Your toddler is not the best communicator. My son could bearly string a sentence together when he went through the screaming phase. I am certain that his lack of communicative abilities lead him to scream when he didn’t know the right words to use!
Sit down with your toddler and speak to them. Let them listen to the words you use. Your toddler will learn to communicate better simply by listening to the way you talk.
Be careful though, there is a fine line between rewarding good behavior and bribery.
Bribery is bad, rewarding good behavior is good.
The key difference is that you do not offer a reward before specific good behavior is shown. Sure, you can offer reward if behavior is good over a period of time. Use a rewards chart for this. Bribery is offering a reward for good behavior immediately, or over a short period of time.
Why Does Your Toddler Scream?
Your Toddler Finds It Funny
Let’s face it, what is funnier than watching your parents jump out of their skin?
Kids love to see your reaction and find it extremely funny when you jump. The result is that your toddler wants to do it again, and again, and again. Until they get bored of it…
…kids never get bored of scaring you, by the way.
Your Toddler Is Scared
It could be that your toddler is genuinely scared, and this is the worst think about your toddler screaming.
Damn, in your time as a parent to a toddler, how many times have you heard the phrase:
It is just a phase
Says everybody when a child is acting up!
Is it true though it is likely to be a phase that your toddler is going through, and riding it out might just be the only way you are going to get through it.
I know, it is easier said than done.
This is very similar to your toddler not being able to communicate properly.
It is not just communication though, it is everything.
Your toddler will be looking at everyone, wanting to do everything they are doing. Does your toddler have older siblings? It is possible that they are looking at their older siblings and the frustration is creeping in because they can’t run as fast, speak as well, jump as high.
Reassure your toddler that they are doing well. Help them achieve what they want to achieve.
There are many reasons why, but this post will help you understand how to get a toddler to stop screaming.
The most important thing is that you communicate with your toddler, and teach them how to communicate effectively. You are their role model, and they will learn from you.
Be less angry, be less frustrated, and your toddler behavior will surely follow.
It was a huge challenge for me, and for my toddler son! I was woken up most nights, sleep was slipping away from me. In this post, I am going to take a look at some toddler self-soothing behaviors to make sure you get enough good quality sleep!
In fact, it was not just me going through it. I have a friend who was going through the same thing. So I asked them for some advice, and here it is:
Toddler Self-Soothing – Layla’s Story
Throughout Lala’s infanthood, she had problems sleeping. I spent months poring through research journals and interviewing pediatricians. Very little changed; my toddler hadn’t learned to self-soothe.
Neither of us was getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night.
Before long, my blood pressure started going up and Lala began complaining of recurring headaches. I became desperate for a permanent solution to our sleep challenges. I saw a therapist who suggested that Lala learns to self-soothe.
Child therapists suggest that self-soothing is an important phase in every toddler’s development. To cope with discomfort and other stressful situations, toddlers adopt habits that make them feel secure and calm.
Self-soothing was—and still is—a life-long skill my toddler had to learn so that she could rock herself to sleep in my absence.
Here, I’ll share the self-soothing hacks that worked for Lala and me.
Common Toddler Self Soothing Behaviors
As children mature, they adopt different strategies and techniques that help them stay calm enough to sleep on their own. These repetitive activities often seem funny and weird to uninformed adults.
However, child therapists have revealed that these behaviors are basic signs of neural development. Toddlers adopt self-soothing behaviors to help them regulate their emotions and moods.
When Lala eventually learned to self-soothe, she had fewer episodes of tantrums, had better moods. She also showed more signs of self-control. With her newly acquired self-soothing skills, she coped better in stressful situations. What’s more, she began sleeping for longer hours and my blood pressure dropped to a healthier range.
Listed below are all the socially-acceptable self-soothing behaviors I taught Lala.
Stroking Blanket Between the Toddler’s Little Fingers
This is top of the list for toddler self-soothing behaviors!
Toddlers especially like this self-soothing strategy. The warmth of the blanket gives them a calm womb-like comfort. Lala absolutely loved her pink blanket. Now Lala is almost four. And whenever she wakes up in the middle of the night, she clutches her favorite cotton blanket to her chest and fiddles with it until she drifts back to sleep.
According to child therapists, toddlers love comfortable things and they associate current events with pleasant memories. Lala loves fiddling with her blanket because it reminds her of the warmth of my womb.
The blanket also reminds her of the skin-to-skin contact she experienced in her breastfeeding days. This soothing activity is definitely worth considering.
Humming that induces gentle vibrations in the chest.
Humming is another comforting sensation that toddlers love. With each hum, the toddler’s chest vibrates a little. A sense of calm suddenly washes over the child. It’s quite easy to teach a toddler to hum. All you have to do is show by example.
Children learn very fast.
Teaching Lala this self-soothing behavior was quite easy. At bedtime, I laid her on her bed and hummed rhythmically. Soon she followed suit and began humming herself to sleep. It was almost magical.
Because humming involved many repetitions and chest vibrations, her brain calmed down enough to induce sleepiness.
This self-soothing strategy worked quite well. I shook my head from side to side and encouraged her to follow suit. But I must admit that we often wound up rocking the entire body. But even that isn’t a completely bad idea.
Shaking the head repeatedly helps the toddler self-soothe from a sensory level. It’s definitely worth a try.
Belly button twiddle
My best friend has a two-year-old son. His name is Jake. And when little Jake started daycare, he forgot almost all the self-soothing behaviors he’d learned. He began twiddling his navel whenever he felt sleepy. No one knows where he learned this.
The first time the daycare teacher noticed Jake fiddling with his navel during naptime, she almost screamed in horror. She clamped her mouth shut, I think because she didn’t want to wake the other sleeping children.
Apparently, none of the other toddlers in the class showed signs of weird self-soothing activities.
Fiddling with the belly button probably reminds toddlers of all those months when they curled up in Mom’s womb. This behavior reflects expert’s theories of toddlers adopting behaviors that bring them pleasant memories. Lala didn’t need to try this. I only included it in my list because I realize that it might work for another toddler.
How To Help My Toddler Self-Soothe
If your toddler is having problems learning to sleep on their own, do not despair. You’re not alone. All over the world, toddlers struggle to sleep without the help of an adult.
To make your job easier, I have outlined and explained five effective ways to teach your child to self soothe.
Set up a fixed bedtime
Toddlers are creatures of habit. They learn faster when they are made to work with a fixed schedule or timetable. In matters of sleep, toddlers benefit more when there is an established consistent bedtime schedule.
Lala got used to the bedtime rituals very quickly. It started with a warm bath, a bedtime story, and lights out. Sticking to this pattern helped her fall asleep in her warm and cozy bed. Occasionally, she hummed and hugged her favorite pink blanket. Sometimes, she rocked her stuffed animal to sleep as well.
Help your child cope with the dark bedroom
If your toddler is afraid of the dark, you can leave on the lights in the corridor, especially if its silhouette filters through the cracks in the bedroom doorway. A toddler or baby night light projector is an awesome idea to help your child stay in bed!
Because Lala had formed the habit of imagining monsters in the dark, I provided a warm, natural-looking light in the adjourning rooms. Later on, I installed a nightlight bulb in her bedroom. This went a long way to help her overcome her sleep challenges.
Handle mid-night episodes wisely
When your toddler wakes in the middle of the night, pay attention. Listen through the door and wait for five to ten minutes. Your child needs adequate time and space to practice the self-soothing strategies they’ve learned. If they keep crying, calmly walk into the room and soothe them.
Ask them what the problem is. Reassure your toddler of your love, care, and protection. Be wary of night-terrors in toddlers!
When Lala woke up in the middle of the night, I kissed her and encouraged her to hum and rock her stuffed animal or her blanket. The self-soothing techniques calmed the brain. She always fell asleep after a few minutes.
Don’t give up after a few nights. If you maintain a regular bedtime routine and a smart mid-night intervention strategy, your toddler will adjust. With time, your toddler will develop the skills required to sleep independently. What’s more? They will also cry less.
It took Lala about one week to learn to self soothe. However, children learn at different paces. Your toddler might take less than a week to learn, but they might also take more than two weeks too. Studies by educational psychologists suggest that there are individual differences and that children learn at different rates. Be patient with your toddler.
Recommended Purchases For Self-Soothing
Teaching your little one some toddler self-soothing behaviors is a challenge! Often, you will need to purchase helpful tools for your child. Below is a list of purchases that worked for me and some that worked for other parents I interviewed.
Soft warm baby blankets
Self-held feeding bottles
A warm nightlight that has a natural glow
A stereo and nature music mixed tape. The tape features birdsong, the hiss of rushing waters and the swishing of forest trees and desert sand dunes
Very few babies are born with flawless sleep patterns and habits. Yes, some babies sleep for 6 – 8 hours throughout the night, but these are the exceptions. In most cases, newborns wake up regularly for nightly feeds until they reach their third months.
Research has shown that early self-soothing lessons benefit children in the end. According to this 2002 study, babies who had learned to self soothe by the age of one were unlikely to develop sleep challenges in toddlerhood and middle childhood.
Toddler’s sleep patterns and associations are a lot more difficult to adjust when compared to a baby’s sleep habits. That makes it more of a challenge to build in some toddler self-soothing behaviors!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I teach my toddler to self soothe?
The first step is to make your toddler’s bedroom warm comfortable and cozy. Declutter the room. Place objects and toys that bring pleasant memories. Consider investing in self-soothing tools. Blankets, stuffed animals, self-held bottles and birdsong are fantastic tools.
Establish a bedtime ritual and timetable. Choose rituals that are effective on multiple levels. Warm baths and (oil or water) massages soothe and comfort toddlers. After baths and massages, proceed to the bedroom, turn down the lights to a warm, soft glow.
Yellow candle-like flames are natural and soothing. Avoid the harsh glare of white LED or fluorescent lights. Read a bedtime story, pray (if you want) and then encourage the child to hug a warm blanket or a stuffed animal. These activities create feelings of comfort and security.
When your toddler wakes up at night, get up and press your ears to the doorway. Listen for five minutes. If the child hasn’t gone back to sleep, open the door and pacify the child. Ask what the problem is. Listen to what your child has to say. Afterward, hug them and encourage them to hum and to rock their favorite stuffed animal, blanket or self-held bottle,
Don’t linger in the room for too long. Leave after five minutes. You can wait outside and monitor the child’s progress from there. Often, the child will drift off to sleep without your help. If, however, your toddler continues to cry, wait for seven minutes before you intervene. Be willing to give your toddler adequate room to practice the self-soothing techniques they’ve learned.
How long should a toddler cry it out?
Every child is different. And in matters of self-soothing, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guideline. Some experts say it’s okay to allow your toddler to fuss and cry for about five to eleven minutes before you intervene. Other experts recommend a longer duration.
Whatever you do, be sure to apply the law of moderation. Don’t let your toddler cry for too long especially if he or she is ill.
Monitor your toddler. Ensure that they aren’t harming themselves while they are crying.
Can newborns self soothe?
Experts believe that newborns are capable of self-soothing when they cross the three-months milestone (or when they turn twelve weeks).
However, it is important to note that newborns have very small stomachs and are unable to take in sufficient amounts of food at once. Often they have to wake up every one to three hours to feed. Obviously, babies who cluster feed are not capable of soothing themselves to sleep when they are hungry.
Before you start swapping self-soothing stories with other mothers, bear in mind that parenting tactics differ. Bottle-fed babies eat less than breast-fed babies. And breast milk is more easily digestible when compared to baby formula.
In other words, breast-fed babies are more likely to wake up more often for nightly feeds.
By the sixth month of life, two-thirds of babies are capable of ingesting more food at a time and of sleeping for longer hours. When they attain the six-month mark, you can teach your baby to self soothe.
Many toddlers struggle to sleep on their own. Often, toddlers insist on being held, rocked or patted to sleep even when they wake up in the middle of the night.
Not only does this deprive the entire family of quality sleep, but it also robs the child of the opportunity to learn an important life skill.
Toddlers who learn to self soothe are more likely to:
Regulate their moods
Cope in stressful situations
Concentrate in a formal school setting.
You can help your child self-soothe if you create a comfortable and cozy space for your child to sleep in. Fill your child’s room with soft blankets, stuffed animals and other tools that are reminiscent of pleasant experiences. Establish a bedtime ritual and stick to it.
Tuck your child into bed and encourage them to rock their stuffed animals and or blankets. Hum to them and encourage them to hum as well.
Do not despair. Like Lala and I, you and your toddler will overcome your sleep troubles.
the key point is – you should teach your little one some vital toddler self-soothing behaviors!
7 Tips for How You Can Get Your Toddler To Listen Without Yelling At Them
It is pretty simple, if you yell at your toddler, it will accomplish 2 things.
Your toddler will consider it normal behavior and will no longer respond.
Your toddler will copy your behavior. Now there are 2 people yelling and 0 people listening.
Take a look at the way you communicate. Are you somebody who yells a lot in general? Or is it just at your toddler?
If you are a ‘yeller’ then it is time to change your behavior if you want your toddler to fall into line!
Discuss Good and Bad Behavior
When a person gets to the toddler age it is much easier to communicate with them. They can understand, and they can communicate better with you, allowing you to understand what they are thinking.
It is time to have a frank discussion with your toddler about what you consider to be good and bad behavior. Use as many examples as you can, people work better with real-life examples.
Write down 4 or 5 good and bad things they have done over the last week and discuss each one. Ask your toddler if they consider it bad behavior.
Reward Them For Good Behavior
During the discussion about good and bad behavior, introduce the idea of a rewards chart for your Toddler.
For a start, they love to be rewarded! Especially when you heap praise on each thing they did well.
Rewarding good behavior, in my opinion, is much more important than punishing bad behavior. When you punish bad behavior you are giving your toddler attention. If they want attention, they will act up until you give it to them, bad or good.
Listen To Them
Before you yell, ask them in a calm voice what they were doing.
Listen to their response. Give them time to respond, they don’t know as many words as you do and will take some time picking the right ones.
Once you have done that – ask them if they think it was good or bad behavior. Listen to their answer.
Communication without yelling is a challenge, but if you listen to your child, they will learn to listen to you.
Compose A Punishment Plan
What will you do to punish your toddler if they misbehave?
Do you put them in a ‘time-out’ area? What about taking toys away from them (my personal favorite)?
All you need to do is ensure that you have a plan. When your toddler exhibits some bad behavior, you will know what to do if you have a plan.
Follow Through With Punishments
Now that you have a punishment plan, your next job is to follow up on the threats in the event of any bad behavior.
Here is my example:
My son was naughty – I cannot remember exactly what he did, but it did prompt some action from me.
I threatened to take away a toy and give it to the garbage men. His bad behavior continued.
The toy was taken away.
Cue a gigantic toddler meltdown! It lasted for about 3 minutes. What did I achieve from that? A Toddler who knew that I followed through with threats and did not back down.
Since then, he has bucked his ideas up!
Work As A Team
Work with any of your toddler carers. Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Daycare Staff. Anyone who cares for your child, speak to them about the way they interact with your toddler.
If you are no longer yelling at your child, but other carers continue, then they will still learn that yelling is a way to get things in life!
Reasons Why A Toddler Has Become Immune To Yelling
It Is Considered Normal
Your toddler will stop listening when you yell all of the time because it is considered normal behavior by them.
