My toddler's driving me crazy!

Were you shocked when your placid cherub turned into a stroppy little person overnight? Here's how to make it through this challenging stage

toddler tantrums and behaviour
Life with a toddler can be challenging to say the least

Perhaps Dr Christopher Green, author of Toddler 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.

12:0AM, Nov 18th 2014

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • "You feel it coming up your throat and BANG, you’re bordering on a heart attack." Sophie @theyoungmummy confesses her daily struggle with anxiety. Click the link on our profile and search "Anxiety" to read her full story. We applaud Sophie's honesty πŸ‘πŸ˜˜

    mother and baby "You feel it coming up your throat and BANG, you’re bordering on a heart attack." Sophie @theyoungmummy confesses her daily struggle with anxiety. Click the link on our profile and search "Anxiety" to read her full story. We applaud Sophie's honesty πŸ‘πŸ˜˜

    More from the team
  • We love this adorable mummy-daughter moment with a pregnant @___laurenkate and her mini-me. Too cute πŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ‘

    mother and baby We love this adorable mummy-daughter moment with a pregnant @___laurenkate and her mini-me. Too cute πŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ‘

    More from the team
  • Discarded crusts anyone? 😁😘

    mother and baby Discarded crusts anyone? 😁😘

    More from the team
  • Check out these sleeping beauties! Harrison & Cleo are adorable but not giving their mum @jade_audrey_love much sleep. What's your best advice for a mum to twin newborns? 😴😴😴

    mother and baby Check out these sleeping beauties! Harrison & Cleo are adorable but not giving their mum @jade_audrey_love much sleep. What's your best advice for a mum to twin newborns? 😴😴😴

    More from the team
  • Eva Mendes on being mum to six-month-old daughter, Esmeralda πŸ‘ΆπŸ’•πŸΌ

    mother and baby Eva Mendes on being mum to six-month-old daughter, Esmeralda πŸ‘ΆπŸ’•πŸΌ

    More from the team
  • The photos from this mum's maternal assisted caesarean are beautiful. Click the link on our profile to read her remarkable birth story πŸ‘πŸ˜˜

    mother and baby The photos from this mum's maternal assisted caesarean are beautiful. Click the link on our profile to read her remarkable birth story πŸ‘πŸ˜˜

    More from the team
  • This Magical Bunny Patch from @lifelovehiccups is adorable! Help your kids plant magic beans that grow into lollipops! πŸ‘πŸ’•πŸ°πŸ’ #easter

    mother and baby This Magical Bunny Patch from @lifelovehiccups is adorable! Help your kids plant magic beans that grow into lollipops! πŸ‘πŸ’•πŸ°πŸ’ #easter

    More from the team
  • Monday feels better with a smile & a baby cino date! Photo via @brittany_haigh

    mother and baby Monday feels better with a smile & a baby cino date! Photo via @brittany_haigh

    More from the team
  • "How could I β€˜fail’ at childbirth? But failure is what I felt. My births didn’t go as planned and I’ve never really recovered from it." Click the link on our profile to read  our full story about Caesarean Shame.

    mother and baby "How could I β€˜fail’ at childbirth? But failure is what I felt. My births didn’t go as planned and I’ve never really recovered from it." Click the link on our profile to read our full story about Caesarean Shame.

    More from the team
  • We love this adorable DIY mini terrarium. Check out the tutorial & more sugarless Easter gift ideas from @beafunmum by searching "Terrarium" on our website πŸ°πŸ„πŸŒΎ

    mother and baby We love this adorable DIY mini terrarium. Check out the tutorial & more sugarless Easter gift ideas from @beafunmum by searching "Terrarium" on our website πŸ°πŸ„πŸŒΎ

    More from the team