Why the pouty face? Getting to the bottom of things should help with a resolution. Figure out why your child is pouting. Did someone take your toddler's favorite toy? Did daddy just leave for work? Use that information to come up with a quick action plan for getting that pouty lip back in its place. It may be as simple as giving back the toy someone took away. But again, it may not. If a toddler's daddy just left for work, you can't reverse that. So you'll need another plan. Sometimes, no matter the reason, a quick solution is best for your toddler's sake and yours. Who doesn't get a pouty face themselves when seeing a sad kid?
Laugh it off! This is my absolute favorite method for banishing the pouty lip? Why? Because it's fun for the child, as well as the parent. The next time your toddler sticks out that pouty lip, go for humor. Do something completely funny and completely unrelated and break out into laughter. Turn that pout into a big smile. If you can make your toddler giggle instead of pouting, that's even better. You know your child best, so pull out your funniest tricks. Use props if necessary. Anything that makes your toddler happy is good.
I can pout like that, too! Yet another fun method, this gets your toddler thinking about things from another perspective. Get down on your toddler's level and stick out your pouty lip, too. See how long that pouty lip stays in place. The art of mimicking is often enough to get a toddler to understand how silly the pouty lip may be. Now, this method is more for toddlers who are overusing the pouty lip to get attention. You don't want to mock a child who is hurt or upset. That may come across as uncaring.
Distraction is a beautiful thing. If the pouty face blues are persistent, try distraction. Use your toddler's favorite activities or items to draw attention away from the upsetting moment. Start playing with a favorite toy or reading a favorite book. It's interesting to see how quickly a toddler can become interested in a new activity. Your toddler may still pout at the beginning of an activity, but once engagement in the activity happens, the pouty lip will be no more. It may be tricky keep a toddler interested at first, but if you make it fun, that pouting face will eventually disappear.
Hug that pouty lip goodbye! Sometimes all a pouty-lipped toddler needs is a simple hug. Good old comfort never hurt anyone. In fact, perhaps this was all that was needed all along. Your toddler may just be using the only way he knows to get attention. Even toddlers who are talking may still have some lingering baby habits. Remember that as a baby, your toddler had to be creative in getting your attention. That may still hold true in certain cases. Sometimes the best forms of communication are motions and sound effects. The pouty lip may just mean your toddler needs some extra love.
*Note: The author's "Positive Parenting" method has grown and evolved into what she dubs "Upstream Parenting."
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network