Parenting a Cranky Toddler

Nancy B. Alston

Toddlers are, by design, a little cranky from time to time (perhaps all the time in some cases). It’s a normal thing in the process of going from baby to kid. It’s a time when they’re able to do some things, like enjoy movies. But can’t quite do other things, like decide when the movie gets turned off. It’s not always easy to usher your child through the dos and don’ts without getting frustrated. There are some things, however, you can do to make parenting a cranky toddler a little less stressful.

The terrible twos, as they’re called, can start as early as your child’s first birthday. So don’t worry if your child starts exhibiting some terrible two characteristics before they’re actually two. These things can be biting, freaking out in public, flopping on the ground in resistance to certain activities at home, and many other related activities. It may seem overwhelming at times but here are a couple tips for parenting a cranky toddler:

o Be calm when you’re disciplining your toddler. Don’t fight fire with fire. If you’re screaming your child will scream even louder. A calm and in control voice lets them know you’re not mad but you are the boss.
o Be consistent. Your toddler will react very positively to a set schedule. Eat lunch, take naps, etc, at the same time everyday. It makes their life more comfortable when they know what to expect on a regular basis.
o Don’t give into the tantrums. Also, start implementing timeouts. If you haven’t tried it already, you’ll be surprised how effective the threat of a little timeout can be (after you’ve actually put them in timeout a few times of course).

These three things applied together will reap huge benefits. One of the most important things you can do, however, is to set a good example. Your child is all eyes and ears all the time. Watching how you deal with stress and conflict is one of the main ways they learn how to deal with stress and conflict. So giving them a good example to base their actions from is very important when parenting a cranky toddler!

Overall remember to have fun! The toddler period is one of the best phases for you and your child. By implementing some of these basic techniques and others you’ll be able to spend less time upset or frustrated and more time spending quality time with your little one.

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