You Can Make a Difference

Building and maintaining a positive relationship with your toddler or preschooler is another vital element in healthy child development. Based on decades of research and practical parenting experience, this engaging video series was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help parents manage what can sometimes become very challenging behavior by their young children such as disobedience and whining.


We understand that every family is unique so we offer these techniques as suggestions that you can tailor to your own children's needs. And as always, in Vermont you can speak to an HMG VT Child Developmental Specialist if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's developmental journey by dialing 2-1-1 x6.

Essentials for Parenting Overview


There are two videos for each topic in Essentials for Parenting. The first is referred to as the "feature," which portrays the incorrect way to handle a specific issue with the child's behavior. The second video in each group outlines successful techniques that address the behavior depicted in the feature.

(length 0:49)


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

Talking With Your Child


In this feature video a father lets stress from work interfere with his play time with his daughter. Watch as he learns how to get his daughter interested in play time again.  (length 4:43)


In the "How-To" video learn some tried and true ways to communicate with your child.

(length 3:14)



    • Praise your child when she does something right. The more you praise a behavior, the more likely it is your child will behave the same way again.
    • Pay attention to your child when he is talking to you or trying to communicate with you. Giving him your full attention will help you understand what he is telling you. It will also make him feel like you care about what he has to say.
    • Set aside time each day to talk and play with your child. Creating a special time lets your child know she is important. It also strengthens the bond between the two of you.


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .
In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

Giving Directions


A mother finds that her son does not follow her directions and figures out what is causing the problem. Watch as she learns how to give directions that can be followed.

(length 3:36)


In the "How To" video learn the steps to giving directions and find out what to do when your child does not listen.

(length 2:57)


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .
In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

    • Make sure you have your child’s attention when you give a direction.
    • Be clear about what you want your child to do and when she needs to do it.
    • Ask your child to repeat the direction back to you to make sure he understands.
    • Avoid asking questions when you want your child to do something. Asking a question gives your child the chance to say, “No!”
    • Give one direction at a time.
    • Model good listening skills during special playtime and give your child positive attention for good listening.


Avoiding Temper Tantrums & Meltdowns with Structure & Rules


Does your child have meltdowns when you change from one activity to another? Do you have trouble getting your child to follow a regular schedule? Consistent routines and rules help create order and structure your day. Things go more smoothly when you and your child know what to expect.

(length 3:45)


In the "How To" video see how family routines help with structure and how they can improve your child’s behavior.

 (length 3:11)



    • Consistency, predictability, and follow-through are important for creating structure in the home.
    • Respond to your child’s behavior the same way every time. When you are consistent, the behaviors you like will happen more often and problem behaviors are less likely to happen.
    • Routines and daily schedules help you and your child. You both know what to expect each day. Routines can also improve your child’s behavior and your relationship with your child.
    • A family rule is a clear statement about behaviors that are never okay, such as hitting and running in the house. You can change your child’s behavior when there are clear consequences for breaking the rule.
    • Keep things positive! Reward and praise your child for following routines and rules. This makes it more likely that your child will follow the routines and rules in the future. Click here to learn more.


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .
In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

Using Time-Out

Time-out never seems to work for one mother, until she finds out that her daughter is getting up during time-out. Watch as the mom learns how to use time-out.

(length 3:56)


In the "How To" video learn how time out works and see how to make it successful for your child.

(length 3:31)



    • Explain time-out to your child before using it. Tell your child which behaviors will lead to time-out, where time-outs will happen, and how time-out will be used. You can also practice time-out with your child so she knows how it will work.
    • Limit time-outs with toddlers and preschoolers. Use time-out if your child does something dangerous or harmful like hurting others, fails to follow a direction, or breaks a family rule. Use other types of consequences for other problem behaviors.
    • Follow the 5 steps for time-out each time you use it. The 5 steps are the same no matter where you are.
    • Step 1: Check the behavior and give a warning
    • Step 2: Tell your child he is going to time-out and tell him why.
    • Step 3: Have your child sit in time-out even if you have to lead him by the hand to the chair.
    • Step 4: End time-out after 2 to 5 minutes.
    • Step 5: Praise the next good thing your child does.
    • Select a time-out location where your child cannot get attention from anyone. The location should be away from TV, games, toys, or other things your child likes.
    • Time-out can be used anywhere. You can even use it away from home. You can use a time-out blanket as a time-out location when you’re in public.
    • Time-outs last between 2 and 5 minutes for toddlers and preschoolers.


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .
In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

Using Discipline & Consequences

Want to reduce misbehavior?

Step 1: Identify the misbehavior.

Step 2: Give a warning.

Step 3: Give a consequence.

Step 4: Tell them why the negative consequence is happening.

Step 5: After the consequence is over go back to being positive with your child.


It's all fun and games until the sippy cup hits the floor…for the hundredth time. Join a mother as she learns ways to handle her daughter’s misbehavior.

(length 2:47)


In the "How To" video learn how to use consequences and discipline to improve your child’s behavior.

(length 3:46)


In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .
In Vermont, to speak to an <i>HMG</i> VT Child Developmental Specialist dial 2-1-1 x6 .

      • Use social rewards (like hugs and kisses) more than material rewards (like toys or candy). Social rewards can be given often and are more powerful!
      • Sticker charts or similar reward programs can help change your child’s behavior.
      • Ignoring misbehavior means taking away your attention. It helps stop misbehaviors like tantrums, whining, and interrupting.
      • Distracting your child can help stop misbehaviors. It works by getting your child to think and do something else so he doesn’t continue to misbehave.
      • Toddlers and preschoolers have short attention spans. Give consequences right after a misbehavior so they can remember what they did that you do not like.
      • Use consequences that match your child’s age and stage of development.

Help Me Grow Vermont

Vermont Department of Health

PO Box 70

 Burlington, VT  05402-0070



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