I only yell when it is necessary – i.e. my son is just about to run near a road! It is effective… because when I yell, he stops!
They Are Pushing Your Buttons
Toddlers are learning how to communicate still, let’s not forget that.
Part of this important learning phase includes pushing your boundaries to see what they can get away with. If they learn to push your buttons, and you react by yelling, they might simply do it for fun!
The key message I got from this book is to ensure that you establish positive routines throughout the ‘toddler phase’ to build the foundations of good behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can yelling at a child be harmful?
It depends how loud you shout! The biggest harm you can do to your child by howling at your toddler is to make them think that it is normal behavior. Your toddler will copy you because yelling is learned behavior.
Research suggests that yelling at your child can lead to more aggressive behavior too!
How can I get my toddler to listen?
Rewarding times when your toddler listens to you is the best way of getting a toddler to listen. Toddlers want your attention, and if you are giving them attention when they are good, they will be good more often than bad.
If you only give your toddler attention when they are acting up, then they will continue to act up!
How do you discipline a toddler without yelling?
Simply concentrate on the times when your Toddler exhibits good behavior. Implement a reward system (use a rewards chart). Removing your child’s favorite toys is also a good way to discipline your toddler.
What happens when you yell at your child
Your child will learn that yelling is one of the only ways that you can get someone to do something for you. This will continue throughout their childhood and into adulthood. This is just one of the long-term effects of howling at your toddler!
If shouting at your toddler is your normal reaction to bad behavior then you are simply teaching them to yell back at you. If you follow the tips on this page, it is much easier to get your toddler to listen WITHOUT yelling at them!
Wailing at your toddler all of the time is a negative parenting strategy, and the key message here is to correct your own behavior.
Once your behavior is corrected, then your toddler will naturally follow.
You will be shocked to see your toddlers reaction when you begin parenting in a positive way!
The good news is that you can put some work in now to resolve it! In this post, I am going to give you 9 tips for how you can deal with a toddler who is bossy, and assertive.
Dealing With a Bossy, Assertive Toddler
Work Together – Mom and Dad
The most important thing is that you attack the problem like a team.
Before you even approach your toddler with some corrective behavior techniques, you need to get together as a team (Mom or Dad, or whoever is caring for the toddler).
Establish what is good and what is not good behavior. It is an awesome idea to approach this meeting with some recent examples of both good and bad behavior.
I don’t want to turn this into a business meeting, but there are some benefits to holding a structured meet up.
Once you have established what is not good behavior from your toddler, it is time to agree to some corrective behavior. Include punishment in here too, because if it gets that far, you both need to be on the same page, right?
Change Your Behavior
A change in your behavior will have a huge impact on your toddler’s development.
Let’s take, for example, your behavior when your toddler demands something without asking nicely. Did you provide? Or did you stop and explain how they need to ask in order for you to comply?
How about the way that you interact with your toddler? Are YOU a dictator to them?
Listen to yourself speak as you interact with them. Do you ask correctly? Are you polite?
Toddlers are learning how to interact with others by listening to you. The way your toddler responds to anger is learned behavior.
The bottom line is, if you are bossy then they will also be bossy.
Rewarding good behavior is not simply buying them a new toy (far too expensive), it is praise and extra affection too.
You cannot underestimate the power of a rewards chart! It is simple, and best of all it is free (assuming you already have a piece of paper to write it on!)
Not only is it free, but you can also work with your toddler to put the reward chart together!
It is a perfect opportunity to ask YOUR toddler what he or she believes is good behavior. This task alone will increase your toddler’s knowledge of how to behave in the correct way.
Giving your toddler your expectations will set boundaries and will set a baseline for behavior.
I mentioned above that it is a great idea to put together a reward chart with your toddler to reward good behavior. I would also use this opportunity to set expectations.
Discuss what bad behavior is, give them real-life examples where they have not behaved well.
Now tell them you expect their behavior to improve.
Setting expectations is not simply how you expect them to behave, you should also set the expectations for what will happen when they are behaving badly too.
My son snaps out of bad behavior as soon as I threaten him with the removal of a toy! I am under no illusion that this will work forever, but it works now and that is the most important thing, right?
Always Follow Through
This is extremely important! I cannot emphasize it enough.
Above I mentioned that I threaten to remove a toy from my son’s collection if he does not improve his behavior. The ONLY reason why that works is that he pushed me to act during the early stages of my action plan.
What did I do? I removed a toy. Did it work? Not immediately.
I followed up with a threat to throw the toy away if he carried on. Did it work? Not immediately.
What did I do next?
I threw the toy away.
For the next few hours, my son was absolutely distraught that he had genuinely lost one of his toys. The fact that I followed through with a punishment means he KNOWS I am serious when I say I will take a toy away.
This ties in with rewarding good behavior but takes it a little bit further.
If you have followed the ‘Give Praise For Good Behavior‘ tip above, then you will have already created a rewards chart – good job!
Now as a next step, you could implement a points-based system. for instance, 2 points for a day where they have been polite, a further 2 for going to bed on time, 2 more for brushing their teeth without a meltdown. -2 points if good behavior is not seen.
You could incentivize good behavior by suggesting a trip to the toy shop on Saturday if a certain amount of points are achieved.
Correct Bossy Behavior Every Time
Very important – do not let your toddler get away with ANY bossy episodes.
Every single time your toddler is bossy, correct their behavior.
Correct the bossy attitude by reminding them about the rewards chart.
Give Your Toddler Some Choices
Toddlers may be going through a bossy stage because it is an important part of their development.
It is during this stage where they want more independence, but you still need to be the ones making the rules.
There is some middle ground though…
Simply give your toddler options. Each option should be something that you are happy with.
This is a classic technique where it looks like you are giving someone an option, but all options are yours and therefore they are going to do what you need anyway.
Why Is My Toddler Being Bossy All Of A Sudden?
If your toddler has suddenly begun being bossy or strong-willed then there may be a reason for it.
The word ‘phase’ is feared throughout parent land. It basically means ‘just ride it out’.
During toddler years, they will be swapping communication techniques until they find a way that suits them. Your toddler will also be learning from you!
It is part of a toddlers development and nothing to fear.
Just ride it out!
My son is bossy when he is tired, it is difficult to change that. As long as I do not let him get away with it, he will stop eventually.
If he wakes early in the morning, I know that he is going to be bossy at around 18:00 that day. The last hour can escalate to a battle of wills!
Check with your toddler to see if they are being bullied. Being bullied is not a good experience at any age, but at a young age, it can result in some strange behavior. Being bossy is one of them.
Keep a close eye on your toddler and speak with their daycare staff to ensure nothing untoward is happening there.
Toddler Is Copying You
If you are bossy then your toddler will be bossy, period.
Time for you to change, before you both lose it with each other!
Toddler Is Copying Friends
During your toddler’s development, they will be learning life skills from those around them, including other kids.
If your toddler’s friends are bossy, then your toddler will copy them.
In this post, I gave 8 tips for how you can deal with your toddler being bossy, strong-willed, or too assertive. These are tips that I learned the hard way! I think they call it ‘on the job training’.
The important thing is that you understand exactly what is causing your toddler to be bossy, and set up a corrective action plan to address it.
If your toddler is regularly looked after by a family member, daycare, or a babysitter, then it is extremely important that you share your plan to ensure the message is clear from all adults who will be looking after them.
You put your body on the line to carry a child for 9 months, but now it feels like you are being rejected!
It does not have to be that way… In this post, I am going to take a look at why a toddler prefers Dad over Mom, and what you can do to improve it!
Why Does My Toddler Want Nothing To Do With Me?
Are you fun enough?
Toddler love playing, but sometimes life’s chores get in the way, right?
Your toddler doesn’t understand that. I have lost count of the number of times I have explained to my son that:
‘Yes, I have to work, or we can’t afford to pay the bills’ or;
‘I can’t play right now, if I don’t do this laundry then you will have nothing to wear’
Life is easy for a toddler. They do not understand the importance of menial daily chores which have to be done. They only want to play and eat!
Do you shout too much?
A toddler may prefer Dad over Mom because of the way they are treated. It is time to consider whether or not you shout too much.
I totally understand that it is not easy to stop shouting at your toddler, they do their best to poke at you until you bite!
Are you a pushover?
Toddlers also enjoy a challenge. If they see you as a pushover, they may not need to communicate with you too much.
Only times when they want something and they know that Mom will give it to them.
Do you teach them?
Your toddler’s brain is at the development stage where it is optimal for learning. Not only should you be taking advantage to improve their development, but you should also be feeding their hunger to learn.
If your toddler views Dad as a source of all knowledge, they will go to him a lot more, simply to feed their thirst for knowledge.
Do you pay your toddler enough attention?
There are 2 ways a toddler will react to a parent who does not give them the required attention.
Withdraw and seek attention elsewhere, usually in the form of another parent. In this case, Dad.
Do you listen to them?
A few days ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop with a Flat White. Sometimes, I just like to sit and people watch.
As I looked around the room I noticed a few families, most of which look pretty stressful!
One parent had their nose deeply implanted in their smartphone, completely ignoring their child, who was clearly desperate for attention.
Another parent (different family) was doing something much worse. Constantly interrupting their toddler as they were attempting to speak.
How would it make you feel if you were constantly interrupted?
If it were me, I would avoid communicating with that person. If I were a toddler and Mom constantly interrupted me, I would certainly prefer Dad over Mom!
Toddler Prefers Dad Over Mom? Try These 8 Tips
This is number one in the list of things you can do if your toddler prefers Dad over Mom!
Toddlers absolutely, 100%, love to play. All of the time! If you are fun, then they will want to play with YOU. I know it is a challenge because a grown-up brain is much less imaginative than a toddler’s brain, but you must give it a try!
Your toddler will have a tremendous thirst for knowledge and it is your job to quench the thirst. By becoming a teacher, and a font of knowledge to your toddler, they will respond with respect and admiration.
Pay attention to your toddler. If you notice them playing, coloring, drawing on their own, then go over and ask what they are up to.
Be interested in what your toddler is doing, and they will feel much better about life!
Do Not Be A Pushover
It is important that you as a parent do not allow your child to get what they want all of the time.
I know, it is much easier just to shut them up by saying yes all of the time, but it is not doing you any favors in the longer term! You know this, right?
Stand firm when your child is constantly demanding things and they will respect you for it.
Only Shout When It Is Needed
The more you shout at a toddler, the less they will listen.
I know it is difficult. Toddlers push and push until they get a reaction from you!
However, when all you do is shout, it becomes normal behavior and shouting loses its power. Not only will you lose the ability to get a preferred reaction from shouting (i.e. they listen), but your toddler will copy what you do, and will shout back.
If your toddler prefers Dad over Mom, then it is worth considering whether or not Mom allows them to speak.
Reason With Them
When Mom is always saying no and Dad is always saying yes, your toddler will prefer Dad over Mom. It is natural.
There is another option though. What if your toddler prefers Dad because he offers reasons why the answer is no?
It is fine to say no because you have to stand firm to create respect from your toddler. However, if you say no and offer a reason why then your toddler will respect you more. Not only that, but it will also teach your toddler to reason, which is a vital life skill.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, I am not assuming that you are not loving!
Sometimes, when a toddler prefers Dad over Mom, it may lead to Mom withdrawing. Because it hurts, right?
Well, suck it up!
Mom, you have to carry on offering love and affection, even when your love is spurned! It is tough, but the more you withdraw, the wider the rift is between Mom and toddler.
Helping Mom Cope With Toddler Rejection
When your toddler prefers Dad over Mom, it is vital that Dad offers support to improve the situation.
It is in Dads best interests that your toddler has equal respect for both parents. Sure, it is a confidence booster for Dad, but it is far from ideal. Dad, you risk burnout if you are the go-to parent. Support Mom, and share the load!
It is important that you both sit down and discuss how you are going to approach this behavioral change. Consider the tips above.
Whichever route you are going to take to improve this situation, always stand together and work as a team.
Dad, if you see your toddler playing well with Mom, then go and do something else in a different room. You will be a distraction while Mom heals the rift with your toddler.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a Toddler rejecting Mom after new Baby arrives?
A toddler has been used to having Mom all to themselves. Now a new baby has arrived and Mom is busy being a Mom!
This can lead to a toddler feeling like Mom has been taken away, or maybe even rejected. It is going to be difficult, but when you work together with Dad to share the load then it becomes much easier.
Do Toddlers prefer one parent?
Toddlers go through phases in life. One week they will prefer Dad, the next week it will be Mom. This is absolutely nothing to worry about.
It is a concern when a few weeks go by and your toddler has not switched back! Work through the tips on this page to bring them back on track. Parents, you need to support each other throughout this phase. Do not show off, nobody likes a show-off!
Why does my toddler only listen to Dad?
A toddler will only listen to Dad for 3 reasons:
Dad is seen as a font of all knowledge.
Dad is a ‘yes-man’. This needs to change.
Dad has a deep voice. Those with deeper voices are seen to be more powerful and influential.
I suggest that you share the load when teaching your child, and your toddler will respect both parents.
When your toddler prefers Dad over Mom, it can be heartbreaking for Mom, and tiring for Dad. In this post, I have given 8 key tips on how you can improve this particular situation.
It is vital that you support each other during this time. Working together as a team is the only way you are going to get through this.
Talk to each other. Formulate a plan of attack, and don’t give up until you reach the promised land!
You are desperate to get your chores completed, but your toddler will not leave you alone!
I have been there. You end up spending time with your toddler just to shut them up. Chores never get completed, and yet your toddler still demands more of your time!
But, it doesn’t have to be that way! Not at all. In this post, I am going to run through the steps you can take if your toddler demands constant attention.
Hang on, before we start, ask yourself the following question:
Do I pay my toddler enough attention?
If the answer is yes, then we are good to go. If the answer is no then you know what to do!
Why Do Toddlers Need Attention?
Toddlers need constant mental stimulation. Constant stimulation might be in the form of:
Without stimulation, your toddler will get frustrated, and they will show frustration in many different ways.
It is important as a Parent to give your toddler the mental stimulation they need. If you are not taking care of that, then your toddler may respond by constantly demanding your attention.
Child Attention Seeking Symptoms
Let’s take a look at some examples of attention-seeking behavior in toddlers. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are just point blank charming!
This is the biggest child attention-seeking symptom. Crying. Why? Because they know that you will attend to them when they are crying.
Over time, you get to know your toddlers ‘cries’. You know when they are in pain, you know when they are sick, and you know when they are putting it on.
Toddlers want to learn, they are in the best phase of their life for learning! They will question… everything! When it is all of the time, then it can indicate that your toddler is simply seeking attention.
When my toddler doesn’t pay attention to the answer, I know he is doing it to get my attention.
Hugging is great, right? Well yes, but if it happens all of the time, even when you are desperate to get some food ready, or you are trying to get some chores done then it is going to get tiring.
Toddlers can go one step further and want to be picked up constantly!
I am not going to say stop hugging your toddler, that just will not happen, just keep an eye on it and notice any patterns emerging.
Constantly Hurting Themselves
Does your toddler constantly hurt themselves, or are they prone to exaggerating an injury?
Unfortunately, toddlers are not very steady on their feet, which leads to excessive injuries.
