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How do I raise a toddler?(18 Posts)
My DD has recently turned 1. She's mostly a total delight, but wilful, and she does drive me crazy at times. I have had to work hard not to lose my temper recently.
She's already demonstrating tantrum like behaviour if I don't let her do something she wants to do. If I have to take a object from her/change her nappy/get her dressed/put her in her buggy... she cries and arches her back, chucks her head back howling, throws herself on the floor. She doesn't want to be held or hugged. I'm working hard on using distractions, but don't really know what I'm doing.
Obviously not looking to break her spirit, but any recommendations or books on how to tolerate this behaviour would be really helpful. I want to do my best to get through the really hard bits and to help her deal with her frustration.
Hang in there, it won't last. Just be consistent, if it's objection to getting dressed etc then just do it anyway, she has to learn that she can't win by having a tantrum, I know shes only 1 but it's easier to get that through to a 1 year old than a 2 year old.
If she's having a tantrum because she's tired / fed up / you gave her triangle toast, either ignore it or just sit down next to her until she calms down then have a cuddle. She needs reassurance and love but at the same time, boundaries, even tiny boundaries. Ultimately you'll find your own way of dealing with all this, toddlers in my experience are a whole bunch of trial and error!
This whole arching the back not getting the seat, dressed etc. Is a phase though. Good luck, you're doing a grand job x
Boundaries and empathy. I think it takes a lot of patience, but staying calm and firm and reassuring her will help. They have big feelings and need your help to deal with them.
I'm on my second toddler op and I still don't really know!
Last time I tried my best to be patient and remind myself that her sense of reason had not developed! I let her 'win' a few battles, (such as not holding hands when not in pushchair) which I learnt from, as it took me until she had any reasoning ability to sort this out. I learnt also that everything is worse when they are tired and/or hungry which tbh is quite often, so it will happen and don't beat yourself up about it. Every little thing is a phase.
With DS I have been firmer about a few things. He still has tantrums of course, (he's 18mo) but I try less hard to pacify him, and I explain what he has to do and camly get on with sorting it, even if he's shouting and screaming about it.
I feel when the child is one, the tantrums are mainly because they can't communicate as well as they want.
They want something to change, but they can't express to you what they want and it frustrates them.
The "real" tantrums are when they are a bit older, and you tell them they can't have or do something. Wait for these, oh they are fun
All I can say is be patient, never raise your voice, offer a nice cuddle and calm down after x
I second patience and ignoring the tantrum. Just carry on with whatever it is you need to do. They soon learn that tantrums get them nowhere and find other ways to communicate. It is a phase and it does end
OP, my son has also just turned one and is exactly the same. He hates getting dressed, having his nappy changed, being told no, having his toothbrush taken off him, having his bib put on, when he can't reach the book he wants... etc etc etc. I'm hoping it's just a phase. One seems far too young for toddler tantrums!
Yeah they do that.
And then they grow out of it and do other stuff and you have to figure out what you're going to do about that. It's hard work.
Personally, just like PP, I TRY to be calm & patient and to pick my battles - decide which things are absolutely non-negotiable (eg things where giving them their own way would compromise their safety... and I would say also it's a good idea to start to insist to acknowledging basic respect for other people...) and then be completely consistent about things (straps in carseats, not hitting people etc) that are important.
Calm is the key, arguing with toddlers to useless... and don't get into negotiations either because it'll never end. It's either yes or it's no, YOU have to decide which and then, crucially, stick with the decision. Sometimes a "cross voice" is necessary but I find if I genuinely lose my temper the whole thing gets a million times harder...
...but sometimes, like every other human being I DO lose my temper, and feel crap about it after, but that doesn't help either! Basically, hang in there and try not to stress... (and if you figure out that please let me know how...)
I find the Supernanny book/TV series with Jo Frost very helpful... and also Heidi Murkoff's "What to Expect...The Toddler Years" ... for reassurance/suggestions ...
It sounds like you've got the hang of things though. Patience is key! The way I keep my cool even now DD is almost 5 is by pretending that the only reason she's behaving the way she is is to get me to crack. I'm well aware that it's actually nothing to do with me and everything to do with how she's feeling, but it helps me keep a level head by pretending that if I crack and lose my shit then I've lost and she's won So I keep calm and composed and it means I feel like I'm winning even when she's not giving in
DS (3) is currently going through a phase of making a perfectly reasonable request (the other day it coming with him to the toilet to switch the light for him) and then changing his mind. Then when you stop doing the thing he's requested because he's said he doesn't want it, he'll then change his mind again. Whatever you do you can't win and it will always end in a tantrum. So that's super fucking fun!
