Do kids pick up habits from other kids? My daughter has a regular play date with 2 boys in my condo and they are always pushing and biting, and throwing tantrums. Will my daughter pick this up, or is she more likely to behave based on how she's brought up at home?

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Most toddlers are fantastic mimics and when they see others (especially children) doing different things, they can become fascinated by the behavior. They’ll mimic these new behaviors for a week or two and in some cases longer. Some of the mimicked behavior you may enjoy, because it can be utterly charming – however – the screeching, the blow raspberries and the hitting definitely fall on the less than attractive list. It’s worth noting that scolding them non-stop is usually less than effective as a deterrent. In fact, toddlers are a stubborn bunch and the more you nag them, the more likely they are to cling to the behavior. One method that often seemed to work with my daughter when she demonstrated one of these less than attractive mimics was the following: Tell her no and remind her firmly that we do not spit/hit/scream like that Remind only once and if it continues, give them a small timeout by themselves Isolation without a large emotional reward of your reaction is a huge turn off for a toddler If the behavior continues, you may mention it to the other parents and see how they are getting along with curbing the negative behavior. After all, if they are doing nothing about it – that means your toddler will be exposed to it again and again. It may not be pleasant, but I have removed my daughter from exposure to other little ones who’s parents refused to correct them for behavior such as biting, hitting or screaming all the time. No matter what behavior you are coping with, be sure to involve your co-parent and any caregivers in a united front on that particular behavioral trait.

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