However, if you notice that your toddler is injuring themselves on purpose, or exaggerating and injury, it could be a sign that they are pushing for more of your attention.
Get yourself a thermometer, some plasters, and some bandages, because one of the symptoms of attention seeking is to feign illness!
Unfortunately, it makes it difficult to distinguish between reality and fictional illnesses!
Don’t get me wrong, it does make you feel good. It is like having your own positivity soldier!
Overdoing compliments is a sign that your toddler is seeking your attention. They may well have learned that paying you compliments will get your attention.
Toddlers learn fast!
Toddler Demands Constant Attention? Try These Tips
Positive Attention Seeking Chart
Toddlers love behavior/reward charts! If you do not have one, then you need to get involved in this, because it 100% works.
The rules are simple. Be good, and you will be rewarded.
If you are using a ‘star’ reward chart, promise your toddler a trip to the local park, or a new toy when they receive a certain amount of stars.
Be clear about what they are being rewarded for. Set expectations at the start and it will not fail. Remove stars for bad behavior!
Independent Play Ideas
Think of activities which encourage independent play.
It gives me a chance to cover off all of those household jobs my wife has left for me!
Listen To Them
Your Toddler may demand constant attention because they feel you do not listen to them.
Whilst it is true, their constant questions do get on my nerves from time to time, but they are just learning about life. They need to be listened to.
If a toddler is never listened to, it may become learned behavior which will be difficult to break in later life.
Set A Timer When Doing Chores
One little trick that I picked up when my son was demanding my attention was to set a timer when doing chores around your home.
Set expectations, such as; I am going to set a timer for 20 minutes. You let me know when the timer goes off and I will come over and play with you.
A timer also works well for bedtimes too!
Consider Play Dates
If you are drained and you need some help with your attention-seeking toddler, then why not arrange some play dates!
Arrange for a friend to come over with a toddler and unleash them upon each other.
Sure, for most of the playdate you will be refereeing, but at least it frees up some time and gets your toddler learning some vital life skills, such as sharing and conversational skills.
Spend More Time With Them
I know, it sounds counterproductive, but your toddler might just need a little more attention than you are giving them.
Since the invention of smartphones, and our seemingly constant need to check in with friends every 2 seconds, I have noticed something. That is a reduction in QUALITY time spent with Toddlers and children. Just because you are sitting there with your nose glued to your smartphone it doesn’t count as time spent together.
Put your phones down and get involved with what they are doing.
I have done it before, it is easy to be distracted by your smartphone. Whenever I feel that it is distracting me, I’ll leave it in another room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my toddler constantly scream?
Under normal circumstances, screaming will elicit a reaction where you rush over to your child to see what is wrong. Your toddler will learn this!
Another reaction (and one that I am certainly guilty of) is jumping when your child screams. Not only will that get your attention, but they will also find it funny!
Am I paying my toddler enough attention?
If you have noticed signs that you need to pay more attention to your child, then it might be true that you need to.
Consider other tasks you have in life, and try to organize those for when they do not require your attention.
Every Child is totally different in terms of neediness. Only you know your child, and you will know if you need to pay them more attention.
Are there any good ideas for independent play?
Yes, there are some excellent options for independent play, and it is a matter of finding the best ones!
I can guarantee that my Son will play happily on his own with sand and water toys, or lock and key toys. Duplo is another awesome independent play toy. Your toddler may need some help when they first begin building things. Once their imagination takes over, they are away building things on their own.
Why does my Child cry for attention?
Children cry for attention because that is what they are programmed to do. Nobody tells a baby that they need to cry when they are hungry, upset, or scared. They are born with the natural ability to cry.
When a child gets to toddler age, they do not lose that ability. They have learned that crying will get your attention, so that is what they do!
When should I seek help with my ‘attention seeking’ toddler?
The simple answer is; when you feel like you need to seek professional help! Only you will know the situation you are in, and professionals will be able to help guide you through the process.
If your toddler demands constant attention then you can follow the tips on this page to help guide your toddler away from that behavior.
I must admit, I like the idea that my son wants my attention. It means he enjoys spending time with me and wants to do it all of the time. I would miss the feeling if it wasn’t happening.
Whilst a completely independent toddler sounds like a dream, how will it make you feel? Rejected?
There is a fine line between too much attention-seeking and not enough. When you hit the sweet spot, life is very cool!
If there is one thing that rattles my brain more than anything else in this world, it is the sounds of a toddler screaming!
It’s the screams that come out of nowhere that are the worst kind. The screams that make your head hit the ceiling when you leap up like those cat v cucumber videos on YouTube.
Shouting is another sign of a strong-willed 2-year-old. The worst thing about shouting is that it is difficult to get your point across.
Even when you have a valid reason why you are asking them to do something, they aren’t listening… they are too busy shouting to care what you think.
They want something, and they want it now.
Sounds familiar? It should do… because your toddler is pushing boundaries to see what they can get away with.
How To Discipline a Strong-Willed 2 Year Old
Give your 2-year-old time out works.
Not straight away, but it doesn’t work over time.
To set your expectations correctly, you need to be aware that the first few times you try this it will be like herding cats. Here is the process:
Put them in their time out place (naughty step, whatever)
You Walk away
They walk away
You put them back
They run away
You put them back
They shout, scream, argue, then run away
You put them back
The important thing is that you keep at it. Do not give up, or they will lose respect for you.
This works, although more recently it hit the buffers. Let me explain how it worked in the past:
My son would argue, at anything and everything. I threatened to take a toy away and give it to the garbage men. The argument continued.
Now, because I threatened to remove one of his toys, I could not back down. So, I removed one of his toys.
Meltdown. Dad was being a boss, and he didn’t like it one bit.
After he calmed down, I got an apology, a hug, and a promise to be better in the future. Times were good.
More recently, I followed the same process. After he calmed down, he accepted that he had too many toys and didn’t need that one. Power removed. Onwards and upwards.
Less Screen Time
Some people do not give their toddlers screen time. They think it ruins a child’s development. I disagree, to an extent!
Whilst it is true that too much screen time has a negative impact on development, if you control the length of screentime, it can be very beneficial. Especially as you can use apps to help teach your 2-year-old spelling, math, and color recognition.
There is no doubt that kids love watching other kids play on YouTube. The fact that they love doing this means you can use it as a tool to discipline them if needed.
Stand By Decisions
Backing down from threats of discipline is absolutely the wrong message to give to your strong-willed 2-year-old.
Not only does it negatively undermine your self-respect, but it also undermines the respect that your toddler has in you.
When you say it is time for your 2-year-old to brush their teeth, do not stop until the job is done. If you threaten to remove a toy for bad behavior, do it.
Tell them what will happen if they fail to comply.
Do not back down from any punishment you threaten to dish out. Stay strong, stand firm. They will respect you more.
Is my toddler spirited, or strong-willed?
It is a fine line between spirited and strong-willed. A spirited child’s bad behavior will not be as constant as a strong-willed 2-year-old. Spirited behavior will also be spirited in positive moments, whereas being strong-willed leans toward more negative behavior.
There is a difference here, and it is really important that you do not attempt to suppress your toddler’s spirit. You want them to have a bit of spirit, it is important in life! They question things, they improve things.
How do you discipline a 2-year-old who doesn’t listen?
If only there were 2-year-olds who do listen, then we could compare! I jest of course.
When toddlers do not listen it makes it more difficult to deal with. By following the tips on this page, you will not go far wrong.
When should I seek help with my strong-willed Toddler?
There are times when you might consider requesting the help of a Child Behavioral Therapist. To be honest, it is extremely unlikely to get to that stage. When you follow a disciplined process for long enough, your 2-year-old with either grow out of the phase, or they will fall into line.
Your situation might be different. If you get to the point where you are asking when you should seek help, then it might be time to seek help.
If you are struggling with a strong-willed 2-year-old then I really feel for your sanity. Follow the tips on this page and stay strong. You will get to the promised land… eventually!
It is worth remembering that many of the symptoms of a strong-willed 2-year-old are learned behavior! Is it time that you checked your own behavior? If you are also showing signs that you are strong-willed, then maybe you need to take that on board and live with it or lead by example!
Anyway, you have spent too long reading this post, get back and deal with your pint-sized dictator!
Well yes, they are… but when your toddler spurns everyone else except Mom, then you have a problem.
There is no doubt that there is a special bond between mother and baby. When you spend the first 9 months of existence inside a person, you grow kind of attached to them… literally. Until the cord is cut!
Then, once you are born, Mom is there to feed you and comfort you. Your Mom is usually the first person you cuddle too. You know Mom has the food, right? Your bond is naturally close, even if you choose to bottle feed, you know it is there.
If you get a lot of attention from only Mom as a baby, then that bond just keeps growing and growing. This is how it should be.
However, if Dad or other carers take it in turns to care for the baby then that bond will grow stronger with all of those folks too.
If you are there when they are scared, with them when they get hurt and help them when they are sick, your toddler will learn that Mom is the source of everything they need. This may lead to them seemingly turning their back on everyone else.
I want to be clear, it is not a bad thing that Mom has done all of this because it is part of being a good parent. Some toddlers know that other people can look after them too, and some kids only think that Mom can. I believe this is where the problem is.
Get a reward chart, and discuss what it is with your toddler. When they are well behaved during times when Mom is not around, make sure you put a start on the chart. Make a big deal about it too!
Do Not Withdraw
One thing you must not do is withdraw from your toddler! That includes any forms of punishment if they are being too clingy to Mom.
Withdrawing can lead to escalating behavior, where they fear losing Mom. In simply means they will want to spend MORE time with Mom, which may lead to the ‘obsession’ category.
You really don’t want that.
Encourage Family Time
By encouraging family time, you are letting your toddler know that you are all involved in their upbringing.
If Dad is ‘on form’, then your toddler will begin to see Dad as a source of entertainment too!
Take Time Off
Don’t let this ruin your plans. If you need to get up and leave to go somewhere else, then go and do it.
If you are all in the same room (Mom, Dad, toddler) then get up and leave Dad to it. You will be around if needed, but make sure Dad and toddler spend some time together too.
Discuss Fears and Anxiety
I know this sounds like a trainwreck, but it is a good idea to (try and) have a discussion with your toddler about things that might be upsetting them.
It could be a number of things… dreams, darkness, loud noises. Whatever it is, discuss it with them as a family. Dad and Mom need to be involved!
Talk Before You Leave
Before you get up and leave your toddler with Dad or another carer, explain what is happening. I would approach it like this:
Hey, Mommy is just going out. I will be x minutes. While I am gone, Daddy is here to look after you. He knows what to do, and if you are scared or nervous, go and ask him to play with you for a while. He will love playing with your toys!
Talk When You Return
When you return from where you have been, the first thing you should do is speak to your toddler to see how they have got on, and what they have been doing.
This is the time to praise any good behavior. Ensure that Dad is present for the conversation too, so you can praise together. Don’t forget to add a star on the reward chard for good behavior!
If their behavior wasn’t good – it is time to discuss that too.
Hand Things Over To Dad
If your toddler is overly attached to Mother, it could be because Mom looks after them when they are sick, or anxious.
Have a frank discussion with Dad to let him know that it is his turn when your toddler is ill. You know Toddlers, the next sickness bug is always just around the corner, right?
The next time your toddler is scared, at night, for instance, then Dad needs to go and placate your Toddler.
Both of these things will begin to build the understanding that Dad is also there to look after and protect your toddler.
What Is Excessive Attachment Of a Mother?
Toddler Cries For Everyone Else
You may find it impossible to leave your Toddler with anyone else. As soon as you walk out of the door, you know your toddler will be crying for Mom!
Toddler Will Not Leave Mom Alone
When your toddler is at home with Mom, poor old Mom may not get any time to herself. She may have to constantly deal with a clingy toddler.
Toddler Doesn’t Use The Potty When Mom Isn’t There
If you are potty training your toddler, you may find that they will regress when Mom is not around.
Toddler Asks For Mommy Constantly
When Mommy isn’t there, does your toddler constantly ask where Mommy is?
It is possible that your toddler may become cranky and clingy unless they are in eyeshot of Mommy. Then you have a needy Toddler on your hands!
Toddler Needs Constant Attention When Mommy Isn’t There
I touched upon this briefly at the beginning of this post, but here is a rundown of why a toddler may have attachment issues:
They are worried that only Mommy can help if they are ill
Your toddler thinks that only one parent can save them from being scared
They may think that only one parent can feed and water them
They are not used to being in the company of other people
They feel protected around one Parent only
It is important to get to know the reasons why your toddler is overly attached to Mother. Only then can you fix it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Child love one parent more?
Although it may seem this way, it is unlikely that a child loves one parent more than the other. Usually, when a child exhibits more feelings towards one parent, it is because they are going through a phase!
If there is a genuine feeling that one parent is more loved, then both parents need to work together to resolve the issue before it gets too bad.
Can a Toddler be too attached?
Yes – when the attachment is that bad that it begins to affect the family dynamics then they are too attached.
Families are a unit, and they must work together to share the load. If Dad feels left out then it could be disastrous. The same if Mom feels left out!
When a child is overly attached to one parent it causes strain on a family. If your toddler is overly attached to Mother, then everyone in the family suffers. You can use the tips on this page to resolve the issue.
Think about it. If a child only wants Mom, then Dad is left out and siblings fight for attention. If a Child only wants Dad, then Mom feels left out and the siblings still have to fight for attention!
When implementing the tips on this page, you are going to get some kickback from your toddler, this is expected behavior. Your job is to clearly define what is going to happen and stick with it.
As if having a new baby is not tough enough, your toddler is now wading in!
Bringing a new baby into this world is going to add extra stress to your family, and that includes your Toddler. Toddler tantrums can break you, and they may escalate when an older child is jealous of a younger sibling.
But, how do you know if your toddler is coping ok with the new arrival? How do you know they are cool with it?
In this post, I am going to take a look at the common signs that your toddler is jealous of the new baby, so you can work your parenting magic to make it all better again!
Oh, and saying ‘You were this young once and we had to do all of this for you too’ straight up doesn’t work. This is a toddler you are dealing with, remember that!
9 Signs That Your Toddler Is Jealous Of New Baby
Common signs that your toddler is jealous of your new Baby.
Yeh, I know. MORE shouting. Is that even possible?
One key sign that your toddler is jealous of a new baby is shouting. Your toddler may feel as if you are being taken away from them. In an attempt to get more attention from you, they shout more.
Earplugs are frowned upon by the way, especially when looking after kids!
As if more shouting wasn’t bad enough. Here come more screams!
For the same reason as above, your toddler may scream more than usual to get your attention.
I hate screaming, especially those ‘off the cuff’ screams that you are not expecting!
Constant Need Of Attention
Mom, watch this. Dad, come here and play. Parents, put that baby back where it came from and pay me more attention!
Sounds familiar? That’s because you have a toddler. It could get worse, especially if your toddler is jealous of your new baby!
For me, this is one of the 2 most difficult signs that your toddler is jealous of a new sibling. Just because I feel sorry for them.
Damn kids, pulling on your heartstrings like that!
Your toddler may withdraw from you as punishment for spending time with a new baby.
Toddler Hitting New Baby
This is the worst sign that your toddler is jealous of a new baby. You toddler may lash out at your newborn.
