You made it through the infant stage. Your little baby is growing, and you’re hopefully getting more sleep. But now you’re on to the toddler stage, and you may find yourself wondering how to transition to this phase. Are you doing the right thing? Are you setting enough boundaries? Most importantly, are you showing your child enough love, support, and affection? If you’re worried about taking on this next stage of parenting, we’ve listed a few important tips for parenting a toddler below. Don’t worry—you’re more than capable!
Spend Quality Time Together
This tip should last throughout your relationship with your child. Close parent-child relationships start with spending a lot of quality time together. An important aspect of this is to not think too hard about it—just do it! Even though you’re probably exhausted from caring for your toddler, the more time you spend with them, the more affection they’ll see from you.
Know Your Child’s Limits
To help prevent or at least lessen those inevitable tantrums, work on understanding and learning your child’s limits. A lot of the time, toddlers have tantrums because they don’t understand what you’re asking of them. This frustrates them, resulting in temper flares. If you’re trying something new or a bit difficult, take it slow and explain everything thoroughly.
This is vital for parents to remember: sometimes your toddler will break the rules. That’s okay! What’s most important is how you react to that. Encourage your child to cooperate by teaching them that there are consequences for “bad” behavior. Make sure to discourage disobedience by withholding privileges or setting time-outs. Set specific consequences to certain actions—for example, if they don’t pick up their toys, then you’ll take away the toys for a day. Whatever consequences you choose to enforce, make sure to do so consistently.
Get this started as soon as possible. Toddlers are rarely aware that things they may find fun (biting, pulling, grabbing toys from children) can hurt somebody else. If the situation is severe enough, you can partner the consequences we talked about above with some empathy-focused statements: “When you bite or pull at people, it hurts them,” or “When you take someone else’s toys, they feel sad.” If the situation isn’t that severe, just stick with the empathy—it helps children realize how their behavior directly affects others.