First Acquaintance with Prohibitions

The most distinctive feature of a 2-3 year old child is intense curiosity, and the most important job is to explore and learn. A sense of discovery and learning along with curiosity brings rules and prohibitions. While in the process of discovery, the child does not know what to handle and what is not harmful to him or her. This is where prohibitions come into play.

* How to explain something that is forbidden to a 2-3 year old child correctly?

Saying “this is forbidden” means nothing for 2-3 year olds. Likewise, explaining in detail why it is prohibited is not meaningful for a 2-3 year old child. First of all, the parents should come to a clear decision about what is allowed and what is not allowed for the child. What is prohibited and prohibited should not change according to the day, time, person or environment, and should be as stable and clear for every situation and environment as possible. Only in this way can children understand what is prohibited and what is not.

Especially in this age period, children tend to do the forbidden thing to make sure that they forget more quickly and that the parents always show the same attitude. The child should be clearly told what the undesirable behavior is (for example, it should be said “don’t touch the TV”), and the child should be told in a calm and determined tone of voice that the behavior he/she does is not liked without shouting or getting angry, and that he/she should not do it again.

* What kind of mischief does a 2-3 year old child do and how should parents behave?

2-3 year old child wants to touch, poke, throw everything, empty cabinets and drawers. The reason he does this is not to misbehave or upset his parents. All the child is trying to do is satisfy his curiosity. What happens when he touches the TV, throws the glass on the floor, what is in the cabinets and drawers? This is what the child is only curious about and trying to learn. At this point, offering options instead of preventing the child both reduces the anger and irritability caused by the disability and supports the child’s sense of learning and discovery.

Instead of locking all the cabinets and drawers, a cupboard or drawer can be emptied and reserved for the child so that the child can satisfy his curiosity. 1-2 toys belonging to the child, plastic or wooden spoons that will not harm him, plates, 1-2 cloths can be placed here. When he turns to the cabinets and drawers, he may be told that these are the mother’s places and that the emptied drawer belongs to him.

* What kind of prohibitions can be placed on a 2-3 year old child?

While in some families the child is not allowed to touch anything, especially in child-centered families, everything the child does is allowed. In this case, the child cannot distinguish between what is dangerous for himself and his environment and what is not.

At this age, arrangements should be made to prevent the child from harming himself and his environment. Protection covers for sockets, locks for cabinets with detergent, medicine and chemicals should be placed. Apart from these, prohibitions may be imposed on the behaviors of touching, hitting, throwing hot stove, iron, water.

* What should be the first reaction of the parents to the child?

When a child does something undesirable or harmful, parents’ first reaction is often to yell “DON’T”. This reaction causes the child to be afraid, but it does not always make him stop the behavior.

Just saying “NO” to inappropriate or dangerous behaviors will not be enough for a child of this age. It should also be explained simply why the behavior should not be done. For example, when you try to touch a hot object, it can be said that that object is hot and it will hurt. Often, children in this age group are not satisfied with the explanations and try to continue the behavior. They usually learn experientially.

It is necessary to remind the child of the rules and prohibitions frequently. By offering an alternative to the unwanted behavior, the child’s attention can be distracted and his insistence on the undesired behavior can be prevented. For example, when he starts to throw things on the ground, a direction can be made such as “they are not thrown, you can throw the ball if you want”. When it is not possible to end or change the behavior, it is an appropriate way to remove the child from that environment.

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