You need to pay close attention to this. If you think the green-eyed monster is making an appearance, do not leave them in a room together until you are confident that they will play nicely.
Fake Illness – Lots Of Them!
Here is another challenge. How do you know your toddler is sick when they tell you every day about a new ailment?
Bringing up kids is tough, why do we do it again?
If your toddler has suddenly become a hypochondriac then it could be the result of a fit of jealousy. Again, this is another attempt to drag your attention away from the screaming baby.
Hating On Parents
If your toddler suddenly hates you, it isn’t a good thing. It might seem it at the time, especially if they leave you alone, but it needs to be sorted quickly before it gets out of hand.
Your toddler might hate both parents, or they might begin to distance themselves from Mom, or Dad.
This doesn’t usually last long, especially when you wheel our their favorite dish!
As an attempt to grab the limelight away from their younger sibling, your toddler may go on hunger strike. Test their metal with a packet of their favorite candy. Dangle the candy in front of them. Tell your toddler they can have some candy after they finish their meal!
Unusual Sleeping Patterns
Your toddler might develop unusual sleeping patterns, including:
The best thing you can do to help older siblings cope with their new sibling is to get them involved.
Toddlers love ‘helping’, despite the fact that it is more of a hindrance (sshh, don’t tell them!)
Need to change the baby? Get your toddler to grab a diaper, the wipes, and dispose of the old diaper (kidding).
Improving Toddler Behavior After New Baby Arrives
You only need to do one thing, set up a rewards chart! Kids love a rewards chart, and they love it when you praise them for good behavior.
Stick the rewards chart on the wall and lay down the ground rules. 1 star for good behavior, 1 star removed for bad behavior. At the end of the week, if you are x amount of stars, you get a treat!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do when your child is jealous of a newborn?
Always observe the time that your toddler and newborn spend together. Use your toddler to do some of the menial tasks such as get the diaper ready, feed the baby, pass me some baby clothes. Your toddler will feel like they are involved, and that is a very powerful thing!
How do I tell my toddler about a new baby?
Build it up! Does your toddler have any friends with younger siblings? Use that as an example. ‘You know your friend Jack, he has a baby sister, doesn’t he? He loves his baby sister! You are going to have a baby brother or sister too!’
If your toddler does not have any friends with younger siblings, then you could break the news with a gift to welcome the news!
Can a new baby affect a child’s development?
Not unless the parents drop the ball, no. As a parent, it is your job to ensure that you are able to bring another baby into this world without it having a detrimental effect on your toddler’s development.
As long as you continue with their learning path, they will be absolutely fine.
On this page, I have identified 9 signs that your toddler is jealous of a new baby. Now it is down to you to fix that!
As I mentioned on this page, the best thing that you can do to stop the jealousy is to get your toddler involved.
For a start, toddlers love to get involved. It also means that your toddler is receiving your attention still, AND it means that you don’t have to get out of your seat to get the diapers!
Try not to turn them into a slave though, the plan may backfire!
On Davids first day at Daycare, he bit another child’s butt.
Imagine the shame, the horror. The shame, the HORROR! My toddler, BITING another child!
This sentence was uttered to me by a friend of mine, the name has been changed to protect the innocent… or maybe not so innocent, you decide!
After a long conversation about how they dealt with this biting incident, I was intrigued. Although this is not something I have had to deal with, I wanted to know what steps they took to stop their toddler from biting.
So I asked them… and this is post is built from their response, so enjoy!
Is it normal for a toddler to bite?
On Davids first day at Daycare, he bit another child’s butt. The teacher swore that he aimed to bite off the child’s balls.
Chaos ensued, and a long meeting in which we were informed of David’s indefinite suspension from Daycare. “Nothing this bizarre has ever happened in the history of this school. Yes, children have bitten other children, but not so recklessly and so severely,” complained the Daycare staff member. “Please consult a child psychologist, buy anti-biting products, or whatever is necessary to transform him into a civilized member of society.”
According to child psychologists, biting is a part of the toddler’s development.
Children grow out of this phase at age three or four.
Sometimes, biting is a toddlers strategy of coping with the travails of teething. Other times, toddlers weaponize their teeth in self-defense or as a show of strength and curiosity.
Anyway, my spouse and I were desperate to dissuade little David from sinking his little teeth into every skin he came in contact with. After a great deal of research, we uncovered countless strategies that were effective in curbing our toddler’s horrible habit.
Steps You Can Take To Stop Your Toddler From Biting
Rather than resign David to his fate, we started implementing the following steps to dissuade David from biting.
Step 1: Improve your child’s communication skills
According to one child psychologist, David lacked the words to express his frustrations. Biting was the only way he knew to say, “You just hurt my feelings” or “That’s mine; give it back!”
When David learned to communicate his frustrations in simple sentences, he didn’t see the need to sink his teeth into anyone’s body. Things improved further when he learned other non-verbal communication strategies.
We provided stuffed toys and pillows he could embrace and clout, during moments where words proved inadequate. And because prolonged activities made him feel frustrated, we introduced sufficient breaks in-between activities.
Step 2: Use appropriate tools and products
David developed a taste for biting when he started teething. Back then, he soothed his itching gums with his fingers or someone else’s skin. Once the teething phase was over, he began biting to get attention, exact revenge or vent his frustration.
David wouldn’t have morphed into a Daycare vampire if we had used the appropriate products and gear.
For instance, a cool teething ring was effective in soothing his baby sister’s gums when she started developing a taste for biting. A clean washcloth (or napkin) is another effective tool as it stopped David’s sister’s biting habit.
Placing a wet washcloth in the baby’s mouth reduces the sensitivity of the gums.
Step 3: Instruct your toddler in clearer and positive, action words.
While some parents use negative words like don’t and can’t, I have found that active verbs like ‘do’, ‘speak’ and ‘go’ are more effective.
With David, we instructed him on the right actions to take, rather than emphasizing what he wasn’t permitted to do. ‘Don’t bite’ or ‘stop biting’ was communicated in clearer and direct words like ‘what’s on your mind? Speak up’ or ‘go and hug your stuffed teddy’.
Various studiesshow that negations confuse the brain and make it more difficult for humans to follow instructions. The brain responds more to affirmative statements and active verbs.
So when you say ‘stop biting’ or ‘no biting’. The brain takes the ‘biting’ and jettisons the preceding words. Use the right words when teaching your children to stop biting.
Step 4: Resist the temptation to retaliate
If I got a dollar for every time someone asked me to retaliate, I would be a millionaire. But I must confess that there were times when I wanted to grab David’s little arm and sink my teeth in. But as an educational psychologist, I understand that retaliation is only counterproductive. Children might not obey every instruction that leaves your mouth, but they will surely imitate your actions. Again, a recent research study has shown that corporal punishment can cause behavioral problems in children.
As the biting episodes became more infrequent, we introduced another deterrent. We called it the ‘Lemon rule’.
For every bite he delivered on the skin, he received a thoroughly washed, unpeeled lemon to sink his teeth into. And since he didn’t like the bitter taste of the lemon peel, he completely lost his taste for biting.
These steps were very effective for us. Some of these strategies might not appeal to you. Please don’t feel compelled to adopt them. I have listed them here because they worked for my toddler David, the chronic biter.
Should I Worry If My Toddler Exhibits Other Aggressive Behavior?
It is important to note that toddlers often resist change. At the onset of every new phase, your toddler might exhibit another aggressive behavior.
Rather than worry, it is advisable to take steps to dissuade your toddler from reacting violently.
Here are a few things you can do when your child starts exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Create a safe and positive environment for your child to thrive in.
Be gentle and patient with your toddler. When you exhibit aggression and impatience, they pick up the vibes and retaliate.
Spend quality time with your toddler. Spending quality time with David taught me a lot about his needs. When I satiated his basic needs, he rarely had the urge to show any form of aggression.
Boredom elicits mischievous behavior in children. Be creative. Sing, dance, draw, color and fly a kite.
Recommended Gear To Help Stop Your Toddler From Biting
My success story will not be complete without the gear I used to help stop my toddler’s biting habit.
In the beginning, I was reluctant to purchase or even use them. I wasn’t sure they would work. And because we were swimming in debt, my spouse and I couldn’t afford to waste money on a gear that wouldn’t stop my toddler from biting.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. We didn’t want our toddler to get kicked out from his next Daycare, so we agreed to invest in some quality gear that could help David quit his bad habit. The following recommended items were the most effective in solving our problems:
Find out why he or she has developed a taste for biting. Cool teething rings and wet washcloths reduce biting episodes in teething children, Instruct the daycare administrator to use them on the toddler when he or she becomes irritable.
When your child comes home from Daycare, converse. Ask questions like ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What did you say when your classmate took the object you wanted?’ Engaging toddlers in conversations helps them develop stronger communication skills.
Toddlers are less likely to bite when they possess excellent communication skills.
Why does my Toddler bite when they are excited?
Biting is a phase in every child’s development. Toddlers bite often because they are unable to express their excitement and frustration in words.
According to another theory, toddlers bite because they are curious to know what reaction their actions will evoke. They are just exploring their environments.
Why does my Toddler bite Mom only?
Mom seems to be the sole recipient of all bite attacks probably because Mom is the most familiar and most loved one within the vicinity.
Another reason might be that the toddler craves Mom’s attention most of the time.
Why does my Toddler bite Dad only?
This is likely because the toddler loves Dad too much and is excited to get his attention. Another reason might be that toddler spends most of his time with Dad, and biting Dad is toddlers way of pushing the boundaries, exploring the environment and warding off boredom.
Could my Toddler have a medical issue?
According to experts, biting is just a phase in the child’s life. It is very unlikely that your toddlers biting habit are a symptom of a medical problem.
If you are worried, it is best to get your toddler checked out!
Biting is one bad habit that pops up during the first few years of early childhood. As children get older (often around their third and fourth year of life), they generally stop chomping on other people’s skins. But because children mature at different rates, some may take longer to stop biting.
Be patient with your toddler, buy some of the recommended gear on our list and take steps to help your toddler improve.
However, you shouldn’t hesitate to consult a pediatrician or behavioral psychologist, if your child seems to be biting and exhibiting more aggressive behaviors.
Your child is afraid of getting water on their face.
We are all the same. We breathe through our nose and mouth. When water covers one or both of these, it can lead to a brief moment of panic.
This may be the reason why your toddler is afraid of getting water on their face.
You can address this with a shampoo shield for toddlers. These magnificent inventions will stop water from getting into your toddler’s eyes, and will ensure some degree of calmness when it comes to bath time!
Toddler Hates Baths? Use These To Make Your Toddler Loves Baths Again!
When it comes to bath time, you need to make it as fun as possible, whilst taking away the pain points too.
This list will cover you from all angles!
This is at the very top of the list for one good reason! It worked for my toddler, and continues to do so!
Bath bombs are cheap, easy, and tremendous fun for your toddler.
My son has lots of fun trying to find the bath bomb as it dissolves. As the water changes color and the bath bomb dissolves, the challenge grows to find what remains!
Most Toddlers love art, but all toddlers love to make a mess, right?
From a parents point of view, the best thing about bath crayons is they are easily washed away, AND the bath is close to a water supply. In terms of cleaning up, it doesn’t get much easier than that!
To add in an element of fun and learning to your toddler’s bath time routine, you should definitely consider some bath crayons!
I use any opportunity to teach my son something new, and why stop learning just because it is time for a bath?
Are you in the process of moving home? Have you recently got a new pet? Have they started daycare? Do they have a new sitter looking after them?
A toddler’s life is full of change and as a parent, it is your job to help them through. They are growing up quick at this age, and there are changes around every corner.
Potty training is one of the biggest changes a toddler must face. A huge change to their usual routine may cause them to become clingy, and now they have to remember to go to the potty instead of just doing it!
Openly discuss any big changes with your Toddler. It will add more comfort to their lives and will teach them the benefits and comfort of change.
Pregnant Mom or New Baby
This is a HUGE reason why your Toddler may be clingy!
For a start, they are now old enough to understand what is going to happen.
By now, your toddler will have a number of friends, and some of those might have younger siblings (crazy parents!). If Mom is pregnant, your toddler will know what is about to happen. They will see it as competition for your affection.
Not only will your toddler be battling for your affection by being clingy, but may also begin acting up. This is very common when new babies arrive too, so best get used to it!
You can fix this by reassuring your toddler that they are still loved. Spend more time playing with them and ensure they get enough of your time doing fun things.
Sometimes, simply reassuring a toddler who is clingy to pregnant Mom is all that is needed!
Not Well – Sick
Kids become fussy when they are sick, period.
I always know when my Son is coming down with an illness at least a day before other symptoms are displayed!
Each and every time, it begins with him being clingy. He is not interested in playing, he just wants to sit down with me or Mom. He is quiet and becomes a little whiny when we try to leave the room. Classic symptoms!
If you think your toddler is coming down with an illness it is time to begin preparations! Ensure you have the following classic sickness tools at your disposal:
When you introduce your toddler to dangers in life, they will begin to shift from a carefree toddler to one that now understands that there are dangers to be aware of. That shift will raise a level of anxiety in your toddler and may lead to them being a bit more clingy.
Consider a toddler that has just learned about a certain danger, and then add in the fact that their imagination is extremely high. It is a perfect storm of anxiety, right?
Reassure your toddler that they are safe as long as they listen to your advice.
When I think about the possibility of my son being bullied, my blood begins to boil! It is not just a Dad thing, it is a parent thing.
I remember when my Son first come home from one of his first days at School. He had a form from his Teacher to explain that he had been scratched by someone in his class.
My first emotion was anger!
I wanted to find the kid who scratched him and hold him down while my son taught him a lesson!
Obviously, I didn’t. But it gets to us protective parents, right?
If your toddler is being bullied, it is important for you as a parent to get that information out of them. Unfortunately, as their imagination levels are high, you have to extract the facts from the fiction!
If your toddler is clingy at home, or cranky after daycare then it could be a case of bullying. Time to check with the daycare staff. Ask them to keep an extra eye on your toddler to see if anything untoward is happening.
Phase – My Theory
Separation anxiety, attachment issues, your toddler may just be going through this as a phase.
I have a theory that will explain it better:
When you are a baby, you are totally useless, right? You have to rely on your parents for everything, food, clothes, changing your diaper, taking you places. You do not have many decisions to make. Parents will make all decisions and you have to live with them.
When you get to the toddler stages, you are more independent. You begin to make your own decisions.
You can pick the toys you want to play with, you can go into any room you want to. When you get to this stage, you are more independent. Your parents respond by cutting you some slack and will let you make some decisions for yourself.
How does that make a toddler feel?
When your toddler gets to this stage, they may begin to exhibit some separation anxiety symptoms (including being clingy, fear of sleeping alone, etc), because the bond between you both feels like it is loosening. Of course, it is not loosening. You and I know that, but a toddler may not.
This feeling can easily be resolved by spending more time with them during their independence.
If your toddler has disappeared into their room to play, give them 5 minutes alone and go join them. That way, your toddler will realize that their independence does not mean separation from parents.
Figuring out the reason (or reasons) why your toddler is clingy can be a huge challenge. The important thing is that you consider everything going on in their life.
As you go through the process, crossing out each reason as you go, then you will eventually get to the reason why.
