Learning how to use H.E.L.P

Toddler Whispering Workshop -- Lesson 1


H: Am I holding back or have I been in my child's face, interfering, being too intrusive, rescuing before she needs my help? Remember that the H -- holding back -- is for the purpose of observation, which is not same as being detached, rejecting or ignoring your toddler.

E: Have I encouraged my child to explore or do I hover? There are many opportunities in a day for exploration, any number of which can be thwarted by a parent. Do you, for instance, talk for her when she's playing quietly with another child? Do you do her puzzles instead of seeing if she can manage them on her own? Are you constantly directing, monitoring and instructing?

L: Do I limit or allow things to go too far? Too much of anything is not usually good for toddlers. Do you give too many choices or allow too much stimulation? Do you wait too long before reining in tantrums, aggressiveness or other high emotions? Do you allow your child to participate in situations that aren't age-appropriate, which could lead to danger, distress or feelings of failure?

P: Do I use praise appropriately -- to reinforce specific acts of cooperation, kindness, behavior or a job well done? Or do I overpraise? I've seen parents who say, "Good job" to their toddler when the child just sits there and breathes. Eventually their words of praise, deserved or otherwise, will mean nothing to their children.

When you're ready, move on to Lesson Two and learn how to use rituals and routines to end toddler tug-of-wars.


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