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Terrible Two’s, they say, aka: Tantrums!!

Defiant behavior and lots of frustrations are a time of great stress for parents but a quickly passing milestone.

At this stage, your child will want to explore their environment on their terms and do what they want – all normal behavior.

So don’t sweat the small stuff and try and incorporate some of the suggestions listed below.



  1. Don’t have the language skills -they cannot express what they want or need.

  2. Want to practice the skills they have mastered - they are trying to assert their independence.

  3. They might not have the patience to wait their turn - They want to be in control.

  4. Learning about emotions has far too many (or maybe too few) limits.

  5. Their basic needs are not being met - they are tired, hungry, thirsty etc.

  6. Mood swings - They are over stimulated or just plain bored.


  1. Distract, distract, distract Toddlers have very short attention spans, so use this to your advantage. Introduce another option whilst not ignoring their feelings or recognizing their need to express them. i.e. communicate with your child.

  2. Give your child the words Many toddler tantrums stem from the fact that the child does not know how to tell you what they want. It is important to be aware of this and slow down so that you can model the words they should use when they are frustrated and need something. As they begin to use their new vocabulary, your toddler will require less and less prompting. The more words they use, the less behavior will be required to communicate with.

  3. Ignore (the behavior, but not the child) Sometimes, you as a parent can do nothing to snap the toddler out of a tantrum. In this case, try to ignore the “tantrum” as best as possible and focus on teaching the appropriate behavior.

  4. In this case, ignore the negative behavior and give attention to others around you who are behaving correctly or displaying positive behavior.

  5. Take a break/change the situation Remove the toddler (or yourself) from the situation that is causing the frustration and when they are ready, give them extra love.

  6. Change the environment If the child is feeling “housebound”, “claustrophobic” from being restrained for too long, change the location, e.g. go outside, stop shopping etc.

  7. Set the limit - and follow through Toddlers are always testing boundaries and figuring out the rules. There are so many rules that they do not understand or know yet. As a parent, it is our responsibility to teach our children how things work and set expectations and consequences. Being consistent, however, is critical! Parents who are inconsistent and often change the rules tend to confuse and frustrate their toddlers, leading to further tantrums. Make your limits simple, reasonable and enforceable.

  8. Plan

  • Bring snacks if you will be out running errands and you think your child will be hungry/thirsty.

  • Try not to plan events for when your toddler should be napping/in bed, etc.

  • Do not over-schedule your day.

  • Bring toys or other items to distract your child whilst you are out and about.

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