I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief and quickly head toward the checkout of the grocery store as I watched a young mom of a toddler struggle to find her sanity deep in the cereal aisle.
While good and evil fought for my spirit, one telling me to stop and help, and the other to run like a mad woman out the door, I quickly remembered the baker’s dozen of toddler traits that defined my world for 26 months of my life.
Related read: 3 Things Parents Do Differently When Their Child Becomes a Toddler
Although I can now refer to the actions as “toddler traits,” any parent knee-deep in this phase knows all too well that each day (every hour, actually) can be a mixed bag of patience-testers. You just never know what you will get at any given time. To lighten the mood and for the sake of brevity since most parents of toddlers have only a few minutes at a time to do anything the least bit self-absorbing, I give you the rationale and reality of why your child does what they are doing and one great tip to get through each.
Toddler Trait: Hitting and Biting
A toddler using aggressive behavior is actually part of their development. Along with that, a whole host of emerging gross and fine motor skills. It’s like one day they realize “hey, these things in my mouth can actually be used for other things too.” Together along with an undeveloped impulse control makes for a toddler-phase combination.
Sanity Saver: The teeth are not fangs. Ok, bad answer. Stay calm. While it is shocking to the parent because adults know it is wrong, you have to teach your child this is inappropriate behavior. Reminding that hands are for carrying, waving, grabbing, and teeth are for food will help this become a teaching moment.
Toddler Trait: Interrupting
A toddler interrupts because he or she is impulsive. They don’t know or understand what interrupting means. At two years old, it’s not there.
Sanity Saver: This is about a one year phase. Manners can be taught but knowing that your child is in a phase will allow you to know that trying to have a focused call at 10am will not work; schedule calls and your TV time when your child naps.
Toddler Trait: Lying
A toddler who is lying is just being a toddler. They can not grasp fantasy vs. reality–just think about the TV shows. To a toddler, the world they see is real and all the actions and colorful characters in that world.
Sanity Saver: Chill. Listen. Laugh. Sure, you will want to remind Timmy that it was he who colored on the wall, but remind him the truth is always forgiven.
Toddler Trait: Screaming
A screaming toddler is seeking attention. Period. Keep in mind, they don’t understand loud and soft volume nor, that screaming is bad. They just know their voice gets REALLY LOUD and, they have no problem using it to get your attention, anywhere, anytime.
Sanity Saver: This is the phase where you need to seek out places that are conducive to being loud. Easily, this eliminates church, story time and fancy restaurants. Instead, opt for playgrounds, the beach, the skating rink or a ball game. Teach your child where it is appropriate to scream and when –and how, to take it down a notch.
Toddler Trait: Whining
Ick. Whether a toddler, teen, or adult, whining is one trait you must nip in the bud. Whining typically signifies a child who is feeling powerless and does not know other ways to express himself. And, when parents put off or ignore a child pre-whiny,and the child escalates to a whiny tone, they then get attention. This creates a less-than-positive action-reaction.
Sanity Saver: Identify what makes your child whine. Is it hunger, sleep, or boredom? Most children fall into one of those categories. Once identified, avoid the triggers that test your toddler. You can also, in a non-mocking and non-threatening way, video your child whining and video your child in a regular tone and show the difference. This will help your child understand actions instead of words. Seeing their own behavior resonates much quicker than you just saying so (think of the learning shows on TV).
Do you have a successful toddler tip that you’d like to share? We would love to hear from you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming blog. Visit PersonalBabyProducts.com andPersonalizedKidsPlates.com to stay up-to-date on topics, tips and articles written especially for parents. We welcome you to share, repost and re-tweet our news, ideas and stories with your social network.