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Just Ignore It

Buy Some Time

Say you've just finished folding the laundry when your 2-year-old tips it over, climbs into the empty basket, then jumps out onto the clothes. You're understandably annoyed. But instead of showing it, let your first response be none at all. During this brief pause, think about your child's motivation. It's possible that she doesn't understand what she's done and is just having fun. Or perhaps she understands exactly what she's done and is trying to get your goat. Either way, stopping for a second or two helps you figure out the lesson you want to get across and how  -- or if  -- you'll respond.

And, says Frugé, "when you pause for a moment to figure out how you want to react, you show your child a calm way to handle provocation, and you demonstrate how to control and manage irritation with others."