Toddler tips.

Parenting a toddler can be extremely challenging and utterly exhausting. While your toddler is naturally enthusiastic and energetic, they may sometimes behave like a little terror, making you feel as though you’ve got absolutely no idea where to start!

Try Our Tips for Toddler Taming

Child-proof the House

Between their newly found independence, and their newly acquired skill of walking, toddlers can be hard to manage indoors. Save yourself the headache of saying ‘no’ all the time and lock up (or put out of reach) your valuables. Gate any area that is either dangerous (bathroom or stairs) or precious (the dining room full of glassware) but make sure too that you haven’t boxed them into such a tiny space that they’ll get restless.

Divert and Distract

It may seem sometimes that your toddler is contrary by nature, but really they just want what they want and they want it NOW! When reasoning and explaining doesn’t work – ‘No, you can’t go outside because it’s dark, raining and bedtime’ – try diverting their attention with an activity they can enjoy with you. Try ‘racing’ with them to their bedroom – there’s nothing a toddler likes more than being chased!


Always remember that these are a normal part of your toddler’s growth, so take heart if they seem to be chucking a wobbly every single day – they won’t go on forever. Take note of what sets them off (tiredness/the supermarket/over-stimulation) and perhaps try and avoid those triggers for a while.

Give Attention

Toddlers are really just very big babies with shoes on, so make sure that you give them as much attention and one-on-one time as you gave them when they were a babe-in-arms. This can be particularly challenging if a new baby enters the family, but your toddler needs you just as much as your newborn does, so perhaps try to have some activities lined up that you can do with your toddler in those rare moments of peace.


Some toddlers are particularly aggressive and can find it difficult to spend any time at all with other children before there is an altercation. While some aggression is normal and healthy, if you do have an overly aggressive child, you need to teach him to be aware of their feelings and encourage them to express them by using words rather than actions. Encourage them to find activities that will allow them to vent their aggressive feelings in a constructive way – hammering and sawing, cutting, throwing a ball, banging musical instruments together.

Clinging and Grizzling

All toddlers cling and grizzle a bit, but if you have a particularly demanding toddler, you may need to give them more attention than they are getting. Make sure you give them lots of cuddles and avoid pushing them away – even if the clinginess is driving you mad – as it will only make their cling a little harder! To avoid becoming irritated by their clinginess, try to find ways that you can incorporate it into your daily life. Try sitting them on the kitchen bench so they can watch you work, instead of having them at your feet grabbing at you.

Take Some Time for Yourself

It’s very easy to lose your sense of humour when you’re down in the trenches with a toddler, so try to take a little time for yourself on regular basis. It will restore your perspective and remind you that the world is bigger than your kitchen. Even putting your toddler into a pram and going for a walk will give you some down time, as your toddler engages in the sights and sounds around them.

Be Consistent in your Reaction to Car Bickering

Parenting a toddler can be extremely challenging and utterly exhausting. While your toddler is naturally enthusiastic and energetic, they may sometimes behave like a little terror, making you feel as though you’ve got absolutely no idea where to start!

Each of us has a different tolerance level for car fighting. Regardless of what yours is, you must be consistent about it, and you must make your children aware of it. Tell them: “if you two fight, that is none of my business. But you may not be so loud in your fights that you distract me from driving safely.

Do not let it go one day and jump down the children’s throats the next. If you are having a particularly bad day and cannot tolerate even a small amount of typical car fighting, let your children know in advance: “I have a huge headache today and I will not be able to stand any fighting at all. I need you to cooperate and control yourselves in the car. This is your fair warning.” If you say it like you mean it, they will get the message and comply.

When the Fighting Hits your Limit, you Must React.

Pull your car over to the side of the road. Stop the engine, turn around, and say, “I cannot drive safely with the noise and distraction from your fighting. Do you think you can stop?” Wait for a response. If you get an obligatory but insincere yes, and you see that the fighting seems on the verge of continuing, you may add, “I will wait until you are going to stop.”

Then pull out your book, rummage through your purse, but do not move, look back, or pay attention to the fighters. When the fight appears to have genuinely stopped, get going again. If it continues, pull over to the side of the road again. Stop the car, get out, close your door. Go to the rear passenger door, open it and say, “I will not drive anywhere while this loud fighting is going on. I am going to wait until you are done.”

Then stand by the side of the road, not looking at your children at all. Turn your back on the car. Breathe. Go through your wallet . . . anything. When it seems that things have calmed down, get back in the car and continue. Regardless of how late this action will make you, follow through. It gives your children a very clear message about what is and isn’t acceptable in your car.

Work Hard not to Appear Angry

If you let your exasperation show, you will take car fighting to a different level. Children may not fight in the car because it is the rule, it isn’t safe, and it is within their control. Do not pollute the message by making it be about pleasing you.