Is your toddler fighting, biting, kicking, not going to sleep?
Most parents face frustrating behavior problems during the toddler years. The good news is that there are simple strategies to help alleviate your struggle.
I have put together a short video for you offering my advice for parents dealing with common toddler behavior problems.
(If you’d rather read than watch, there’s a link to a full transcript below.)
Be sure to check out “KIDS, THE MANUAL” for the fastest and easiest way to eliminate problem behavior in kids aged 2-12… Guaranteed! It’s full of tips for parents, along with simple, step-by-step methods to quickly and calmly eliminate behavior problems in children.View the Video Transcript
Dana Obleman: Hi there. I’m Dana Obleman. Welcome to this week’s video blog. Today I wanted to talk a bit about toddlers. I noticed on the blog and on the Facebook page, that there are lots of you struggling with toddlers. Believe me, I remember the toddler years very clearly. It is a very exciting time in your child’s life. It’s a very adorable time in your child’s life. It’s also a very frustrating time in your child’s life, for you and your child. They are learning so much at such a rapid pace learning to become an independent person, learning to express themselves in appropriate and inappropriate ways. It can be just a real struggle.
Because I saw so many people expressing some frustration around toddler sleep, toddler behavior, fighting, biting, kicking, not going to bed, not sleeping all night, I thought it would be a good idea to just talk a little bit about toddler behavior in general. I’m going to give you a few pointers to take to your specific problem whether it’s sleep or hitting, or those sorts of things that go on and apply some of those strategies.
My favorite quote about a toddler is, “A toddler is like a night watchman. They go around checking all the doors, but they don’t want to find any open.” I reminded myself daily of that quote, when I experienced my three toddlers, at different times; that they are boundary pushers, that what’s going on in their little mind is, Where does my will start and end, and what happens if I do this, or do this, or do that? It’s all about learning how to survive in this world. What do I need to do to get you to do the things that I want done?
In its purest form, we could call it manipulation. It’s really all about learning what strategies work, what strategies don’t. What toddlers, typically, tend to gravitate toward is using negative or, let’s call it bad behavior. That seems to be the easiest to go to. It’s much more difficult to be a polite person and a kind person, and a positive person.
It’s often easier to go down the negative. We all know that. Toddlers tend to go there first. That’s when you get the whining, and you get the hitting, and you get the taking, and the not sharing, and the not going to bed. That’s their way of testing boundaries. To keep in mind that toddlers are extremely black and white.
They will force you to become black and white as well. If you give little bits here and there, let’s say bedtime, for example. If you have a great bedtime routine going with your toddler, and tonight, out of the blue, she says, “Well, I’d like an extra story.” You think, “Oh well, she’s been really good today. Let’s give her an extra story.”
Uh oh. Now the boundary has budged. Tomorrow night she might ask for a story and to bring an extra baby to bed. Again you’re thinking, “Oh well, she’s been good. Let’s do it.” Now the boundary has shifted some more.
Now it’s let’s leave the hall light on. Let’s have some blueberries before bed. Let’s put socks on. They push and they push and they push in small ways to find out wherein lies the boundary. When will you stop this madness? When will you bring back that security of knowing exactly what the rules are?
That’s the next thing. I want you to always keep in mind about your toddler, is that they like even though they push against it they like consistency, they like boundaries, they like rules, they honestly do not like not knowing what is expected of them.
It’s like working for a boss. When you come in one day and they’re Jekell, and the next day they’re Hyde. You have no idea what their expectations are for you. That’s a terrible working environment. No one enjoys a boss like that. Keep that in mind with your toddler. Even though sometimes you feel like the bad guy and you’re doing lots of consequences, and lots of reminders about what’s appropriate, that is where they feel the most secure.
Remind yourself of your child’s age constantly. One thing I see lots of parents do is overtalking issues. One thing to keep in mind, I want you to, when you’re dealing with your toddler, you take this one little nugget of advice and apply it in the next few days, you’ll notice a significant change.
That is offering choice. You’ve got a toddler here who wants to feel like they have a bit of power in their life, but not too much. Give two choices around an issue. Let’s say, it’s jammy time, and this is an area where your child stalls, or puts up a fight about jammy time. Say, “OK, it’s the red jammies or the blue jammies. Which one do you want?” Now you’ve given them a little bit of authority in it. “Oh, I get to pick which jammies I want? That’s fun.” They’ll pick the jammies, and you’ll move on to the next thing.
It’s two stories. Which two stories, out of these three, do you want tonight? Or, “Which one story out of these two books, do you want tonight”? Giving them a little bit of choice in things. If at all possible, the choice should only be between two things. They cannot think much further than that. Two things, “It’s this one or it’s that one, which do you want”? At snack time, “It’s apples or it’s grapes, which do you want”? You’ll find that you will ease any tensions around your will versus theirs, if you give a little bit of choice.
Keep all those things in mind as you go through the toddler years. Know that if you put in the work, the pay off comes. When they turn three, and four, and five, you’ve laid a fabulous foundation of skill sets, of consequences, of boundaries, and routines.
Once your child gets through this, it’s going to be not smooth sailing but definitely you’re going to feel like, “OK, we’ve turned the corner. We’ve got some really good things established here.” It’s worth the effort, trust me.
Thanks for watching. Sleep well.
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