they are broken, or something is missing, or… Lots of reasons. Teaching the concept and word for “help” can be…well, helpful.
I like to use an activity or toy that requires only a minimal attention span with a big incentive and, most importantly, one that a toddler can’t play with on their own.
Wind up toys work well! Most toddlers love to watch them wiggle and jump and the action doesn’t last forever so they will quickly need to figure out how to make it happen again. This is your opportunity! (Most wind up toys are too difficult for toddlers to wind up).
- Show them how the toy works with lots of excitement (just to make sure they are interested)
- Ask “again?”
- Let them try
- Offer “help” by holding out your hand (bonus points if you want to introduce the sign for help)
- WAIT for them to give it to you. If they don’t give it then use another wind up toy to remind them that YOU know how to make it work
- Again, wait for them to give it to you. Occasionally use the word “help”…
- Once they give it to you, say “help” again then wind it up and “ooohhh aaaaahhhh yippee!”
- Do it again. And again 🙂
Another one of my favorite toys for teaching “help” is the balloon pump.
Obviously, this one needs to be closely monitored as balloons should not be used with little ones, especially those who still put everything in their mouth. However, if you only get out one balloon at a time this can be a great activity requiring minimal attention/wait time from your toddler but big excitement! Toddlers will not be able to put the balloon on the nozzle so it’s a perfect set up for needing help. Let them pump it up (count to 10) then squeeze the handle to make the balloon inflate “ssssshhhhhh”. Don’t tie it up! Just pinch the end together, hold it up in the air, then get ready for the big moment…”Ready, Set…GO!” Release the balloon and let it fly around the room! Kids love it and they will want you to do it again and again and again… Remember to pick up the balloon each and every time.
Need some toys to help teach this concept? Click on the images below:
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