When your toddler is being clingy, it can cause some parents to push further away, which only makes it worse. It is vital that you spend time with your toddler. Discussing their issues (I know it will be tough) really is the biggest weapon in your arsenal.
Together, we can sort out this toddler clinginess!
No, didn’t think so. Each time my son has night terrors, I want to leap into his mind and beat the hell out of whatever is scaring him.
BUT…there are some things you need to know that will reassure you, and give you an idea on how to deal with night terrors in toddlers.
What is a night terror?
A night terror (sleep terror) is an episode of intense fear, where your toddler is asleep and is absolutely petrified in otherwise relaxing surroundings. They may display symptoms of being awake but they are not. It is a sleep disorder.
Your toddler may be going through a tough time in life. When kids start School or Pre-School it is a huge life-change for them. If your toddler is suffering from regular night terrors, it is worth speaking with the staff to ensure they keep an eye out for any bullying activity.
Problems at home
Consider your toddler’s home life. Do they have any issues here? Do they have siblings, and are they bullying your toddler? Keep a watch over playtimes and interactions to see if you can identify anything that should not be happening.
Being overtired can force your brain to behave in strange ways! A toddler’s brain is not different. You already know how much tiredness affects a toddler, they begin to act up when it is close to bedtime, right?
I know it is not what you wanted to read! It has to be added in as a potential cause though.
If your toddler has repeated night terrors and you are concerned, then you should seek guidance from a medical professional. This post is based on my own situation and the research I have completed to get to the route of my sons night terrors. It should not be taken as medical advice!
Night terror v nightmare
A nightmare is a bad dream that can be scary and cause anxiety in a dream.
Symptoms may manifest themselves with twitching, heavy breathing, increased heart rate, and fearful noises (whining, crying, etc).
A night terror is completely different, and manifest themselves with much more physical activity, such as screaming, lashing out.
With a night terror, your child will look and act much more lucid and is likely to have their eyes open.
When you know the differences, it is easy to understand whether your toddler is having night terrors or a nightmare.
What to do during your toddlers night terrors
Keep your Toddler safe
During a night terror, your toddler may lash out, walk, or jump out of bed. Wherever he is having the night terror, check the surroundings to ensure there is nothing around him that he can hurt himself on.
If your toddler has regular episodes where they sleepwalk too, then toddler-proof your home. You do not want your Toddler to fall down a stairway!
Personally, I cannot bear to leave him alone or watch him in so much distress. My Super Dad powers kick in and I reach to pick him up and cuddle him.
Even when Mom is holding him I have an overwhelming urge to hold him and offer words of reassurance.
You need to remain calm. I know, it is not easy at all!
Seeing your child go through something that is clearly terrorizing them is going to get your heart pumping.
You feel terrible that they are going through it, and you feel powerless to do anything to help them. All you can see is your toddler going through an absolutely horrifying experience, and your first job is simple. Remain a calming influence.
Nobody knows if your toddler can hear you, or even know that you are there, but if they can, and they pick up your stress it will just make their night terror worse.
Remaining calm is vital, even if they begin shaking or shouting at you. In their terror state, they may see you as a threat.
Calming a Toddler during a night terror
I always do what I can to calm my son during one of his night terrors! It might work, and it might not work. It does make me feel better, and because it calms me, I hope that it calms my son too.
During his night terror, I cycle through some phrases such as:
Daddy is hugging you
You are safe
You are dreaming
Everything you are seeing is not real
You are safe
Mom is here too
No one can hurt you
You are at home
I like to think that he can hear what I am saying to him as I whisper these phrases in his ear. I hope that it is affecting his dream and he begins to calm down and reduce the anxiety he is feeling.
Should you wake your child during a night terror?
No. I know it is difficult, believe me I know! When my son had his first-night terror I was desperate to wake him up. You must let your toddler ride it out until it is finished. A night terror does not last as long as it feels!
As it is difficult to know what is going through their minds you have to assume certain things. I assume there are objects in the room that scare him. Shadows, hanging clothes, amongst other things. I switch the lights on to clear away some of the shadows.
It may also help to bring him out of his sleep too.
How to prepare for a Toddler night terror
When your toddler has regular night terrors, it is vital that you prepare for times when it happens.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
When you are putting your toddler to sleep, always follow a relaxing bedtime routine to ensure they go to sleep in the best possible mood.
Reduce the chances of any disagreements. If you do have an argument (common when putting a Toddler to sleep!) then take some time to relax them before they go to sleep.
A relaxing bedtime routine is important if you want to get your toddler to sleep, and it is extremely important if you want to reduce the chances of your toddler having a night terror.
What you should do after your toddlers night terror
Keep a record
Here is a list of questions to complete each time your Toddler has a night terror:
Food and drink consumed in the 2 hours before bed.
Did your toddler watch anything before bed?
Which story did you read your toddler before bed?
What time did they go to sleep?
Did they go to sleep happy, sad, angry, or others?
What time did the night terror begin?
How long did it last?
What, if anything, did you do to calm your toddler?
Details of the night terror – what were the symptoms?
Keeping these details of your toddlers night terror will help you to identify any commonalities. For instance, if you notice they have a night terror every time they eat a specific food within 2 hours of bedtime then you can make some changes.
One of my Sons night terrors – my notes
Here are the details of my sons last night terror:
Food and drink consumed in the 2 hours before bed.
Candy – my bad!
Milk – As per normal
Did your toddler watch anything before bed?
Which story did you read your toddler before bed?
No story that night
What time did they go to sleep?
Did they go to sleep happy, sad, angry, or others?
What time did the night terror begin?
How long did it last?
What, if anything, did you do to calm your toddler?
Explained that Dad and Mom are here, you are dreaming. Nothing can hurt you. Repeated phrases.
Details of the night terror – what were the symptoms?
Woke up making noise, I went to his room to see if he is ok. He was asleep still, but scared. So I picked him up and he hugged me. I began the calming phrases (see above). I took him out of his bedroom into the landing, and I switched the lights on. He began screaming with fear, tensing his body. His eyes were open. He was observing his surroundings, in sheer panic. He lashed out at thin air. I took him to the living room and I switched the light on. This carried on for 5 minutes.
Let them sleep
The first thing I notice at the end of my sons night terrors is he can look me in the eye without being petrified. I know it is finished and I can stop worrying!
After a 2 or 3 minute cuddle, he is either straight back to sleep or he is wide awake, laughing at me trying to make him happy again.
Ultimately, if your toddler falls straight asleep after their night terror, then simply let them sleep. You can relax knowing that it is extremely rare to happen twice in one night!
Get some sleep…
Ask if they remember anything in the morning
Do not force the questions. Simply ask once and if they do not remember, stop asking.
If they do remember the night terror, give them a bit of advice.
Remind your toddler that they were dreaming and they were never in danger. In real life, they were in safe, secure, and no one could hurt them.
When your toddler is having a night terror it can be extremely distressing. I know, I have been there a few times!
You can follow the tips on this page to reduce the chances of your toddler having a night terror. It will also give you some tips on how to deal with them during, and after they happen.
Consider any reasons that could be triggering your toddlers night terrors. The more you note after each episode, the more chance you will have of identifying a commonality for each time they happen.
If you have read this post then you will see the section that clearly shows that I gave my son some sweets to close to bedtime. I am now convinced that the sugar high, or another ingredient in those sweets triggered a night terror.
The important thing is that you remain calm and keep them safe!
When your 2-year-old gets to the stage where they have stopped napping, there is not much that you can do about it.
This stage in their life also comes with a warning! When your 2-year-old stops taking their afternoon nap, you are just about to learn about the ‘Golden Hour’.
The Golden Hour
It is bad news I am afraid! The golden hour arrives 1 hour before your 2-year-olds usual bedtime. It is hell on earth.
You know when it is ‘golden hour’ because:
Your child is angry. More angry than usual.
Clumsiness increases tenfold.
There is always an argument.
You find yourself searching for ways to make your kid sleep in the afternoon again!
2 year old not napping anymore? It may be good news!
Progression is key! As much as you might want to sleep, it would be a waste of a life if we spent most of it sleeping, right?
Your 2-year-old is growing up, and part of that involves less sleep. Less sleep means they get to learn and develop quicker.
The main benefit that I felt when my son stopped napping in the afternoon was that his nighttime sleep improved dramatically! That was great news for one tired Dad!
Kids need less sleep as they progress through life. If they are sleeping more during the day, it means there is a potential that they need less sleep during the night. Bad news!
Look upon this moment in your life as a positive one, because it *could* mean better sleep at night for you too.
Reasons why your 2-year-old does not want to nap anymore
I have covered the main reason here already. Your kid might not need a nap anymore because they simply do not need as much sleep. However, there may be other reasons!
Have any life-changing events happened?
It is common for a sibling to make an appearance around this time in a child’s life. Having a new baby in the house can disrupt your child’s usual routine, and that is likely to cause some retaliation!
Has their bed been upgraded recently, have you moved home, changed baby sitter? A change in circumstances may also disrupt the nap routine.
They do not want to miss anything
My Son once told me:
I don’t like sleeping, it is boring!
Although it is very true, sleeping is something that we all need, including ever energized 2-year-olds.
Kids love life, let’s not forget that each day, a 2-year-old will see something they have never seen before, and it is exciting. Going to sleep means they might miss out of something very important, and they begin to fight back! What they do not realize is that all they will miss is you sitting on the sofa watching television!
They are tired
As your 2-year-old grows, they will need less sleep. It could be that they are simply not tired enough to take a nap.
Why a 2-year-old might still need to nap
A 2-year-old will need to nap for 2 main reasons:
Growing fast is tiring
The growth rate of a 2-year-old is huge! Your little (or maybe not so little now) one will be growing around 2-3 inches per year. That is a lot of growth, right?
It takes a lot of energy and vast amounts of food to sustain this growth rate.
They cannot keep still
When my son was 2, he rarely stopped moving, even when he slept! Kids burn so much energy when they are in their 3rd year, mainly through growing, but also through play!
I’m desperate, how can I get my 2-year-old to nap again?
I went through this exact same situation. Feeling like I had some of my afternoon taken away, I desperately wanted that time back again. All I wanted was 1 hour where I wasn’t trying to stop my son from falling over, or trying to stop him climbing up to the knife drawer. I needed some mid-afternoon Dad time…
Spend some time relaxing your 2-year-old
2-year-olds are very energetic, they simply do not stop! It is a difficult task to expect your Kid to stop playing and sleep at the drop of a hat. You need to build-up to the point where they are going to be laying down in bed.
That can be spread over the entire day with the vast majority of sleep taking place at night (or so you hope!)
Is sleep regression normal for a 2-year-old?
You should expect a little regression whilst your 2-year-old goes through the process of stopping their daytime nap.
Ultimately, they are growing out of napping during the day, but they still might need one occasionally. It depends how much you have worn them out in the morning!
When do kids stop napping?
The bad news is that it depends on your child. The good news is that most kids will drop their morning nap at around the 12 months period. Afternoon naps are a different story! These can continue until 4-5 years old. My son stopped his afternoon nap when he was 3 years old.
So there you have it, a full rundown of why your 2-year-old has stopped napping and what (if anything) you can do about it.
You should always remember that as a child grows they will need less sleep. That is true until they hit the teenage years, and then all of a sudden they will need 25 hours of sleep every day! I can’t wait for that…
Ultimately, you should not force your child to sleep if they are not tired.
Forcing your child to sleep will only end up with a loss for the parents. Not only will you spend a couple of hours every day arguing with them, but if you do manage to get them to sleep, they will get you back during the night, or even in the early morning!
Most toddlers will go through this phase, so it is nothing that you need to be concerned about. How you deal with is the most important thing, because if it is not deal with swiftly, it will escalate throughout their development. If you want to stop your toddler hitting others, then now is the time to start.
You cannot wait until it actually hurts before you do anything about it!
Why Toddlers Hit Others
Let me begin with the reasons why a toddler might hit others.
This is the biggest reason your toddler is hitting others, especially if there is no reason to (i.e. they are angry).
Toddlers are learning about life, and most importantly they are learning about emotions. When playing games, toddlers can get very excited, and they may not know how to show their excitement. A sudden build-up of energy needs to be released somehow.
Sometimes that energy is released with a swift blow. If my toddler hits me, it is usually straight in the nether region!
Your toddler might be angry and is using that as a reason to hit. This is especially true if he is learning to hit from elsewhere.
When you are tired, you are not thinking straight. Toddlers get tired a lot! I think it must be all the running around, eh!
When your toddler is tired, they may decide to hit out for no reason.
Full Of Energy
The exact opposite to tired, your toddler might be FULL of energy…as toddlers always seem to be. When they are full of energy, a toddler will need other ways to disperse it. Hitting might be their way of releasing some pent of energy.
7 Tips To Stop Your Toddler Hitting Others For No Reason
Talk To Them
Do not be fooled by your child, they will listen and they will give you answers as to why they might be hitting for no reason.
When your toddler hits out, the first thing to do is stop what you are both doing and ask them why they did it. You may or you may not get an answer, but as long as they understand that you will be asking them the question every time they hit, they will realize that what they are doing is wrong.
You may get lucky, and they may respond with the actual reason. Either way, it must be the first thing you do each time they lash out and hit for no reason.
If your toddler reacts badly to the question above, it is very important that you remove attention. Your toddler HAS to learn that hitting is NOT a way to get your attention. In fact, hitting will result in the opposite!
When my son was a toddler, he went through a phase of hitting for no reason. I asked him why he did it, and if the answer was not good enough, or resulted in a bad reaction, I stood up and walked away from him.
Toddlers want your attention, and they will try a multitude of things in an attempt to get it. If they hit you, or others for no reason, and you respond with attention, they learn that they can get your attention by hitting. That is not the message you want to give!
As an opposite to this, it is important to also reward your toddler with more attention when they get things right. It is very powerful!
Take Them Away From The Situation
If removing your attention does not work, then simply remove them from the situation they are in.
Before you do that, you must explain that you are taking them somewhere else because they have lashed out.
Remember to take them to a place where they can calm down and reflect on what they did. Reflection is powerful, and toddlers do it all of the time. They are learning, remember, so get them to only remember the good things!
Distraction is a key tool in your parent arsenal! It works for so many situations that you will find yourself in.
When your toddler hits for no reason, you still need to ask them the question:
‘Why did you just hit out?’
If your toddler reacts in a way that is not appropriate, distract them immediately. Distraction will help to remove the thought that hitting will get your attention.
When you have finished the distraction, revisit the question. Your toddler must understand that hitting out will NOT get them what they want.
Punishment – Removing Toys
One time, I picked my son up from a club that he attends after School one day each week. As I walked through the door, I saw that he was not happy to see me! This is pretty standard, depending on how he is feeling at the time. It’s 50/50 whether he is happy to see me or not.
I went over to see him, knelt down to speak with him (it is important to get down to their level) and the first thing he did was hit me on the arm. I was not happy. After standing up and walking away, I noticed that he was following me. I was then hit with a second blow, this time on my side. As we left the building and got into the car, we were silent.
For the entire journey home, we were silent.
As we got home, we removed our coats and I went straight for the toy cupboard. Without saying a word, I picked up 3 of his favorite toys. I sat him down and explained that I was taking away 2 toys because he hit me, and the 3rd toy because of how serious it was.
He has not hit me since.
