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Understanding your toddler’s behaviour

As your toddler grows more independent, they’ll start to test the limits of what they can and can’t do. This stage is an essential part of learning and adjusting to social situations, but it isn’t always easy - for either of you.

By allowing your wee one to develop in this way, you’ll help them to discover new abilities, but also that what they want to do may sometimes be unsafe, and could also hurt or upset other people.

The boundaries you create are vital to help your kids feel safe and make the world that little bit easier to understand. No child can feel confident if they have unlimited freedom or responsibility. But, they will test the boundaries you set. This is the way they start to understand themselves and the world.

Too much uncertainty can lead to anxiety and stress for toddlers and young children. It can be hard to create a predictable world for your child. The usual stresses of life are tricky enough to manage. But there are things you can do to help their world feel a bit more stable.

Remember that every child and every family are different, and ups and downs are part and parcel of being a parent. But there are a few tried and tested tricks that can help make it easier to deal with your toddler’s behaviour

What the parents say

‘Things have changed since I was a mum so I have to bite my tongue sometimes when my daughter does things differently to me.’

Tricia, 48, gran to Amie, 18 months, and Dylan, 3

‘Ellie’s always at me to buy her something when we’re out. The health visitor told me to ignore it and stick to my guns. I try, but sometimes I give in for an easy life.' 

Pauline, 38, mum to Ellie, 2, and Ross, 5

Being a parent is the best job in the world, but it can also be one of the most stressful. There will be days when it all feels a little too much. To help you manage the challenges ahead, Parent Club has some tips on coping with being a parent and keeping calm with your wee one so you can build a rewarding relationship together.

Animation of cartoon character frustration meter

Animation of cartoon character frustration meter

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Behaviour Behaviour tips Toddler (1-3 years)

Last updated: 22 Nov, 2021