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childcare centres

18 months to 2 years

SKIP - Ministry of Social Development

Toddlers want to do things for themselves and they want things here and now. They don’t like change and are easily frustrated and bored. They start to test limits and to talk, run and climb. They love being outside and going for walks. Temper tantrums might start around two.

You can:

  • keep your patience and a sense of humour
  • give your child advance warning if you would like them to do something "in a little while…"
  • balance independence with limits - "you can drink out of a mug but you have to sit on the floor"
  • look for things to praise, try not to give lots of attention to bad behaviour
  • keep limits simple and consistent
  • begin toilet training if your child shows interest
  • give limited choices. Ask if they want to wear the blue shirt or the yellow shirt - not which shirt they want to wear (it will be the one in the wash)
  • explain things as much as you can
  • tell your child what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do
  • involve your child in what you’re doing. Get them to hand you the pegs, or to get the letters out of the mail box
  • try not to let your child make you do things by having tantrums
  • don’t pressure your child if they are tired
  • if your child does have a tantrum make sure they’re safe, and try to ignore them. When it’s all over praise them for calming down, don’t tell them off
  • try to anticipate difficult times and avoid if you can
  • if you can see your child is getting angry or frustrated, try to redirect them.

Let the housework wait if they need you now – give them that time.