Remove Outside Influences
Excess screen time for toddlers is a hot topic right now, and I must admit that occasionally I completely forget how long my son has been on his tablet!
You also need to keep on top of the things they are watching. It is too easy to give your toddler a tablet so you can get on with other life tasks, but what are they watching? Have you got access to kids YouTube? Or are you giving them access to full YouTube?
There are many videos aimed at toddlers, but how age-appropriate are they? Do they have mild violence? Always ensure that your child uses kids YouTube!
Toddlers (especially Boys) are prone to watching Superhero videos on YouTube, and they are filled with violence, albeit mild violence. They see their heroes hitting people and think that it is ok to do.
Think about the friends they have. Kids pick up almost all of their bad habits from friends, so watch carefully as they play, and always pick up on bad behavior and put them straight.
Teach Your Toddler About Feelings
Toddlers do not know how to deal with feelings yet, they are still learning about life. You must remember that.
It is important to know the steps and to discuss each emotion they are likely to encounter. Leaving them to figure it out for themselves is a recipe for disaster.
Take the first step by giving each emotion a name. Draw a happy face, a sad face, and an angry face. Explain to your toddler the differences with each one, and keep repeating the name of each.
Give your toddler workable examples and tell them how to deal with it. For instance:
Remember when you woke up and it was your birthday? You saw all of the gifts and you were very happy. You had your happy face on! When I am happy, I cheer, clap and I have a big smile on my face.
Remember last night when we were playing but it was time to go to bed. You were unhappy, so you had an unhappy face. When I am unhappy, I tell someone that I am unhappy and explain why. It is important to tell someone when you are unhappy because they might be able to make you happier.
Remember last week when your friend took a toy away? You were angry, and you had an angry face on. When I am angry I tell someone why I am angry. I tell someone because they might be able to help. When you had your angry face on, I asked why. You told me it was because your friend took your toy away, and I suggested that you play with another toy. Then you had your happy face on again!
Find Other Ways To Release Energy
Join a local club to help burn off all the excess energy that might be promoting your toddler to others for no reason.
Search your local area for ideas.
If you are unable to find a local club to join, simply take your toddler out to burn some energy. Local parks or wooded areas are great to unleash a rampant toddler in! Take advantage of nature and get your toddler out to get some fresh air.
If your toddler is hitting others, or you, for no reason, it is very important to get to the root cause as soon as you can. Toddlers are always learning, and boy do they learn quickly! Ensure they remember the good things and not the bad things they do to get your attention.
It is likely that your toddler is lashing out because they are not sure how to deal with certain emotions. Remember that responding to anger with anger is never a good idea.
Ever heard of the phrase Monkey see, Monkey do? That is exactly what your toddler is learning.
You’re fed up with the early morning call for the bottle, right?
All you need is to sleep through the whole night and life is so much better!
In this post, I am going to give you some of the steps that I took to stop my Toddler needing his overnight bottle feed.
It can be a habit, it can be hunger, or it can be the fact that your Toddler just wants to see you in the middle of the night. Whatever the reason, it is time to stop bottle feeding your Toddler at night! After all, it is the reason you are here!
But, how do your Toddler having their nightly bottle feeds? It is simple, but it may take some time, and it will mean less sleep for you at the beginning. Think of it as short term pain for long term gain.
Why does your Toddler still need a night time bottle feed?
Before we move onto the tips, let us expand on the reasons above. It is only when you know the reason, that you are able to move on and stop your Toddler bottle feeding at night.
It sounds obvious, right? Hunger is probably the biggest reason why your Toddler still needs a bottle at night.
Toddlers grow quickly and can go through stages of intense growth spurts. During these growth spurts, they are eating MACHINES!
Similar to above, your Toddler might need a night time bottle because they are simply thirsty! I wake up most nights because I need a drink, and your Toddler is no different.
If your Toddler wakes up in the middle of the night asking for a bottle, it could simply be that they are scared because it is dark and quiet.
You may only be a few feet away in your bedroom, but your Toddler might miss you. A great way to get you to their bedroom is by being hungry!
It Is A Habit
A habit is the most difficult thing to break!
From being a Baby, your Toddler is used to waking up in the middle of the night for a feed.
Your Toddler might want a bottle feed at night simply because it is what they are used to.
How To Stop Bottle Feeding Your Toddler At Night
Replace With A Drink
Replacing your Toddlers night time feed with a drink is a great way of stopping the early hour’s feed!
Just pour a cup of milk or water and let them drink a little before bed. Place the cup near their bed so they can reach over for it when they wake up.
Sounds simple, right? Well, yes it is! It might be too simple to work, but it may well be the magic bullet.
Giving your Toddler a drink will quench their thirst and might stop the night feed.
Increase In Food Intake
Think about what you are feeding your Toddler in their last meal of the day.
My Son eats like a horse, I have noticed that if he does not get enough food before bed, he will wake early…and will NOT go back to sleep again.
Some nights, I make him a snack about 1 hour before bedtime, just to top him up for the night.
Increasing food intake will counter one of the reasons why your Toddler still needs a bottle feed during the night, and that is hunger.
The Slow Build Up
I find that when I want my Son to break a habit that I have let him slip into (guilty), it is best to break him out of it gently.
For instance, he got into the habit of only going to sleep if I was in his room. It was certainly my fault because I kept doing it. I needed to break the habit!
I began by explaining that he needs to be able to settle down on his own and told him that over the next few nights, I would be just outside of his room. Then after 4 nights of sleep, I will be putting him to bed and then I will be going out of his room so he can settle by himself.
Sure, there were times when he did not want to play along, but eventually, it worked.
Start by explaining to your Toddler that over the next week, you will not be giving them a night time bottle feed. Explain that they now have a drink if they are thirsty.
The Big Bang Approach
Good luck if you chose this option, but it is viable, and has worked for me in the past.
The major drawback is the next 2 nights may involve less sleep for you, but it is worth it.
Simply tell your Toddler that they will no longer by having nighttime bottle feeds. Then duck.
When your Toddler wakes in the early hours of the morning, remind them that they do not get a bottle, and if they are thirsty, give them the cup of drink.
My Son loves his blanket, it is a huge comforter for him. When he is sick, he wants his blanket. If he has hurt himself, he wants his blanket.
If your Toddler does not have a comforter, like a blanket or a soft toy, it is time for you both to go out and pick one.
Some Toddlers still need bottle feeding at night because they want comfort from you. Buying a comforter will offer them some comfort.
If you need to know how to stop bottle feeding your Toddler at night, I am confident that the tips on this page will help you out.
As I said at the beginning of this post, it is extremely important that you figure out why your Toddler still needs a bottle at night. As soon as you understand the reason, you can make some small changes to make the transition much easier.
Let’s have a recap of the reasons why your Toddler might still need a bottle at night:
They Miss You
They are Scared
It Is A Habit
Know the reasons, and follow the tips above to counter each of them.
Oh, and I know I have already mentioned that this battle might result in less sleep for you at the beginning but I need to remind you to ensure your expectations are set.
Many Toddlers still need a night time feed because it helps to settle them. That means it is easy for you to put together a feed, and then settle down immediately afterward. This battle may mean you spent more time awake to get them used to the change. Stick with it, do not give up, and you will get your reward eventually!
If you haven’t already been in the position where your toddler is cranky after daycare, then you will be. It is as certain as death and taxes! But what is the reason why they are so cranky? And what can you do about it?
In this post, I take a look at the most common reasons why your toddler is cranky after daycare.
You are no doubt aware that when your toddler has a problem, getting the reason why is like dealing with an emotionally unstable international spy.
You can try and ask the question in many different ways, but you are not going to get the answer. Sure, you may get AN answer, but it will not be what you need to hear.
Your job is to run through a list of reasons why your toddler is cranky after daycare until you stumble across the reason and all is well in the world again.
Here are the 7 most common reasons:
7 Reasons Why Your Toddler Is Cranky After Daycare
Along with being tired, being hungry is the most common reason why your toddler is cranky after daycare., especially if they are new and are not used to the whole daycare process.
When my son first started daycare, the first thing he said to me when I picked him up was ‘I am hungry’. Over time, these words were uttered less and less, and I have a theory about it.
When you are a toddler, some things in life can be quite intimidating. Starting a new daycare, or school can concern them into a mini hunger strike.
There is also the fact that toddlers can be very picky about what they eat, and starting daycare will introduce them into a whole world of different foods that they may not have tried before.
It may also be that your toddler will go through growth spurts and it doesn’t matter how much you feed them, they will still be hungry!
If your toddler is being bullied at daycare, they will definitely will cranky!
Bullying can begin at a very young age, so you need to be making your toddler aware of what bullying is. For a start, you need them to tell you if they are being bullied, and secondly, you do not want them to BE the bully.
When discussing bullying with your toddler, it is very important for them to be aware of the way it makes people feel, and the consequences of the bully’s actions.
If you think your toddler is being bullied then it is also important to speak to the daycare staff so they can keep a close eye to ensure that, if it is happening, it will be stopped.
This can happen towards the end of daycare when they begin to get bored with what they are being taught.
Kids know when they are ready to move up to the next step with their learning, but they just do not know how to tell you. If your toddler is cranky after daycare it could be because their thirst for knowledge is not being quenched.
Speak with the staff at your toddler’s daycare center and ask them to increase the skill level of what they are teaching your toddler. Keep an eye on mood improvements over the next few weeks.
You Are Taking Away Their Fun
For me, daycare is a place that I drop my son off to, and I pick him up from. If I were to spend any more time there, then I would need a dark, padded room to go home to.
For toddlers, it is different. They have friends, toys, food, and education all under one roof. They have had fun at daycare all day, and now you are here to ruin it for them.
You can make this easier on yourself by spending a bit of time playing with them when they get in. You can also give them something to look forward to when you pick them up, a treat of some kind.
Lack Of Attention
During daycare, your toddler will have grown-ups attending to their every need. Whether they want to play, eat, sleep, a grown-up is there with them, because that is their job.
When they get home, and you have been busy all day, you just want to chill out. Your toddler goes from someone who is playing constantly with them, to someone who is tired and wants to chill out. It is a transition which may see your toddler become cranky.
The thing about toddlers is they know how to push your buttons, and if they are not getting the required attention from you then they will do what they can to get ANY attention from you. You may also notice this when they come back from visiting Grandparents, or friends who also have children.
If this is something new that you are dealing with, it could be that they are coming down with a cold, or the flu, or some other infection.
Daycare is a breeding ground for germs!
Ask them if they feel ok (good luck with that). Check their temperature (use a good thermometer). Do all of the things that you usually do when dealing with a sick toddler.
Oh, and dose up in the vitamins…because if they are sick, you will not be far behind. I guess you are already aware of that!
If your toddler is cranky after daycare then it could be for a number of reasons. The reasons I have identified above are the most common.
If the crankiness carries on, despite your attempts to placate them, then you really need to speak with the staff at the daycare center.
The daycare staff will have a lot of experience with cranky toddlers and they may also be able to identify any reasons why your Toddler might be cranky after you pick them up from daycare.
Your toddler is cranky for a reason, you simply need to find out what it is! Obviously, I say ‘simple’ in jest, because we all know that it is far from simple, right?
Usually, I do not get past the first two reasons on this post before the mood improves.
Not only do they kick and scream, but they also provide absolutely no reason for the situation they are being stubborn about.
If you need some tips on how to deal with a stubborn Toddler then read on!
The stubbornness can be over absolutely anything, ranging from bath time, bedtime, dinner time, school time, and even at 3-am when they think they have had enough sleep. It is extremely frustrating and can lead to a full-on argument between parent and child. It does not have to be that way though.
I have 7 tips for you here that you can use immediately.
When you need to know how to deal with a stubborn toddler, the first thing should do is talk to them on THEIR level.
It is too easy to become a dictator and bark orders at them without question, but in reality that only acts to strengthen their resolve.
Imagine a drill sergeant towering above a new recruit, bellowing orders that must be obeyed. That is what you need to avoid. In the Army, you know why you are there. Acting like this to a toddler is not going to work.
When dealing with my stubborn Toddler, I make a start by physically getting down to his level. If I am going to get him to do what I need him to do (get dressed, brush his teeth) then I need him to understand that we are doing this on an even keel.
Do Not Argue
They ARE going to argue back, you need to understand that. Although I am sure you are more than aware!
You need to be in a fully chilled state when negotiating.
Do not get into a situation where you are simply arguing against each other. Take a breath and instead of arguing back, simply remaining quiet and let them have their say. This is not a sign of weakness, this is a sign that you are willing to listen. But this is going to go your way.
Your Toddler will shout, but if you remained calm then slowly they will learn that shouting DOES NOT rattle your cage, and it certainly does not get them what they want.
For me, this was one of my biggest challenges. I used to get frustrated that my Son could not understand simple instructions and my reasoning. Then I realized that there is no reasoning with a Toddler. You just need to keep to the same structure until they understand the process and work with it.
I will let you know when that time comes!
Why do you not want to get dressed?
It is a simple question, but one that absolutely needs to be asked.
Sure, you are not going to get a sensible answer, or even an answer that makes any sense in terms of reasoning. BUT, it does need to be asked.
When you ask questions you get answers. When you have the answer you can explain WHY they need to do what you are asking.
You will be giving a reason why and that is very important for your Toddler to begin to understand the art of reasoning.
Stand Your Ground
Unless you want to be walked over for the rest of your life, you WILL need to stand your ground.
If you do not stand your ground you will be on the losing team now, next year, and for many years to come.
When they learn that Dad backs down easily, the pressure will pile on during every single negotiation. When they know you back down easily, your Toddler will not learn some extremely important life skills, namely negotiation and reasoning.
They simply will not need to know how to negotiate because they do not need to at home. What they say goes, and you do not want your Toddler to grow up with that kind of attitude!
Negotiate – Hard
With all negotiations, you need your ideal position and your fallback position.
Ideal Position: What YOU want them to do.
Fallback position: The worst outcome that you are STILL happy with.
Approach the negotiating by following some of the steps above. Get down on their level and make a start.
Let’s take a look at a recent example for me. My Son needed to get dressed but he wanted to carry on playing.
My ideal position was for him to just damn well do what I tell him without question and my fallback position was for him to go back to playing after he got dressed. Time was against so so I was not keen on him playing afterward but I could let him play for another few minutes before we leave the house.
I began by getting down to his level. After explaining that I need him to get dressed, the notion is rejected. I go on to explain that we are in a rush and suggest that he can play for 5 minutes once he is dressed. The offer is accepted and he gets dressed. As soon as he is dressed I remind him of the deal and set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, we leave the house.
If I were to simply demand that he gets dressed, it would have led to arguments, tears, and leaving the house in a bad mood.
Give Them Options
When your Toddler is being stubborn, giving them options is a tip you can try.
The problem is that you are teaching them to react in the same way. When they have to deal with disagreements at School, their first reaction is to apply what they have learned from you. If you shout at them, they will shout at others.
It is your job to teach them how to deal with these situations in the real world, starting now!
Reasons why a Toddler might not want to stay in their own bed
Ok, so you are not 3 years old anymore, but try and put yourself in their shoes.
Not literally, you understand. Metaphorically speaking.
Toddlers have young minds, they are still not sure about their place in the world, and simple things scare them.
