You asked

What can I do about my toddler's habit of back chatting?

Back chat is normal for toddlers and is a sign that your child is developing properly. By the age of 24 months, your toddler uses words instead of tantrums for self expression and this inevitably results in a lot of back chat. Disagreeing with you is a toddler's way of self assertion and becoming independent. As with tantrums, back chatting is a phase your toddler goes through and it will soon pass.

Being able to handle your child's contrary remarks can be difficult at times. When they are being rude or impolite, try to convince them to use different words and phrases to express themselves. Explain to your toddler that when they use harsh words, it hurts people's feelings. An example is to have them say, “I want to play alone now”, instead of “go away!”

It is around this time in your child's development that they use the word “No!” less often, but will still want to control everything and everyone around them. At the same time, they want to please you. This is why they feel hurt when you criticise or chastise them for what they say or do.

Do not struggle with their reasoning every time there is a disagreement. It is only important to enforce your commands when there is a safety issue, or it is time for bed. Try turning tasks and duties like tidying up into a game for your toddler. Your child will realise that listening to you is part of growing up and becoming independent.

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