Toddler Times

– Development, Behavior, and Tips –

Toddlers have a high need but low ability for independence. Structure and consistency is not only helpful in their development, but also makes them feel safe – this is because while they want to be in control, they still hold many qualities of a baby in that they want their parent’s to be the ones in charge.

Toddler insight

  • They want some control, but not too many choices or they get overwhelmed
  • They have a short attention span
  • They feel out of control emotionally – similarly to the teen years
  • They have long will and are short on skill
  • They cannot remember rules well and learn through repetition
  • In the best of situations, toddlers have rapid and often intense mood shifts
  • If they are relinquishing control in one area of their lives, like sleep, then it is common to see them rebel in other areas - remain consistent
  • They can appear to become hyper when they are tired
  • They require a lot of exercise

Toddler tips

  • Being in control of your temper is key. You can be firm, but modeling stability
  • Allow them some choice for control – If you want to sit in a big kid chair, then you need to follow the rules. It’s up to you – would you like to sit in a big kid chair and listen or sit in a booster seat? It’s your choice
  • No shaming. If a toddler doesn’t do what you want, execute the consequence, but do not shame. “It was up to you if you were going to follow the table rules. I know you can do better next time"
  • Give them control where you can – putting on their shoes, even if they are on the wrong feet

Meal time tips

Goal: A pleasant family meal with time to connect
  • You cannot control what a child decides to eat, only what they are offered
  • Do not provide snacks within 2.5 hours or so of any meal to ensure they are hungry
  • Be consistent on rules

Rules: Sit at the table until everyone is done, no toys at the table, sitting “nicely”

  • Create a meal time tradition around conversation – What were your favorite parts of the day? One part you didn’t like?
  • Take turns and see where the conversation ends up. Children LOVE to tell stories from their day.
Jo Anna saved us! I truly thought there was no hope for us with our strong willed daughter who fought bedtime for hours every night. But, with Jo Anna's expertise and encouragement and wonderfully designed sleep plan customized for our little one, we were able to completely change bedtime for the whole family. Thank you Jo Anna!
- Julie

Have other questions about your baby's sleep?