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Dealing With the Demolition Derby

At this stage, your toddler is still learning about his surroundings. Now, however, he has a lot more power to wreak havoc. While at 6 months, my son, Eli, was batting at toys I offered him, by 13 months, he was ready to be a Major League pitcher, hurling dishes off his high chair at record speeds.

Your baby isn't intentionally destroying things, though  -- not all the time, at least. He's simply figuring out which objects break, bounce, and coast. How to cope: Give him plenty to do, childproof your home, end potentially harmful activities, and compliment positive behaviors, such as building block towers (instead of destroying them).

When your toddler...
Throws food off his high chair
You can...
Say, "It looks like you're all done," and take the plate away.

When your toddler...
Throws blocks or hard toys
You can...
Offer soft blocks.

When your toddler...
Tears books
You can...
Offer board or cloth books.

When your toddler...
Knocks into things
You can...
Encourage him gently to slow down. Has he had enough time to run around?

When your toddler...
Pulls things off shelves
You can...
Make sure things placed slightly above him aren't so heavy that he hurts himself.

When your toddler...
Hits, bites, or pulls hair
You can...
Say, "Hitting/biting hurts. It makes our friend sad." Remove him from the situation.

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