The Challenging Toddler

All toddlers have their fair share of difficult behaviour. Parenting a toddler is by no means an easy task and takes a daily dose of patience. Some toddlers, however, seem to shout louder, tantrum more, run faster, and climb higher than others.

Managing the challenging toddler becomes paramount to parent sanity. It is better to strategically manage the situation than to constantly be running from one potential catastrophe to the next. 

Adorable 3 year old boy covered in bright paint.

  • Toddlers are better at managing situations that are predictable and have clear boundaries. You may find that your little one acts out a bit more when he is feeling insecure. Prepare him for what is happening from one moment to the next by discussing how the day will run. It can help to have a chart with pictures of daily activities to complement your words. Try not to overload the day. Prepare your toddler also for what behaviours are expected of him, e.g. when going to the shops. Setting the boundaries and explaining the expectations beforehand helps your toddler understand what is happening and how to behave.
  • Consistency is probably one of your strongest tactics – parents who are consistent in their expectations and responses tend to be more effective in instilling boundaries with their toddlers. Make sure that you stick to the ground rules you have laid out for your toddler, and if you have to implement a consequence, follow through and stick to it.
  • Children are more willing to follow adult instructions when they feel a strong positive connection with that adult. Give lots of cuddles and spend time together every day in a safe environment where you don’t have to say “no” too much. Allow your child to take the lead in her play with you and give her your undivided attention.
  • Lastly, learn to read your toddler’s cues and identify when she is feeling tired, hungry or overstimulated. Help her calm down by toning things down a bit – dimming the lights, having a warm bath, reading a story. It also helps to lower your own voice as this requires that she quieten down in order to hear you. Remember that overstimulated and tired toddlers are often a force to be reckoned with so managing these trigger early will often work in your favour.


Read on for more parenting tips…