The following came from a readers' Q&A with Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz this week on Boston.com:
Question: My daughter is 20 months old with strong language skills, and I sometimes wonder if we expect too much of her because she's so verbal. For instance, we'll insist that she apologize if she hits sometime (the apology often comes 5 minutes after the fact), but teachers at her child care say that's not their practice because most children can't use their words that way. Any thoughts?
Barbara Meltz: Orson, Yes, you are expecting too much. She may have the verbal ability but that doesn't mean she has the cognitive understanding to go with the words. It's fine to give her words to use, but it isn't enough.
Ideally, you would catch her before she hits -- grab her hand in the air before it strikes -- and that's the time to tell her, "Use your words," and then to model what you mean: "It looks like you want a turn with that toy. Can you ask for a turn? Can you say, "I want a turn when you are finished playing?"
And then you turn to the child and help her ask, and facilitate the turn-taking. I wonder, also, what the teachers are doing? I would ask for their strategies. Plus, is she hitting often? That's a much bigger issue!
Readers, do you agree with Barbara? Have some advice of your own? Let us know in our comments section below. Also, check out these recent posts: