Help! My toddler's driving me crazy!

12:0AM, Jun 6th 2012

Waking up one morning to find your placid cherub has turned into a stroppy little person with a mind of his own can come as quite a shock. But it's all part of growing up.

Life with a toddler can be challenging to say the least

Perhaps Dr Christopher Green, author ofToddler Taming, explains it best: "Between the ages of one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half is the time of minimum common sense and maximum mobility and militancy. At this age, children seem to have all the activity of an international airport, but their control tower doesn't work. And it doesn't take much to work out that this combination is going to be upsetting to someone and that someone is obviously going to be you."

So what should you do when your little terror is making your blood boil?

Distract him
"Stop a screaming fit before it starts by saying, 'Look, there's a dog outside! Oh, it's gone'," says Dr Green. "Diversion is your greatest weapon. It may be a little dishonest, but it can save your sanity."

Ignore sibling squabbles
"Turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to as much squabbling as you possibly can," advises Dr Green. "It's amazing how few fights take place without an audience!"

Lower your expectations
Toddlers are by nature noisy, dirty, messy and accident-prone. "I used to get really wound up by the way more of Nathan's dinner ends up on the floor than in his mouth," says Sue Price, mum to Nathan, two. "But then I realised he's not doing it on purpose. It's silly to expect a two-year-old to handle cutlery like an adult."

Limit the 'n' word
'No!' is an important word for all parents, but if you overuse it, it quickly loses its impact. A child can become bored by an endless stream of 'nos' &#151 and if he learns early on to ignore the word 'no', you'll have a much more difficult time establishing your authority. How can you turn it around? Swap the 'no' for a 'yes'. So, for example, change "No, you can't have a biscuit now" to "Yes, you can have a biscuit after lunch".

Don't sweat the small stuff
If you're stuck on picking up on every single thing your child does wrong, you'll create a child who has no faith in himself &#151 and if he can't ever please you, he'll stop trying.

Catch them being good
Sometimes we can be so focused on what our children are doing wrong, we don't notice when they do things right. "Praise your child when he co-operates and acts kindly, when he's quiet or when he plays on his own," says Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers. "Make the good moments last by acknowledging them."

Offer choices
Offer options that produce the result you're after! So, suggests Tracy, instead of saying, "If you don't put on your coat, we won't go to the park", say, "Which coat do you want to wear to the park &#151 the red one or the blue one?"

Be a kid yourself
"It's easy to spend your days barking orders at your kids and forget to enjoy their amazing enthusiasm for life," says Emily White, mum to Ben, three, and Joe, two. "I ensure I spend at least 10 minutes a day being a kid with them."

Ignore the bad
If you ignore provocative behaviour, chances are it will go away. "Jack has been told many times not to pick the leaves off the shrubs in our yard," says Jenny, whose son is two. "But he keeps on doing it, looking over the whole time to check I'm watching. I take no notice now; he's just trying to get a reaction."

Do you have any advice to share to help tame a toddler? Please enter your comments below.

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • A gorgeous photo of baby Sonny Blake via @zotheysay enjoying his first solid food. Such a big milestone! When did your babies first start solids?

    mother and baby A gorgeous photo of baby Sonny Blake via @zotheysay enjoying his first solid food. Such a big milestone! When did your babies first start solids?

    More from the team
  • Yup, it's Monday. Again.
Here's a cute puppy to ease the pain 🐶

    mother and baby Yup, it's Monday. Again. Here's a cute puppy to ease the pain 🐶

    More from the team
  • "There’s a little part of me that’s feeling just a little heartbroken (and to be honest, rejected)." Search "Erin Blog" on MotherAndBaby.com.au to read Erin's latest blog about raising her toddler son.

    mother and baby "There’s a little part of me that’s feeling just a little heartbroken (and to be honest, rejected)." Search "Erin Blog" on MotherAndBaby.com.au to read Erin's latest blog about raising her toddler son.

    More from the team
  • New research has explained why some women go into premature labour. Visit MotherAndBaby.com.au and search 'premature births' to read the full story.

    mother and baby New research has explained why some women go into premature labour. Visit MotherAndBaby.com.au and search 'premature births' to read the full story.

    More from the team
  • Do wish your baby was sleeping right now so you had the chance to grab some zzz's too? Visit MotherAndBaby.com.au and search 'sleep' for some helpful solutions. Hang in there. Your bub will fall asleep eventually 💤💤

    mother and baby Do wish your baby was sleeping right now so you had the chance to grab some zzz's too? Visit MotherAndBaby.com.au and search 'sleep' for some helpful solutions. Hang in there. Your bub will fall asleep eventually 💤💤

    More from the team
  • Today we're remembering all babies born sleeping, and babies lost to miscarriage and post natal causes. 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss.

    mother and baby Today we're remembering all babies born sleeping, and babies lost to miscarriage and post natal causes. 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss.

    More from the team
  • "She was an angel in every sense of the word." Read this brave mum's heartbreaking sorry of losing her baby >>> direct link on our profile.

    mother and baby "She was an angel in every sense of the word." Read this brave mum's heartbreaking sorry of losing her baby >>> direct link on our profile.

    More from the team
  • And some days you don't even find time to change out of your PJ's at all!

    mother and baby And some days you don't even find time to change out of your PJ's at all!

    More from the team
  • Wow! Check out Bob's transformation - not everyone's happy about it! Read the juice on our website today! Click the link on our profile to take a look. #bobthebuilder

    mother and baby Wow! Check out Bob's transformation - not everyone's happy about it! Read the juice on our website today! Click the link on our profile to take a look. #bobthebuilder

    More from the team
  • Yup, we're all partied out!
Friday nights just aren't what they used to be before kids! #sotired #earlynight #goodnight #yawn

    mother and baby Yup, we're all partied out! Friday nights just aren't what they used to be before kids! #sotired #earlynight #goodnight #yawn

    More from the team