Understanding Challenging Toddler Behaviors & How to React

Of course we all love our kids more than life itself. And of course they love us just as much back. However, sometimes it really does feel like these tiny little humans have a personal vendetta to drive us bat sh*t crazy! What we have to realize is that at 2 & 3 years old, their defiant & bad behavior is not a personal attack. They’re generally just trying to test their boundaries and learn about the world around them. So here’s some behaviors, why they happen, and what to do about them.

  • The Demolition Man
    Problem: Throwing toys, dumping out every single toy from the toy box, etc.
    – Toddlers are passionate about exploring, discovering, and learning about the world around them. So let them be kids! Just make sure they won’t die (😋) and encourage cleaning up as a fun activity afterwards with a song or game.
  • The big fat “No!”
    Problem: Basic refusal to follow any sort of command
    – Toddlers are learning to become their own individuals and exerting their opinion is part of that process. Acknowledge that their opinions matter but give simple reasons and limited options. An everyday battle we have in our house is eating vegetables. So I ask which veggie he’d like and present him with 2 options, therefore eliminating his option to say no but also still allowing him the independence to make a decision for himself.
  • The WWE Match
    Problem: Hitting, kicking, bitting, etc.
    – Toddlers get frustrated easily because they are learning to communicate and also learning to control their emotions. They often express themselves through physical means. Set up clear and specific rules about acceptable behavior & simple consequences for bad behavior. Toddlers will repeatedly try to push the boundaries so consistency and follow through is a must. It also helps if toddlers are well rested and have a safe place to release their energy. Generally Harrison exhibits this behavior when he’s overtired or overstimulated.
  • Tantrums
    Problem: Kinda self explanatory. Every single child throws tantrums and they come in all shapes & sizes. And it’s all completely & totally normal.
    – Tantrums are part of kids learning to control their emotions. Take a deep breath, stay calm, speak evenly, acknowledge the cause of the tantrum (when appropriate), and just wait it out. My signature move? Crossing my arms & checking my pretend watch while asking if he’s done yet. It’s super important to generally not give in to anything they want while having a tantrum because then they’ll learn that that bad behavior is rewarded and will keep repeating it in order to get what they want.
  • The Tasmanian Devil
    Problem: Spinning, running laps, jumping on furniture, i.e. constant motion.
    – Toddlers have lots of energy. It can be frustrating and even embarrassing. But you gotta learn to just roll with it. I have a very hyperactive little boy that gets very excited & happy when out and about. This window of life is so small for them…let them be little and enjoy it 💖

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