Is your toddler or preschooler calling you or someone else names? Whether it be out of frustration, anger, to gain attention, or experimenting with words, name calling isn’t funny nor nice. Check out these 4 quick ways to deal with name calling:
1. Don’t react– We’ve probably all been there. You’re in a public place and your preschooler decides they want something. You say “No, not today honey.” Then suddenly, you are a Big Poopy Head and everybody knows it. Your first reaction may be to say something to the little person with their arms crossed stomping their feet. But…. ignoring the comment at that time could be what’s best. At that moment they are angry and really want to show you just how angry they really are. Instead of yelling back at them stay calm and try saying “I know you are mad, but mommy said no.” Being firm and to the point is what is best. Engaging them in a war of words or lecture may just escalate the behavior.
2. Tell other caregivers– If your child has begun to use name calling or other not so nice words to express himself, tell other caregivers in advance. Let them know of any methods you are using that have been working. It’s important that everyone is on the same page and is dealing with the situation the same way in order for your efforts to be effective.
3. Talk to your child about their feelings- Even as an adult haven’t you been so angry or frustrated you were at a loss for words???? Take the time to talk to your child about different emotions they may be feeling. When appropriate try to label the emotion for them while they are experiencing it. (Hint- If they are screaming at the top of their lungs, maybe that is not the right time to talk to them.) This can help them learn to identify the emotion for themselves and increase the likelihood that they will begin to express their feelings to you. Some examples are:
– “You’re going to the park you must be so happy.”
– “I know you’re sad that you have to go home now.”
– “Are you mad that you can’t see your favorite movie?”
4. Engage in educational activities- Stories that talk about feelings, or even games that show how to react to unwanted events really help model how to respond to certain situations. Some examples are:
-Words are not for hurting by Elizabeth Verdick ages 4-7
-learn with Poko emotions app on iTunes ages 4-7
-Calm down time Elizabeth Verdick toddlers
-The feelings book by Todd Parr for preschoolers

Has your child ever engaged in name calling or using not so nice words? What are some ways you’ve handled it in the past? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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