This is the big, number 1 reason why Toddlers do not settle in their own beds. Darkness frightens them.
As a Toddler, you have a very active imagination. When you are a Toddler and you have woken up in darkness, there are things in the room that might look unusual. Instead of thinking logically, they panic and get scared.
Fear Of Being Alone
This is very closely linked to darkness. One of the worst things about life is there comes a point where you need to talk about ‘Stranger Danger’. It needs to be tackled, but in a perfect world, it should not even exist!
When you begin discussing ‘Stranger Danger’ with your Toddler, you are telling them that there are people in this world who want to do them harm. They will take that information in and it can increase the fear they have when they are alone.
They Have Bad Dreams
We have all been there. You have a bad dream and immediately wake up. In your semi-sleep haze, you are not sure what is real and what is not. Now imagine how that feels for a Toddler!
What You Can Do To Help
In this post, I tackle all 3 of the reasons above.
The key point here is that when faced with a troublesome habit that your Toddler has got into, you need to understand the reasons why they do it, so you can tackle the reasons head on.
How To Keep Toddler In Room At Night
Let’s take a look at the tips for keeping a Toddler in a room at night!
1. Night Light
Illuminating your Toddlers room will give them some confidence when they wake during the early hours.
Not only will a nightlight allow them to see what is going on in their room, but it also takes away the fear of darkness itself.
There are many kinds of nightlights that you can try, and I have found (after buying quite a few) that it is best to give them a nightlight that they are interested in.
My Son loves superheroes, specifically the Avengers! So I bought him a Hulk Night Light, which he absolutely loves.
You surely know the kind of thing that your Toddler likes, so pick a nightlight that will take them to a happy pace as soon as they wake up.
Familiarity is calming for most people, and your Toddler is the same.
If they want to get in your bed at 3 am because they are scared and worried after the ‘Stranger Danger’ talk, then why not add in some familiar pictures around their bed?
I printed out a few photographs and stuck them on my Sons wall. Then when he wakes up, he can see them and remember that we are only in the room next door, and he does not need to be concerned.
This is a fantastic tip for keeping a Toddler in a room at night!
4. Use Your Scent
Sometimes, it only takes a few seconds from when they are asleep to waking up and realizing you are no with them.
You CAN head this off during those few seconds without actually being there.
If you regularly wear the same scent, spray a little bit on your Toddlers bed. Before they even open their eyes, they will immediately smell you. As your scent hits their nostrils, they are more likely to drift back off to sleep. All without causing you to break your sleep!
Sure, you might have some expensive sent, but it is worth a night of unbroken sleep.
5. A piece of your clothing
Very similar to the tip above, but this time do not spray any scent onto the clothing before you place it in your Toddlers bed.
When they begin to wake up, they will feel your clothing, which may send them back to sleep again.
6. Talk to them about nightmares
Toddlers are clever. They may not seem it when you have to repeat yourself 6 or 7 times for them to get their shoes on, but do not let that fool you.
Speaking to your Toddler about the nightmares they have is a great way of removing the reality of them.
When they wake in the morning, discuss what dreams they had. If they had bad dreams, discuss why they are not real and explain that dreams are just simply dreams.
They will listen, it may only be for a few minutes, but they will listen. The more you repeat the process, the more it will sink in too.
If you are struggling with how to keep Toddler in a room at night, I feel for you. I have been there.
In fact, most parents have probably been there in the past. It is all part of bringing up a child.
Who said it was going to be easy, eh?
As I said above, the key thing is to realize exactly what is driving them to want to crawl into your bed in the early hours of the morning. It is only then that you can systematically fight back!
Let’s take a look again at the reasons why your Toddler may not want to sleep all night in their own bed:
Just when you think you have got to the stage where you can sleep peacefully through the night, your toddler hits you with a surprise! They no longer enjoy sleeping on their own. Nights = ruined. But what makes your toddler afraid of sleeping alone? They were perfectly fine last week…..
There could be many reasons why your toddler has suddenly become afraid of sleeping alone. Let’s have a rundown of the most popular reasons:
They regularly have bad dreams
The darkness scares them
They miss you and know you are only a cry away
In the tips below, I take a look at addressing these issues so you can get back to getting a full night sleep…..that is until they wake up FAR too early and expect you to play IMMEDIATELY.
8 Tips to make your toddler less afraid to sleep alone
Here are the 8 tips, but bear in mind the list is not exhaustive. Ultimately, you need to ask your toddler why they do not like sleeping alone.
When writing these tips, I attempted to talk to my toddler to identify any reason why he wouldn’t want to sleep alone. It was tough because his attention span is worse than a fish. I managed to get some info from him though, between random leg punches (he is doing the punching, by the way).
1. Talk to them
Find out why they are afraid of sleeping alone
This is the most obvious first step and one that cannot be ignored.
Sure – you probably won’t get much sense out of them, but if you listen carefully they will give you a few hints.
As I sit here typing, I call my son over to ask him. The conversation genuinely went like this:
Me: Why would you not like sleeping in your own bed?
Toddler: Can I have a sandwich?
Me: Ok, only once you finish talking to me. Why would you not want to sleep in your own bed?
Toddler: Can I have peanut butter and butter?
Me: Just answer the question man!
Me: Ok, but you know monsters are not real, right?
Toddler: They are real Daddy, there is one who lives in your room.
2. Be mindful about what they are watching
Toddlers have got to the stage where they begin to concern themselves with things and objects that did not scare them before.
They are now learning that there are things in life to be scared of. When they are babies, they only have 2 fears, loud sudden noises, and falling.
As they progress through life, they begin to learn about other things that scare them. These fears are exacerbated by what they watch on TV. Even cartoons have scenes that introduce things to be scared of.
Be careful about what they watch on the TV, or on their tablet.
Ultimately, being scared of things is part of growing up. It is our job to teach them about irrational fears.
3. Get a light projector
I used a light projector when my son was smaller, and I use one now that he is a toddler.
These light projectors are a great way to induce a relaxing sleep, and going to sleep in a relaxed mood should lay the foundations for a full nights sleep!
4. Get some plug-in nightlights
In my sons room, we have 1 plug-in night light, and 1 battery powered Hulk night-light (He loves the Avengers!).
When kids first begin to get a fear of the dark, every item they see in their room has the potential to scare them!
Shadows in the dark – clothes hanging up in their room. In the dark, these can look pretty concerning to a toddler. If the room is illuminated (but not too much), when they awake, they can see these items are nothing to be afraid of and will (hopefully) comfort themselves and drift back to sleep.
5. Fool them
A few years ago, we went on a family vacation and my son slept in the same room as us.
We did not realize this was going to be a problem when we got back home, but it was. He would not settle down unless he could see one of us in his room. I am not going to lie, it took away at least 1 hour of precious time each night, and I wasn’t happy about that!
It was time to play dirty!
Here is what I did:
I got a pillow and dressed it in one of my tops. I agreed that I would lay outside his room until he fell asleep. After a few minutes, and when he wasn’t looking, I replaced myself with the dressed pillow.
My evenings suddenly opened up to be much more productive! He didn’t have a clue…..but one day, I will tell him.
6. Get them to talk about their dreams
We have all been there. You have literally just woken up from a bad dream, and for the first few minutes, you still think it is real.
In the morning, you remember your dream and think about how stupid it was!
Follow the same process with your toddler. Ask them in the morning about what was in their dream that scared them. Use that discussion to pinpoint exactly why it was a silly dream. Put their mind at rest that it was only a dream and it wouldn’t actually happen in real life.
Try to add some comedy into how they remember their dream, for instance, if they had a bad dream about spiders, get them to imagine a spider with a set of rollerskates on. Get your toddler to imagine it trying to stay on its feet!
Once they see the funny side, the fear factor will be much lower.
7. Spend as much time with them as you can
You may be thinking that your toddler is afraid of sleeping alone, but that may not be true.
Your toddler might simply miss you! If you work long hours and you do not get to see your child much, it is really important that you devote a lot of time to them when you can.
I am lucky, I get to spend a lot of time with my son, but I understand why some parents are not able to spend as much time with their kids.
8. Think about any changes in their life
Has there been a huge change in their life recently?
Most changes in behavior can be attributed to a change in life, so it is just a case of pinpointing exactly what that was.
It could be a new house, it could be a new pet, it could be something they have recently started watching. Have you read them a new book recently?
When we are chilling out, I am guided by my son on what we are watching (within reason, obviously). He tends to vouch for ‘Scary’ things to watch. He is also a little obsessed with TV programs and films that are not for toddler’s eyes. I am not talking about Horror movies, even things like Harry Potter and Pirates of the Carribean are too much for a toddler to watch.
Let’s face it though, some kids books are pretty wrong eh? Take The Little Red Riding Hood. (Spoiler Alert) in the end, the Granny gets eaten. Then a man arrives to cut Wolf’s stomach open and free her! That kind of thing can play on the mind of a toddler, so be aware.
Ultimately, you need to find out the reason why your toddler is afraid of sleeping alone. Only then can you do something to improve the situation.
The most important thing is that you speak to them about it. Kids will give you hints and clues as they mindlessly grasp for the right words to use!
Placate them by explaining why they shouldn’t be scared of certain things (like the dark etc).
If your toddler is afraid to sleep alone, then good luck, and work through the tips! I am sure you will get a successful outcome.
The result is that you get to sleep the whole night!
When a toddler only wants to spend time with one of the parents, it leaves one feeling low, and one feeling tired. You are looking at a lose-lose situation here, but how do you get out of it?
How do you make your kid love Dad again?
Why does your toddler not like Dad?
The million dollar question! Why does my toddler not like Dad?
There are so many reasons, but let’s touch upon the standard reasons here…..
Dad Offers No comfort
This stems from the time they were a baby – especially if your child was breastfed. Not that there is a problem with that by the way! Receiving milk is a comfort, are babies learn that poor old Dad can’t give them breast milk.
Babies then grow into toddlers and the whole thing stays with them.
Dad is always working
This is a difficult pill to swallow! If Dad is out early and back late, there is probably not much time left for playing during the week.
Dad is boring
This is even worse…..you are too boring to like. It sucks, but these toddlers pull no punches when it comes to telling people what they really think!
Dad shouts a lot
I wouldn’t want to play with him either! I have discussed the pitfalls of shouting too much, in a post about keeping cool when the kids are pushing your buttons. It really is simple, only shout when you NEED to shout, i.e. if they are in danger. Shouting too much just makes it normal behavior and reduces the impact. Oh, and if they think shouting is normal behavior, they will do it too.
So, how do I get my child to like Dad?
Take a step back and look at how you interact with them. Ask them what they do not like. As I said above, kids pull no punches, so they are more than willing to tell you what they do not like.
The most important thing that you can do is acknowledge it, refrain from swearing at them and improve your stature in their eyes.
I have put together some tips that will help Dad be more popular.
Enough already, give me some tips!
Here are some tips for improving Dads relationship with your toddler.
You will find, as your bond with your child becomes much tighter, that your bond as a family will improve too! Your partner suddenly becomes much less stressed and has more time to enjoy other parts of life. Your toddler realizes that Dad is a hero, and Dad gets that warm fuzzy feeling!
Make time for playtime
Playtime is fun, both for kids and parents.
Find out what games they like to play and spend time playing them. Observe them playing with their toys, look at the way they interact with them. All you need to do is join in!
The key thing here is that you spend quality time with them, doing what they want to do. Leave your phone in another room and don’t be distracted by the phone, or anything else.
Teach them something regularly
Teaching them kills two birds with one stone!
Not only do they get to spend some quality time with Dad, but they also learn an important skill.
I am not talking about algebra or complex equations here. I am talking about general life skills.
Take them out for a walk and teach them how to cross the road safely. How about something simple like making a sandwich? Careful with the knife by the way!
Another option is to source a few bits of scrap wood, some nails, a hammer, and a screwdriver. Spend some time teaching them how to use the tools. Make something out of the wood!
Even if it is terrible, it still improves a child’s relationship with Dad.
Be the one to take care of them
If a toddler is used to Mom looking after them when they are sick, it is time for Dad to step up.
A word of warning, the first time this happens will be a battle of wills with a sick child, so take it easy!
If they are vomiting, be there with a bowl, a towel, a hug and a drink of water. Do not worry about getting it all over you, it is part of the job (ask Mom).
Sure, they are likely to spurn your advances when you are taking control, but this will change pretty quickly when they learn that you are actually helping them. Speak to your partner to explain what is going to happen, and why. It is important that they take a step back and give you space and support to get on with it. Like your child, they may not have the confidence that you can do it, but when you walk the walk, they will change their minds.
Eating with your toddler has some challenges, but it is a key part of building a relationship with them.
You may struggle to find the time, especially if your commute to work means you leave before they wake up, or you do not get back home until they are in bed. If this is you, then weekends are even more important!
If you can, then eat 1 meal per day together. Breakfast is the easiest in a working family environment because it is the time when you are most likely to be together and awake.
This is very similar to tips 1 and 2, but this time you are going to ask them about their day, about their friends, and what they like.
I play a part in the bedtime routine every day. Before we settle down, I spend some time asking my Son what he enjoyed doing that day, and what he did not enjoy doing. I ask him about his friends, and what he has eaten.
This is a very important part of building a strong bond and shows him that I am interested in his life. It also helps to build his vocabulary and conversational skills.
Reduce your stress
I know, another challenging one!
These kids are clever, do not let them fool you. They pick up on things easily, and one of the things they pick up on is stress.
Not only do they not want to interact with stressed Dad, but they also become stressed themselves.
Increased stress levels may result in you taking the stress out on the family. When a person is stressed, they may react by withdrawing themselves or becoming short-tempered. Both of these scenarios are bad if you want to build a bond with your toddler.
At first, raised voices will scare your child. then, the more you shout, the less the impact is.
Over time, your shouting will just be white noise. It means nothing.
Not only does it mean nothing, but it also limits their interaction with you….because you always shout!
It is easy to shout too much, but take the path less traveled and only shout when completely necessary. If they are putting their lives in danger, shout. If they are whining for no good reason, talk to them or walk away.
Make the times you shout, count.
Use the tips above to help improve the relationship between toddler and Dad.
When your child does not like Dad, it causes a family divide. Dad feels left out, Mom feels overworked. Being a parent involves teamwork (and patience) so be sure to put a stop to any developing bond issues.
Only when you have a good relationship with your toddler can you really begin to enjoy life as a parent. You get to play a huge part in your child developing into a fully functioning human being, which is a joy to behold!
Do you have any tips? Does your child not like Dad? Please get in contact or leave a message below.
There are many reasons why you want your child to leave the pacifier alone! I struggled when it was time for my son to get rid of his pacifier, so I devised the following list to bring the odds of success in my favor! Each alternative in this post is carefully constructed to offer comfort, or distraction, or just plain bribery! Here are my pacifier alternatives:
This is one of the most obvious choices and works alongside the comfort theory.
My Son has had the same blanket since he was born. He has fallen asleep ONCE without it, and that was because my wife drove away, blissfully unaware that she had just left me up the creek without a…..blanket.
I knew he was tired, and boy was he grumpy! It is times like this when you need to think fast. ‘Let’s go and get it!’ I said. He agreed.
I put him in the car and drove about 2 miles before he was fast asleep in the back! Classic ‘get the kid to sleep’ routine.
