By Joey and Carla Link
June 2, 2021
WHAT IS “NORMAL” BEHAVIOR FOR TODDLERS? While behaviors such as throwing fits, being demanding, controlling you with his whims, talking in very loud voices, wanting Mama and no one else but Mama, are normal and to be expected, parents still need to deal with them. A toddler will let you know that he is unhappy with you if you require him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Please don’t try to talk your toddler into it. Put him somewhere he will stay until he gets happy and tackle the issue again. If you know your toddler will throw fit after fit about picking up his toys for example, then move him to an activity you know he enjoys. A toddler doesn’t understand logic or reasoning. Everything in his world is black and white so don’t try to go into the gray areas for him or expect him to understand the moral “why”.Let’s look at some parenting guidelines about raising toddlers:1.Stay in control at all times and stay calm. We are talking about you, not your child. Your toddler wants what he wants when he wants it. He doesn’t get why you don’t understand that or why you try to deprive him of whatever he wants in any given moment in time. Reminding yourself that he is only 2 helps you stay in control.
- If you aren’t calm we guarantee your toddler won’t be either. Or your baby and your preschooler. Your kids will feed off your stress.
- Count to ten or take a deep breath and slowly exhale.
2.Parenting toddlers isn’t easy. Just when you think you’ve got your toddler figured out, he changes. There is a reason they call it the “Terrible Two’s”.Because their verbal, physical, and emotional skills aren’t well-developed, your child can easily become frustrated when he/she fails to communicate what he wants to say or perform a task to yours or his satisfaction. 3.Your toddler doesn’t want to nap or go to bed. He/she thinks they should be able to play until they unknowingly fall asleep on the floor.
- Napping isn’t about choice. They need naps until they start school. They may not like them, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need them.
- Have a set routine for naptime and bedtime.
- Kids up to 8 yrs. old should be in bed by 8:00; kids under 6 yrs. by 7:30.
- Kids under a year old need 2 naps a day; kids between 12 and 30 months need 1 long nap a day, and when busyness has interrupted sleep schedules and kids are overstimulated, add a 2nd one hour nap in the morning for a few days to allow their bodies to catch up.
- Bedtime routine includes: (for both naps and nighttime sleep)
- Having them at the same time every day.
- Having them in their bed at home, not while you are doing errands.
- Have them get in bed, pray with them and leave the room. The longer you drag this out the more time you are giving your child to protest.
- When he/she has a melt-down and you keep trying to calm him down, he is in control. Since you know there is nothing wrong with him, let him work on calming himself down. If he/she cries, so be it.
- Give him attention when he is happy and calm, not having melt-downs and mad.
4.Praise the behaviors you want to encourage your toddler to keep doing.
- Deal with your toddler at the first sign he/she isn’t happy, like when he starts whining.
- Have him/her sit in a chair with his hands clasped together and no freedom to talk or get off the chair. Tell him he needs to calm down and get self-control.
5.Set boundaries, keep them simple and enforce them. By setting limits you will help your toddler learn self-control.
- Boundaries include things you don’t want him to touch. Keep most of it out of his reach (like remotes) but have a couple things at his level to use as tools to teach him “no touching”.
- When he does touch something he’s not supposed to, have him sit with his hands folded until he gets self-control. Walk away. When he is done with any crying or fit, ask him if he is ready to apologize for touching the “no touching” object.
- All the apology needs to be at this age is “Sorry”. If he/she needs a hug afterwards. Give it to him.
- Don’t be surprised when your toddler touches it again. They aren’t old enough to understand logical thinking. Just repeat the process above.
6.Don’t give in.Set your limits and be consistent. If that means your child has a full-blown tantrum in the grocery store because you won’t buy him a candy bar, remove your child from the situation and wait until things calm down. You won’t be the first parent to leave a full cart in the store and you won’t be the first parent to be standing by your car as your toddler screams his head off. There is a lot more that can be said about raising toddlers but it will have to wait until another time. In the meantime, please remember that your toddler is doing things that are perfectly normal for his age. Hang in there! “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”Psalm 127:3