Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 10:45 am

If your toddler is lacking in consideration, unaware of social graces and doesn’t have a volume button, it can make social outings – or even time in your own home – rather tricky. So it’s a good idea to have a rehearsed response to the terrible toddler behaviour you are most likely to encounter along the way.

Tantrums and whining

Anyone who says that the terrible twos start at a child’s second birthday and come to an end at the third obviously hasn’t spent that much time around kids. In fact, there’s a good chance you will encounter some infuriating and humiliating toddler whining and tantrums at any point between eighteen months and five years.

For whining or tantrums, try to not reward the behaviour. If your child is whining, remind him in a pleasant voice that you don’t respond to that sound, and give him the opportunity to speak to you nicely. Give him your full attention so that he feels heard, but continue to refuse to respond until he talks in a normal voice.

Unfortunately, if you’re headed into full-scale tantrum, your child is probably incapable of calming down and doing the right thing. Don’t give in to his demands, but don’t try to solve the problem or punish your toddler once he is in full swing. Rather, remove him from the situation as quickly as you can, and provide a safe space for him to calm down. Afterwards you can discuss why his behaviour was inappropriate.

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Learn what triggers his bad behaviour (such as pushing the lift button yourself, cutting a sandwich into squares instead of triangles, or doing activities when he’s tired or hungry), and avoid these when possible.

Also see: 5 tips to cope with toddler tantrums

Fiddling in inappropriate places

Children aren’t born with an innate sense of propriety, so it’s your job as a parent to teach them in a non-judgemental way. Whether it’s nose-picking or fondling genitals, your child needs to understand the distinction between public and private behaviour. Have a conversation to explain this before you leave the house. Then, rather than getting cross or smacking his hand away when it wanders where it shouldn’t, say to him, “Remember, only in the bathroom,” or “Only when you’re at home.”

Get your toddler to learn the line, so you can distract him from his fiddling tendencies by asking him where he’s allowed to do it.

Just not listening

You know that your little darling has heard you, but he ignores you. In fact, if you’ve asked him to stop doing something, he’ll often carry on louder and more persistent.

Toddlers are still understanding their world and testing boundaries – which can make parenting a challenge.

The trick with a stubborn toddler who ignores you is to tell him once what you’d like him to do, warn him of a consequence if he doesn’t listen, and follow through with that consequence. Some moms report that they can deliver on a threat for a year or more before the message sinks in, so don’t expect an overnight improvement. Parenting is a continuous process, and hopefully, at some point in the not-too-distant future, your child will stop doing the things that displease you the most.