Navigating the toddler years can be tricky. Get through the terrible twos with our top tips for managing your toddler’s behaviour.
Toddlers like to have things their own way – which can make them difficult to manage. One moment everything seems perfect; the next a switch has been flipped and your toddler is in full meltdown, throwing a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket.
While it might feel like everyone around you is judging your parenting, you are not alone. Your toddler is yet to learn the skills and understanding they need to react in an appropriate way.
Keep your cool
While you gently guide your toddler through these difficult years, it helps to remember to set a good example by controlling your own emotions and behaviour. Don’t lose your cool – take a deep breath, stay calm and remember that you are the adult. Unwanted behaviour such as screaming, kicking, hitting, biting and throwing things needs to be addressed with consistent responses.
Five ways to manage a meltdown
1. Try to avoid situations that cause tantrums – if you anticipate a change in your toddler’s mood, distract them or move on to a new task. This can help stop a meltdown.
2. Help them feel secure – make sure you let your little one know that you love them after they have calmed down. If you use time-out be sure to talk it over with your child afterwards. They may need extra cuddles.
3. Let your toddler explore and test their limits – this is important to help build confidence and self-esteem.
4. Offer choices to your child – by explaining the consequences and giving them a choice of two outcomes, they will learn how to make decisions and feel like they have some control. This may not work until closer to 3 years old so don’t be alarmed if you have to make a judgement call.
5. Praise good behaviour – and avoid rewarding bad behaviour.
Toddlers have a short attention span, so keep your verbal instructions short and simple. By being consistent in the way you help your toddler to manage their emotions they will feel more secure and gradually begin to self-regulate their outbursts.