Cursing and Preschoolers

girl holding her mouth

So... I know its HILARIOUS when your toddler/preschooler says a bad word but ... the best response is really not to respond. I know its really hard! Believe me! Because its so funny! But if you laugh it will just encourage the use. Even if you follow the laugh with "Don't say that!" they still remember "I said this word and Mommy laughed! I should do it again!" Even if they weren't looking for attention they will often jump on this chance for attention and continue the behavior.
(BTW these apply to not just typical curse words, but also potty words like "poopy" that kids like to say, or even "hate" and "stupid" that maybe be a problem in your home too).
So here are my suggestions...

1) Ignore (especially if they only say it once in a while. Even if you've laughed before, ignore it the next time).
2) Watch your OWN language!! Kids repeat what they hear. That goes for Mom, Dad, Grandparents, TV, Older siblings, etc...
3) Tell them "that word means something else, and its not nice to say" or"We arent allowed to use that word at school/in this house" (Even if you heard Daddy use before).  (Also Note ... It's Not necessary to explain what the word means to the child, but suffice to say the child likely has no idea what the word actually means- even if they use it "correctly"- they just know the word has power- it makes people laugh, yell at them, etc).
4) Make them aware they are using the word if they aren't realizing it. "That's a Red word" (Red words are things that aren't okay to say), or "We're not using potty words"
5) Teach them a "replacement word" which is a "Green word". Something silly is great. Make sure the replacement word is acceptable at School (not just at Home!).
6)If they continue to use the bad word tell them "if you are going to use "potty words" you have to use them only in the bathroom". Then send them to the bathroom every time they use a potty/curse word. Eventually they get tired of being left out of the group and the behavior usually stops. The assumption is the child is doing this behavior for attention and being sent out of the room means they lose attention, so it works!

There's a Red words and Green words social story on this site: ""