7 Toddler Behavior Troubles (and Tips for Managing Them!)
5. Excessive Crying
Children typically cry for a reason, whether they’re seeking attention or experiencing legitimate fears or worries. But excessive crying is something parents must address. “Figure out why the child is crying and deal with the underlying cause,” says Dr. Muscari. You can do this by simply asking, adds Dr. Haller. Even if it sounds silly, their reasons are very real. If your little one is afraid of being alone in her room at night, or is afraid of “monsters” under the bed, talk with her about her feelings. Make these emotionally-charged situations fun—get out the flashlight and search in the closets and under the bed together.
If you suspect your child is genuinely feeling sad or scared, try to empathize with her. “Acknowledge that your child is upset, and that it makes you upset, too,” says Dr. Haller. But if your little one is in a defiant mood, you may just have to let her calm down on her own.
If an answer still doesn’t come, look for signs of injury or illness, says Dr. Haller. Is your child holding his stomach or head? If so, maybe his tears are a result of not feeling well. Remember, confronting why your child is crying is much more important than putting a stop to the crying.
6. Biting and Hitting
Toddlerhood is a time of raw and often uncontrollable emotions. If you little one suddenly has an aggressive outburst resulting in biting or hitting, make it absolutely clear that you do not approve of this behavior. Be firm, but don’t display violence of your own. “This undercuts your message that violence is bad,” says Dr. Haller. Try a time out when your toddler acts this way. Be sure to discuss with him why he had to take time out and always reinforce positive behavior. Don’t forget to tell him you love him after his quiet time, and that it makes you extremely proud when he doesn’t act out or behave violently.
What can you do when your toddler suddenly wants to do everything on her own? “Use your judgment,” says Dr. Haller. “You know what your child can handle safely and what she can’t.” Be around when she wants to try new things and offer a guiding hand. Strive to help your child to refine her motor and mental skills, while giving her an overall feeling of accomplishment. Think of it this way: your toddler is going to try to do things on her own anyway, so why not be there to help? The key is to try and prevent possible injuries or bruised egos. Of course, if your toddler is trying to do something dangerous, a firm “no” is in order. Safety first!
Toddlerhood is undoubtedly challenging, but with a little perseverance and a lot of patience, your child will grow up and out of these common toddler troubles. It’s a bumpy journey, but before you know it, she’ll be starting kindergarten. So, try to enjoy this time while it lasts—the teenage years are right around the corner!
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