Manage Toddler’s Behaviours Part 1
Updated: Apr 5
Is your toddler having behaviours problems like biting, hitting, pulling, crying, lying, shyness and pestering?
In this article, I will be sharing situations that cause each behaviour and suggestions on how to manage each behaviour.
Biting, Hitting and Pulling in toddlers
Source: Facebook Video
Biting, hitting and pulling are parts of the normal development of behaviours in the toddler.
The toddler might bite, hit or pull because the toddler is genuinely angry, upset or hurt or copy something seen other toddlers do.
Managing the toddler’s biting, hitting and pulling
If the toddler keeps biting, hitting or pulling, the parent
- shows the toddler that the parent is still in control.
- stays calm, tells the toddler ‘No hitting! Hitting hurts. Time out’.
- apologies to another toddler and parent if the toddler hits or bites or pulls another toddler
- explains that the behaviour is unacceptable and teaches the toddler ‘feelings’ words to use such as "You looked upset".
- moves away from the toddler if the toddler is trying to get the parent’s attention.
- seeks professional help if tried all ways to manage the toddler’s behaviour.
- praises the toddler when the toddler tries to react to situations in a non-violent manner.
If you are looking to help the toddler to make friends, do check out our article on "How to make friends and learn to share? "
The toddler cries because of hungry, tired, uncomfortable or needs affection like babies BUT has more control over crying than babies.
Manage the toddler’s crying
- Try to work out why the toddler is crying.
If the toddler is…
- tired, gives the toddler quiet time or time to rest.
- angry, puts the toddler at a place to calm down.
- frustrated, tries to work out a solution together.
- cranky, takes the toddler for a walk, gives a bubble bath, or plays music and dances around.
- Avoid giving in to the crying toddler who wants something the parent doesn’t want the toddler to have.
This tends to lead to even more crying next time and might start a pattern of behaviour that can be hard to change later.
Our article on "tantrums" suggests other ways to soothe the crying toddler.
The toddler lie to
- cover something up without scolding from the parents.
- get something that the toddler wants.
For example, saying to dada, “Mama lets me have ice cream”.
Manage the toddler’s lying
- Encourage honesty.
For example, Mama asked the toddler; “Did you eat your brother’s food?” If yes, it is ok. I will give the brother more food. Thank you for being honest. This sends the message that the parent won’t get upset if the toddler owns up to something did. If the toddler keeps insisting no or didn’t reply, do not press for an answer.
- Try reading books to the toddler that highlight the importance of honesty. For example, ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’ gives a good example of how lying can work against the toddler.
- If the toddler lies again, let the toddler knows that lying is not OK by using an appropriate discipline strategy.
- Try to avoid saying the toddler is a liar. This will affect the toddler’s self-esteem and might lead to even more lying.
Visit here for more details on "Bonding and Connecting with the toddler". This helps the toddler to share honestly with the parent next time.
Slow to warm up (Shyness)
Shyness is one type of temperament. The toddler with shy temperaments tends to be uncomfortable with social interactions and keeps away from social situations.
Manage the toddler’s shyness
- Stay with the toddler in social situations such as playdates while encouraging the toddler to explore.
- Move away for short periods when the toddler gets more comfortable.
- Try to model confident social behaviour so the toddler can watch and learn from the parent.
For example, when someone says hello, always say hello back.
- Praise the toddler when the toddler tries to respond to others, use eye contact or play with other toddlers.
"Wondering how to help your Toddler Development?" Here are some ways you can try out!
When the toddler keeps asking for things the parent won’t give and doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Pestering might put the parent in embarrassing or stressful situations. For example, the toddler shows whining or tantrums on the floor in public places.
Manage the toddler’s pestering
- Avoid giving in to the pestering toddler. When the parent says No, stick to it. If the parent gives in, the toddler learns that pestering works and the toddler will keep pestering. After saying No, try to distract the toddler with something else.
For example, we need mangoes, can you help me find them?
- Reduce pestering. Lay down some ground rules before going shopping. Praise and reward the toddler for good shopping behaviour.
For example, if the toddler can get through this shopping trip without asking for stuff, we will go to Macdonald for dinner. Be aware of advertising through the TV, radio, internet, newspapers and junk mail.
- Stay calm when the toddler is pestering.
2. Count to ten to calm down.
3. Respond to the toddler.
I hope all these suggestions will help you to manage your toddler’s behaviours and your toddler will behave better.
Check out our article on "Managing Tantrums".
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