parenting toddlers

Navigating the world of parenting is no easy feat. Raising kids is one of the world's most challenging and fulfilling jobs, but parenting toddlers through their wilfulness and tantrums can sometimes be challenging. A toddler meltdown can quickly overtake even the best-laid plans. Remembering these practical parenting tips may come in handy when they’re throwing themselves on the ground in howling frustration.

Set expectations

To help set them up for success, ensure they know precisely what is expected of them in specific situations. Children need boundaries at any age, and they need to understand that there are different boundaries at home than when they go out. This will also help toddlers make sense of any potential discipline given if their behaviour calls for it.

Paraphrase and emphasise

When children act out, it’s essential for them to feel heard and understood. Many toddler tantrums stem from being unable to have the self-awareness or words to let you know how they are feeling. Paraphrasing and acknowledging their feelings can help reconnect with our upset children and help them calm down quicker.

Show them, love

Praise and attention will often motivate your toddler to follow the rules, so try to ensure your displays of affection outnumber any consequences of their behaviour. Several studies highlight a link between parental love and children's happiness and success. Research by Duke University Medical School found that babies with caring and attentive mothers grew into happy, well-adjusted children.

Prioritise rules

According to a study by the Canadian Paediatric Society, instead of overloading toddlers with rules, we should prioritise safety and correcting toddler behaviour that harms people and property. It’s best to gradually add in additional regulations over time.

Limit screen time

Letting them watch TV or handing them a tablet is often a convenient way to get some chores done, but recent research suggests that too much screen time can delay toddler development.

The study by a team of Canadian psychologists found that if two and three-year-olds spend too much time gazing at screens, it can negatively affect performance when they are three and five, with some children lacking problem-solving, communication and other skills needed for school. “Toddlers who spend too much time looking at screens may miss important learning opportunities such as creative play and communication skills,” said Jack Simmons.

Lead by example

Young children learn how to behave by watching and copying their parents, and the best way to show your child how to behave is by setting a positive example for them to follow. Be aware of how you react in front of your children, as studies have shown that children with aggressive tendencies usually learn this at home.

Pick your battles

If you’re always saying ‘no’, your child will struggle to understand your priorities and start to tune them out. It’s also important to let your toddler have their own way sometimes, as it allows them to make their own choices and develop independence. Know which battles are worth fighting, such as being strapped into the car seat and holding your hand in car parks, and when it’s okay to let some things slide.