Dealing with Gross Behavior
Some less-than-lovely toddler behaviors can be mortifying -- and stomach-turning. Here's how to handle...
Why they do it: Kids this age are curious about their bodies -- and what comes out of them. Many just feel something up there and must get it out.
How to deal: Most kids outgrow it, but "parents should correct unwanted behaviors," says Allison Lasner, M.D., of Mid-Suffolk Pediatrics in Mount Sinai, NY. And do it consistently. Frequent nose blowing and fun distractions ("Let's play 'Where Is Thumbkin!'") help, too.
Why they do it: Toddlers learn by looking, touching, and smelling -- and poop can be fascinating, whether their own or an animal's.
How to deal: If your kid likes to play with the stuff in his diapers, change them immediately and have him watch as you throw out the diaper or flush the poop down the toilet. If he simply likes the feel of it, let him explore different textures with squishy, moldable objects, such as soft clay and finger paints. If nothing else works, saying "Poop! Gross! Put it down!" may do the trick.
REFUSING TO BATHE OR WASH HANDS
Why they do it: Let's face it, getting dirty is fun and usually not a big deal. But when a child doesn't care that he's dirty and refuses to wash after using the toilet or before eating, it's annoying -- and sometimes even a health concern.
How to deal: Make getting clean as much fun as getting dirty. Use kid-friendly soap and bubble bath. Even giving your child a choice (washing his hands in the bathroom or the kitchen) can persuade him to clean up his act.