Toddlers Behaving Badly

Every parent dreads it: the terrible two's. But Kate Kelly, Managing Editor of American Baby Magazine, has some tips to deal with toddlers behaving badly.

First of all, pick your battles. Not every tantrum deserves to be punished. "Focus on a few things, and then let the others go," says Kelly. "[Some things] are simply annoying, but not a big deal - just let them go and focus on the big problems."

Once you've picked your battles, stay consistent and follow through. You can't punish your child for one thing on Monday, but let it slide on Tuesday. "You can't get lazy," says Kelly.

While the terrible two's can be stressful, try your best not to get emotional. "Any attention is good attention as far as they're concerned," says Kelly. "An exciting reaction, even if it's yelling, may just encourage them to do it again." Stay calm and focused.

And when it comes to scolding, keep it short and simple. Toddlers tend to get lost in long explanations and lengthy speeches about the consequences of their actions. "They're young," says Kelly. "Too many words, and they tune out."

If all else fails, give your toddler a time out. "Experts say one minute per [year]," says Kelly. "So for a two year old, it would be two minutes, if you have a three year old, it would be three minutes." Kelly suggests you put your toddler somewhere boring, in a place that's quiet and without distractions. When the time out is up, calmly bring them back. "Again, be boring," says Kelly.

For more advice on the terrible two's, as well as other parenting topics, click here.


By Erin Petrun
  • Erin Petrun

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