Claudia Witke-Gajda (dpa)

If a child is not yet developed linguistically, he sometimes looks for other ways to express himself. It may happen that mom will pull her hair or hit dad if something doesn’t suit him. Or a child on the playground pulls a shovel over another child’s head because he took away his baking dish.

From the angry dwarf’s point of view, the hit-and-run approach appears to be quite successful at first. “If words are still missing, the described method gives a quick solution and, above all, a quick reaction and unlimited attention,” says Dana Mundt, social worker at the online consultation service of the Federal Conference on Educational Consultation (bke-Parental). Consulting) in interviews.

Question: How can one “stop” these behaviors and “quirks”?

Dana Mundt works as a social educator in the online consultation service of the Federal Conference on Educational Consultation (bke).

© dpa / M. Urban/Dana Mundt/dpa-tmn

Dana Mundt: Unfortunately, there is no button or similar patent solution on the child, even if parents sometimes – and understandably – really like it.

However, parents can support and accompany their children from an early age. The so-called baby gestures are useful for speech development. These are simple signs that you also use when talking to your baby. Example: When you ask your child if he would like something to drink, you raise your hand to your mouth at the same time as if you were holding a cup yourself.

This method works very well for thirst, hunger, oh or hugs. This allows children to briefly demonstrate non-verbally what they want at an early age. It’s usually faster to point your finger at jam than to say “jam.”

“Parents can watch and read picture books together at an early age and tell them what they see when they walk or sing together.”

Dana Mundt, social worker

What helps develop language?

When talking to your child, it is always a good idea to maintain direct eye contact. This is the only way to see if the child is really listening. Unfortunately, these days we often chat on our cell phones and talk on the side instead of taking the time to look into each other’s eyes. But eye contact is extremely important for speech development.

Parents can watch and read picture books together at an early age and tell them what they see as they walk or sing together. All this contributes to the development of language skills – which comes in handy. Many things are playful and musical. This way, you can visit the music garden even if you don’t know many of the children’s songs, finger games or rhymes.

I also believe that verbalizing feelings is important to “stop fads.” If parents see that the child is angry and, for example, in response to the theft of a cake pan, you can say to the child the words: “I see that this annoys you – you are very angry. Is it possible?” However, clear boundaries should still be established so that no one is attacked.

How do parents set boundaries or teach alternative forms of expression?

Parents should make it clear that scratching, biting, hitting, or spitting is not allowed. Then you very clearly say: “This doesn’t work!”

In difficult situations, you can also think together: what can a child do if he has no words? “You’re angry because a child snatched your shovel. But let’s think about what you can do without a shovel. Look here, there’s another shovel. Or look over there, the bucket is here. Or look, the big shovel has been here for much longer…”

By pulling my hair, I always made it clear: “I don’t want this. It hurts me too.”

Parents should be there to help you get rid of annoying “quirks” and to listen. Maybe don’t always intervene immediately, but just see if my child can do it on his own. Of course, this does not apply to my child wanting to scratch, hit or bite another child – then please intervene.

But if the child has understood the situation well, you must remember to praise the child and appreciate him.

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