Your challenge: Your baby isn't such a baby anymore! Now off and running, asking questions and making preferences known, it can feel like the battle of wills is beginning.
The solution: You're in the precious sweet time between baby and child, meaning in your little one's eyes, you still have all the answers. They also desire to be recognized as their own person, meaning now is an exciting time to empower them in choices (like what shirt to wear) while remaining firm in other areas (like how they can't get away with bad behavior).
Interacting with others: Great as you are, playing with friends their own age introduces children important social skills like sharing and patience. Arrange for a standing playdate where the goal isn't for you to display your best hostessing skills, but rather for the kids to have a safe space to interact and learn together.
Disciplining with love: When your toddler is acting out—as they are known to do—aim to empower them to change their behavior: Explain what action was wrong and why, tell them the positive alternative and then demonstrate your confidence in them by saying, "I know that next time you will share your toy," or whatever it may be. They may not be able to repeat the words back to you, but toddlers do have remarkably good comprehension.
Overcoming eating battles: As children gain autonomy, your once-good eater may start saying "no" to anything on the plate. Often, this has less to do with their actual appetite and more to do with their desire to have some control—but this doesn't mean you have to become a short-order cook. Offer two healthy options and if both are rebuked, try again tomorrow.
Giving them choices: Offering toddlers options can give them confidence and empowerment. Not to mention it's a good hack for getting things done faster: By giving them their pick between two things that both have good outcomes, you can avoid a power struggle. Think: "Would you like to wash your hands first or brush your teeth first"?
Pro tip: Avoid meltdowns when leaving the park or ending screen time by giving your toddler advance notice of what's to come. While minutes don't mean much to them, explain like "you can go down the slide two more times" or "we're going to turn off the tablet when the words and music come on so we can go play outside."
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
The milestones presented are averages. Any questions you may have about your child's development should be shared with his or her doctor.
Return to Go2Guide: Ages 1-2 Years