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Parenting Tips for Toddlers

New to the world of the terrible twos? These parenting tips for toddlers will help you survive with your sanity (somewhat) intact.

By Rowan MarleyPublished 7 years ago 7 min read

Toddlers are not easy to handle; that's why people call this age "the terrible two's" or "the terrible three's." This is a time in your parenting career where your sanity will probably be put to the test, and to a point, many new parents might even say it's worse than the newborn stage.

As bad as the tantrums and accidents can be, you can and will survive the toddler years! If you're new to having kids, or if you just need some pointers for a particularly tantrum-y toddler, never fear. These parenting tips for toddlers will help you get a little more order in this chaotic time of your life.

As hard as it is, don't succumb to tantrums.

Toddlers and tantrums go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, the loudness of a screeching toddler can make it insanely tempting to actually give the kids what they want — but you shouldn't.

One of the oldest parenting tips for toddlers and kids of all ages is to refuse to bend to tantrums. If you refuse to bend to your toddler's demands, it teaches them that tantrums will not give them what they want.

Actually caving in, on the other hand, will teach them that tantrums, screaming, and demanding things will do the trick. This prolongs the tantrum period in their lives, and also makes your life way harder in the long run.

One of the newer parenting tips for toddlers that tantrum involves telling kids that you acknowledge their feelings. After the tantrum, it may also be a good idea to tell them what happened, how they felt, and give them time to process it on their own. Studies suggest this can help build their emotional intelligence.

You can also curb tantrums by making sure that your kiddo is well-fed, well-rested, and understands that you love them.

Many parenting tips for toddlers will tell you that preventing tantrums is a smart move — and we'll agree. The easiest way to ensure that your kid won't blow up at the drop of a hat is to keep them from being hungry, tired, or thirsty.

Additionally, needy kids tend to throw way more tantrums than kids who feel loved. If you believe your child may have become overly needy, giving them space and letting them cry it out may be a good way to break them of that habit.

Some of the sites offering parenting tips for toddlers we've seen also suggest curbing the possibility of bad behavior by removing "triggers," or by giving them the choice of what to do.

So, if your child has been refusing to share toys during playtime, taking toys they hog away before the next child comes by can help. On the other hand, if you're having a hard time getting your kid to clean up, you can ask him, "Do you want to put away the toys, or do you want to make your bed? Your choice!"

The key here is to nurture their independence while also giving them all the food, sleep, and love they need to stay sane.

Praise and reward good behavior.

Toddlers are very quick to pick up on rewards and punishments — but tend to react better to rewards instead. Things like potty training, crib to bed transitioning, and even eating with utensils can be way more easily accomplished if you offer positive reinforcement.

Kids, especially toddlers that may not feel like they are acknowledged as people, love to earn prizes and praise. Use this to your advantage, and many of the milestones you might be worried about will become a lot easier.

Some examples of positive reinforcement for toddlers include...

  • Giving them prizes for using the potty correctly. Giving them a chart that also praises them for dry nights also can work wonders.
  • Praising them for cleaning their room is a great idea. Some parents also give their kids small candies after their room has been cleaned up.
  • Telling them that they are growing super big and strong is a good way to get them ready for bedtime in a kid's bed. When you make the new bed a reward, kids will run to it.

Tell the haters to bother someone else.

Everyone and their grandma has parenting tips for toddler to offer — along with heaping loads of judgement. Parent-shaming is a thing in our culture, and unfortunately, it's one of the most unhealthy aspects of trying to raise a healthy toddler.

As hard as it is, you need to learn to stand up for yourself and block haters out of your life. Only you know what's best for your child, so do what you need to do.

Limit "NO!"

Not your kid's use of the word — your use of it.

Kids tend to see "No" as a strong word that tends to make them feel like they've done something wrong. A better, gentler approach to parenting a toddler involves redirection.

So, instead of saying, "No, don't use mommy's notebook for coloring," say something along the lines of, "That's mommy's book. Let's go and get you that new color book we got you."

By limiting the use of "no," your kid will also know that you saying no means that it's really off-limits.

Routine is key to helping them sleep and develop a good overall balance.

Most of the parenting tips for toddlers you'll see will involve establishing some kind of routine. This is because kids really tend to thrive on consistency and routine.

Consistency helps them learn what they should do, what they shouldn't do, as well as when they should do it. Routine gives them a good idea of what they should expect, and also makes it easier for them to learn what actions are appropriate during the day.

Here are some of the best ways to establish routine and consistency in your kiddo's life:

  • Wind the day down before bedtime, and put them to bed at the same time every night. Kids aren't like adults; they can't just instantly conk out when it's night time. A quieter evening makes kids wind down and feel like it's time for bed.
  • Regularly praise and reward good behavior — and regularly address bad behavior using the same techniques. This helps kids learn what behavior is correct, what behavior just doesn't work, and what they should expect from their actions.
  • Take them out to the park at least twice a week, on the same day, around the same time. As any book filled with parenting tips can tell you, kids really do thrive on nature, sunshine, and playtime. The fresh air helps them sleep better, too.

If your toddler is really acting out, it may be time to press the pause button.

Even the most well-behaved toddler will have moments that will try a parent's patience. This is also true of preschoolers, too. You can't help it, either. This is just the way kids are!

One of the most crucial parenting tips for toddlers and younger kids, therefore, is to learn when to take a break from parenting.

The best way to keep your cool is to take a walk — away from your child — for a couple of minutes. If they become too much, put them in their room, close the door, and leave the house for 10 minutes or so. You're not a bad parent for doing this. It's better to leave for 10 minutes then to snap and hurt your child.

As a parent, you need to keep your cool. Getting emotional can cause really, really bad things to happen. Moreover, seeing you being cool, calm, and collected will make your child understand that you're in charge... and that will make them behave themselves.

That being said, it's also important to understand when it's time to call a professional. There's normal misbehavior, and then there's the point where something is clearly awry. Thankfully, catching issues early on can mean that you can curb issues before they get older.

All the parenting tips for toddlers on this list will not be enough if your child needs professional help. If you notice any of the following signs, call a pediatric health professional or a child therapist immediately:

  • Your toddler shows sudden bouts of rage, aggression, and violence. There are tantrums, and then there's hair-trigger temper issues. If you notice your toddler hurting small animals, biting others, or having unusually violent reactions to triggers, this could be a warning sign of serious mental illness.
  • Your toddler purposefully self-injures. Though rare, it does happen, and it should be addressed by a professional immediately if you see it happening.
  • You notice that your older toddler gets easily confused by simple phrases, can't see certain colors, or hasn't been meeting standard milestones. Though there are such things as late bloomers, it's better to make sure that your child doesn't have a developmental disorder than to take a gamble on it.
  • You notice that your child is very worried, even about little things — or that they tend to panic if you're not around. This could be a sign that your toddler suffers from anxiety. Thankfully, this is relatively easy to treat in toddlers.
  • A specific person triggers fear, aggression, or sudden terror in your child. This could be a sign that they have been molested and should be addressed immediately.

Hopefully, you won't need professional help to get your child to develop into a healthy, happy person. As long as you try out some of the parenting tips for toddlers suggested, things should go fairly well.

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About the Creator

Rowan Marley

Rowan Marley is a 20-year-old sports enthusiast who hails from Brooklyn. When he's not hitting up a local Zumba class, he's drinking organic smoothies. That's just how he rolls.

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