I found reading Janet Lansbury's No Bad Kids helped me find my feet parenting my toddlers. I don't actually agree with everything she says but I do with the general goal (setting limits and discipline without fear or bribery) and feel more confident "making it up as I go" after reading it.
Yes ignore tantrums and distract. Sing a song whilst you're changing her, give her a toy to hold/look at. Tickle her tummy, make it a game. Try not to say no when it's not really necessary. Have a few things that are "no tolerance" e.g. nappy changing, tooth brushing but let them have what they want now and then if it's not too much trouble. Don't try and control something that can't be controlled. They're too young to understand.
Try and turn everything into a positive. Dc respond much better to positive vibes and rewards, than a lot of "no" responses. Oh you did that so well! (even if they're screaming their head off).
There is a phase though where they are challenging in terms of changing them . It's just one to get through, it will pass. You're not hurting her and it has to be done.
It may sound silly, but are you giving her as much independence and choice when you can? Obviously I don't mean regarding non negotiables such as safety issues. But do you engage her in the process of nappy changes and getting dressed etc? I've noticed a big impact on my 1 year olds behaviour since trying things like 'we are going to change your nappy now, can you bring me the wipes?' . It's sort of hard to explain but it's trying to think about doing things with her rather than to her. So actually I disagree with previous posters who advise distracting DD with toys during nappy changes: I'm trying to get my DD to help by lying down or moving her legs herself rather than me making her do it.
The other thing I wonder is if you are giving her warning of transitions, such as 'when you've finished breakfast we're going to get dressed then go out in the buggy' then 'time to get dressed so we can go out in the buggy' then 'time to get in the buggy so we can go to the park' etc.
I can't say I have the answers as my 22mo certainly tests me! But some suggestions which have helped me...
I find routine helps - toddlers seem reassured and feel more grown up when they know what's coming next and can go and do it themself. So during the week DD has breakfast, washes her hands and face, cleans her teeth, gets dressed, then shoes and coat, then buggy to nursery. It's a lot easier getting out the house than at the weekend when we generally don't have to be anywhere and everything slides and ends in a tantrum.
Also give choices where possible - 2 outfits or bibs to choose from etc.
And get them to help - fetching nappy and wipes, setting the table (good distraction at dinner time when they are generally tired and hungry) etc.
Teach them right from wrong and guide them down the right path; let them make some decisions but you are the parent and loving them unconditionally alongside discipline is a good place to start.
I am no expert. However I find these help:
Flexibility. Toddlers change all the time. They want to assert their independence and try out new skills. It can be gruelling but you've got to roll with it and keep adjusting your parenting and their environment. It's tempting to try and prevent them doing new things that make life bloody difficult but they need to try things to progress. My daughter, for instance, will only go down the stairs walking now (not on her belly, not on her bum). It is bloody annoying because there's a dangerous bit with no handholds but rather than try and prevent it (causing mega-tantrums) we're working on teaching her to hold hands on the dangerous bit.
Choices, as a pp mentioned: works a treat
YY to 'get them involved'
I find tantrums at nearly-2 easier than at 1. At 1, DD did not want to be held during a tantrum, she just went rigid and shrieked. At 2-ish DD is quite verbal and can be explained to. She responds well to hugs. If she's beyond it, I just lie her on the floor somewhere safe and wait til she stops yelling.
Top tip for toothbrushing: 2 toothbrushes. Have one for yourself, let them hold one. Sing toothbrushing song, refer to it as a 'game'.
LOADS of praise for good stuff.
Bribery in moderation is fine. DD hates the pushchair. I use it as little as possible but have to use it for nursery pickup. I tell her she can have a biscuit if she gets in. She gets in. No-one screams in the way home. Result.
Of course sometimes they want two completely impossible things at once, in which case you're done for. Just ride it out
I love some of these tips, thanks all. Currently despairing at my 2.3yo wilful dc3, who started terrible twos at one also.
No idea how I successfully got dcs 1&2 to ages 7&9, as he's making me question every aspect of my parenting. Never experienced anything so challenging with them! But I will reread this thread tomorrow and start focusing on the inner calm. And breathe. Thank you.
This is all such helpful stuff, thank you. We've had a few moments in the last couple of days where I've just gritted my teeth and remained very (outwardly) calm!
The whole idea of trying to develop some good habits and boundaries at 1 rather than 2 has been really useful. I'm sure there will be times when she'll be a complete handful but I just wanted to have a few things in my arsenal.
Have been thinking about reading 'No bad kids' for a while now so will give it a go.
YY to the double toothbrush and praise. I'll try to give her options, warnings about activities and involve her more from now on.
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