Why can’t your toddler be more gentle or play nicely? Within seconds, he turns a perfectly good object into a pile of rubbish, either by tearing, pulling, biting or smashing it.
The short answer: It’s not that he wants to break things for the sake of it, or because he has an aggressive personality – he just wants to look inside them, to see how they are put together, to see how they work. Enthusiasm and inquisitiveness underpin his learning.
To minimise the collateral damage to your things, consider these strategies:
1 Provide Toys that Come Apart
Since you know he enjoys disassembling objects, give him a toy that he can put together and take apart, again and again. For example, letting him play with age-appropriate bricks like Lego Duplo or blocks (see below) allow him to build them any way he wants and then break them up just as quickly.
2 Set Clear Limits
The problem is that he has not yet learnt when it is appropriate to dismantle an object and when it is not. He thinks that they are all the same, from that perspective.
Explain clearly to him what he is not allowed to damage, such as the DVD player, the ornament on the table and his books. Point out that these objects can’t be put together again, so he must handle them gently.
3 Be Prepared to Say “No”
Once you’ve explained that he is not allowed to break