I parked up back at home, put him in bed and waited for the arrival of the blanket, and an apologetic wife. Of course, I played on it a bit so she knew how much of a struggle it was!
Breaking the ‘sucking thumb’ habit is much more difficult than getting rid of a pacifier. You can take away a pacifier, but taking away their thumbs might get you into trouble!
Give them a bottle of milk to drink as they drift off to sleep.
Every time they will think about reaching for the pacifier, they will just take the drink instead.
You will need to be careful if you have been through the whole ‘potty training’ thing because too much liquid can make them wet the bed. Do not give them fizzy drinks, or sugary drinks before bed….it will rot their teeth while they sleep.
Ok, so milk has some natural sugar in it too, but it is not as bad.
Make sure you remove the drink from their bed when they are asleep, but put it near their bed just in case they wake up during the night. Oh, and if your child has a milk allergy, you can ignore this tip!
7. Boxing gloves
Here it is, the one you will not believe, but I am telling you, this is how I weaned my son off his pacifier so I HAD to offer it as an alternative.
The story is, my son was big into boxing that week, so I suggested that I buy him some boxing gloves in exchange for him giving his pacifier to the pacifier fairy. She would then pass it over to a baby to help them sleep.
He agreed, and I went off to Amazon to order him some! From the very first night, he ditched the pacifier and slept with his new boxing gloves.
After 3 nights, the gloves went away in a drawer and he hasn’t been interested in them since.
It doesn’t matter though, because they were a great, but bizarre alternative to his pacifier!
Reasons why a toddler needs a pacifier
Let’s start with the reasons your child has grown attached to the pacifier, and why you have let it get this far!
It gives them comfort – This world can be a tough place, especially if you are brand new and everything is a little bit scary! A pacifier will give your child some comfort, especially when they are put to sleep in their own bed and it is a bit dark.
It replicates a nipple – Yeh, I said nipple….get over it. As a baby, you may get your food source from a nipple, which again is comforting because you feel close to the source.
It helps to get your child to sleep – This one is for you, and it is probably the reason why they still have their pacifier.
It settles them – Again, another one for you. If they fall over or hurt themselves on something….or they just will not stop crying, you can feel good knowing that you have a pacifier to placate them until they stop crying.
Reasons why you need a good pacifier alternative for a toddler
You do not want their teeth to stick out
Some folks (including me) believe that using a pacifier for too long will change the growth of your child’s teeth. They will grow out, instead of down with too much pacifier use.
Do you need some tips on how to make your kid less scared?
I put these tips together after a recent episode where my 4-year-old Boy tested my parenting skills…..
Why I decided to write a guide for making your child less scared and anxious
There he was at the top of the slide….a slide he had enjoyed 3 times in the last 5 minutes. Then it kicked in, he froze. There was no immediate reason why he froze, or why he began crying. But he did. And boy did we know about it!
I took my shoes off and joined him at the top.
With my arm around him, I asked what was wrong.
I’m scared of that picture’ he said, as he pointed towards the direction of the funhouse. It was a picture of Arial from The Little Mermaid. What the hell goes through the minds of these kids!
It got me thinking though, was I doing something to initiate this fear? Was I too protective? I can’t remember leaping out dressed as Arial…I try to keep that kind of stuff for the bedroom.
Anyway, I digress, here are some tips for making your child less scared of life.
10 Anxiety reducing tips for making your child less scared
1. Watch what they watch
Not literally. You don’t have to pre-watch movies and YouTube videos before handing it over to your child.
What I mean here, is that you should be aware of what they watch.
If your kid loves YouTube…and who doesn’t, then stick YouTube Kids on the tablet and remove the normal YouTube app. It stops them watching things they shouldn’t AND it stops the annoying adverts.
When it comes to films, it’s too easy to let them watch The Avengers….because he loves Hulk….but there is a reason it has an age restriction.
The key thing here is there may be things in the film that scare them now or in the near future.
2. Listen to their fears
I know they are only small, but if they are scared, listen to their fears and act like it is a genuine fear. Because it is.
Explain, using logic, why they should not be scared of whatever pointless thing they are scared of and move on.
Listening to your Child is one of the best things we can do as parents, but it is often overlooked. Too many times I see a parent blindly agreeing with their child while they immerse themselves in their mobile phone. It is often a surprise when the kid stops listening to them because they are practicing exactly what they have been taught!
3. Do not laugh at their fears
Laughing at their fear just belittles them, it does nothing more than that.
It is easy to laugh, especially when they tell you they are scared of a mermaid (see above), but keep it in. Laugh later.
Laughing does not remove the fear, it only adds fear that you will laugh at them. It may even stop them opening up to you because they fear being laughed at.
4. Go easy on telling them to be careful
This is a difficult one for me to deal with. I don’t want him falling over and I don’t want him hurting himself. At the same time, I do not want him to be careful all of the time.
Telling your child to be careful too much might make them timid and afraid to try new things.
Save it for the times when they could actually really hurt themselves…not the times when they are running on the grass and you don’t want their clothes getting dirty!
5. Don’t fuss over them
If your child falls over, do not immediately react like their life is on the line. Take stock of the situation. Is it just a cut knee or elbow? Give them some reassurance but also tell them it’s cool….let’s get on with life.
I hate seeing my Son in pain, but if he has just fallen over, he will get over it. Distraction works most of the time. When it doesn’t, there is always some dressing.
Obviously, if your child has a serious injury, you need to deal with that differently.
Always keep your cool though, panic gets in the way of making good decisions.
6. Think about the music you listen to
I have a varied musical taste. Some songs are child-friendly but some have some lyrics in that kids shouldn’t listen to.
I’m not talking about the language used either, I am talking about the content of the song, the story being told.
I worked this out quickly when I listened to Tarantula by Pendulum. It talks about the Tarantula ‘stinging’, and shortly after that, he was scared of spiders.
My explanation that spiders do not sting, they bite, really didn’t help.
Also – I like a bit of Marylin Manson, and I soon realized that ‘Sweet Dreams’ was a bit too scary for him.
7. Kids stories can also be pretty scary
Hansel and Gretel, the witch wants to eat the kids.
The Three Little Pigs, the Wolf wants to eat the pigs.
Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf eats everyone but is then cut open at the end (spoiler alert, sorry).
Don’t get me started on the Gingerbread Man! A little old lady wants to eat him. Don’t be surprised if they have a healthy fear of old people!
Not very child-friendly, eh? If you think the stories touch tell might be scaring your child, pick something more appropriate.
8. Give your child some breathing techniques
I know they are only small and barely out of the womb, but you can still give your child some techniques to help them overcome anxiety or fears.
Breathing is one of the biggest tools you have to battle anxiety or fears.
Toddlers listen, especially when you are helping them. Honest, they do.
Teach your toddler to take some deep breaths in to help relax them in situations. Concentrating on this breathing technique will also take their mind off of any fear they may have.
9. Be a superhero
This is one of my favorite tips because it is one that kick-starts the imagination and immediately distracts them from building up the fear in their mind.
If they see a spider in the house and it scares them, snap them out of it by reversing the fear.
‘You are Spiderman and I am Iron Man (I am always Iron Man, period) and we have to keep this spider safe and transport it outside. It needs some help, and we need to protect it’.
It is pretty amazing to see the immediate change in perception. All of a sudden, my Son is protecting this insect that he was scared of just 10 seconds ago.
Try it out!
10. Do not force them into facing their fears
I once witnessed a parent attempting to remove the child fear of worms by carrying a child over to a worm and forcing them to be there so they could see that a worm is nothing to be feared.
The kid was constantly screaming, he had a genuine fear.
That parent forgot, or just didn’t realize, that it WAS a genuine fear. We know, as adults, that a worm is nothing that you need to be scared about. As a kid, it is different.
Forcing your child to face their fears when they are not in the right frame of mind is not good practice, and it will only increase the fear levels. They will also begin to think that they do not have your protection.
A better way to approach this kind of fear is to remove them from the object making them scared, talk to them about it and then ask if they are ready to face the fear.
Get your child to close their eyes and imagine a worm. Then get them to imagine it with a huge smile on its face. Maybe add some silly music. This about what your child is interested in and add that to the mix. Do they like pirates? Imagine the worm with a pirates hat on……or with a pirates sword, fighting the bad guys.
The key thing is that you listen to the fear and ask them if they want to face it.
I am certain that these tips will help if your child is suddenly more scared than they have been in the past.
Let’s not forget, this world is new to them, and even though they are not aware of the things they SHOULD be scared of yet, they are still scared.
It is so important to listen to them, I can’t emphasize that enough. Listen and respond, do not mock them.
Being extra scared of things is likely to be a phase they are going through, as they progress through life.
If you follow the tips of this page, I am sure they will be less scared of things in life and they can begin to enjoy different things again.
I hope these tips will help you and your child. If you have any more tips or stories to share, please leave a comment below or get in touch, I would love to hear them!
What gives a two-year-old the right to challenge for leadership?
That is exactly what they are doing, right?
For my Son, the terrible two’s hit two months after his second birthday. He is a big-time procrastinator….I’ve no idea where he gets that from……
It wasn’t a slow build up either, hitting us like a bowling ball in the face. Unfortunately, the end of it wasn’t as quick, slowly meandering like a toddler walking through a busy supermarket (how annoying is that?)
Surviving The Terrible Twos – Quick Links
If you are mid-battle with a kid possessed by the terrible two’s and you need urgent assistance, the quick links are here (skip past 1!):
The terrible two’ are a fight for supremacy, I have no doubt about that. As the initiator of all terrible two tantrums, your child now believes they have the required skill set and life experience to do whatever the hell they want.
Except….they haven’t fully learnt the consequences yet.
It is clear from their defiance, that they know best, in all situations. They are not afraid to let you know either.
You have boundaries, as does life. You have a good understanding of what they are, but a toddler does not.
What happens next?
They push boundaries and push YOU until they find a way to break you. Don’t let them win, or they will never know exactly what the boundaries are.
Imagine a fight between a superhero and a villain. They both shoot a laser at each other and it meets in the middle. There is a huge battle, sometimes the superhero’s laser is overpowering that of the villain, sometimes it is the other way around.
Eventually, I hope, the strength of the superhero overpowers the villain and life goes on in a semi-state of nerve-shredding peace.
That is your life during the terrible two’s…..as a leader, you need this battle to end in victory for you. It is a huge milestone in your journey as a parent.
10 Tips For Surviving The Terrible Twos
Let’s crack on with these tips then:
Kids need encouragement. It is really important for them to grow up knowing they have a supportive network around them.
When kids receive encouragement, you will notice a dramatic increase in confidence and they will also have added respect for what you say.
Although most of this post suggests you are the boss, and your word is final, it is extremely important to allow your kids to have freedom and independence.
They must be able to express themselves without the feeling they are living in a dictatorship. If they do not get this, they may become a bit withdrawn, self-conscious and maybe even fearful.
Having said that, if you are in the middle of a full-on toddler breakdown, you can park this tip until they have calmed down.
In the meantime….move on to tip 2!
2. Tell Them Straight, Then Walk Away
This one might cause some conflict, but sometimes you’ve gotta tell them straight!
With the exception of a large nuclear arsenal, there is nothing more powerful than telling it how it is and walking away.
I may get beaten for this because not listening to your child is often frowned upon. Sometimes, you just can’t argue. Sometimes, they need to hear it straight, and authoritative.
When your kid just will not quit, tell them what they need to know, and walk away. They may follow you because they do not want to give you a break, but eventually, they will learn that what you said is final.
3. Be Cool – Do Not Engage In A Verbal Battle
Do not engage in a verbal battle with a toddler!
It doesn’t matter how much logic you throw into the situation, the understanding is not there. At all.
I have adapted one of my favorite quotes that fit the situation well:
Arguing with a 2-year-old is like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good you are at chess the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap all over the board and strut around like it’s won anyway.
By that I mean you must have a punishment ready to go in an instant.
It might be the classic ‘naughty step’ routine, or you may opt to go with the ‘I am going to take away your [insert today’s favorite toy]‘ choice. I flick between the two, after a quick consideration of what the reaction is likely to be.
5. Education, My Friend
Get educated on dealing and negotiating with toddlers. You have made a start by reading this post.
Patience is key in all arguments, and even more so during a disagreement with a toddler.
They are not going to make any sense, and they are not going to be making any relevant points for discussion. They are not going to listen and are not going to be respectful of your opinion.
Get over it before it begins.
Be patient, don’t argue back, and no shouting. It only makes it worse for your neighbors.
7. STAND YOUR GROUND
‘I want chocolate’ – Your toddler.
‘You are not having chocolate’ – You.
‘I want chocolate’ – Your toddler, volume cranked up.
‘It is 3 am, you can’t have chocolate. – You.
You’re tired, you have to get up for work in 4 hours. Your brain is begging you to find an end to this argument so you can get back to bed.
Don’t give in. You must stand your ground.
Above is a demand from my time as a Dad to a toddler going through the terrible two’s. It is still fresh in my mind. This was a time I did not back down for two reasons:
My Wife would have killed me.
My Son would have learned to ask for things in the middle of the night because that is where I am most weak.
They will test you at all times, and they will learn when you are most likely to give in. Make it never. Be strong-willed. Be like an Oak tree.
Obviously, if they are asking for a drink, it is best to give in…..but when you do, give them the option of water or milk. Make them aware that youare deciding to say yes, but youare also deciding what they will be drinking.
8. Set Some Boundaries Man
The terrible two’s are all about pushing to find out where the boundaries are.
Set the boundaries and make sure they are aware.
Obviously, the important boundaries are there because you want them to stay safe and secure. For instance, do not touch electrics, do not go outside without permission or a parent.
Take some time (when they are more susceptible to listening) to walk around the house and discuss with them what they can and can’t do. This really helped me and my Son during the terrible two’s.
Setting boundaries will set their expectations for the consequences when the boundaries are not respected.
9. Do Not Shout
This one will probably be the most challenging for you, it was for me.
When they just WILL NOT listen, it is easy to fall back into the ‘If I shout, they will listen more‘ mindset.
It doesn’t work. There are two reasons why shouting is not the answer:
They will increase their volume.
They will learn that shouting is normal, which reduces the impact even more.
I hold back on the shouting for times when he is just about to put himself in danger.
Because he is not used to me shouting, my Son will listen.
When you do shout (make it a rare occurrence), always explain whyyou shouted, it helps them learn that what they were just about to do might have had severe consequences.
10. Extract Problem From Toddler Brain
Wow – what a challenge! It is worth a try though.
Find out what is actually wrong with your toddler. Find out why they are having a tantrum.
Once you have completed that simple task, why not move out to the middle east and start work on brokering a peace deal.
Kids often get frustrated because they are always told ‘NO, you can’t do that’. Their reaction is anger because they are not used to dealing with the emotional state they are going through.
Make a conscious effort to encourage and reward good behavior. That act alone will pay dividends both during the terrible two’s and long into the future!
Being a 2-year-old is challenging. They want to do so many things because they see other kids doing them, but they do not have the ability just yet – it must be frustrating!
It is your job to guide them through this time and set them on a good path for the future!
If you are going through the terrible two processes at the moment, I really hope these tips will help you out. If you can think of any more tips, please let me know by leaving a comment below!