How to Manage Tyrant Toddler Behavior

Boy Crying
Toddler Tantrums. Lawrence Manning / Getty Images

Toddlers are such incredible creatures of change. Their likes and dislikes are changing constantly. The same goes for toddler behavior. Toddlers go through such intense developmental, emotional and physical changes in such short amounts of time. In addition, they are developing language and asserting their newfound independence. It is normal for toddlers to throw tantrums and exhibit some less than desirable behavior as they learn about themselves and the world around them. Here are some tips for managing bad behaviors.

1. Keep the Focus on Your Youngster's Positive Toddler Behavior

Toddlers need heaps of affection and attention to encourage positive behavior and to redirect not-so-nice actions. When toddlers are doing something wrong, it is important for parents to acknowledge positive toddler behavior. Be specific in your praise. For example, say: "It's good that you and Jason are taking turns with your new Batman figure" rather than "You and Jason are playing nicely." Parents' comments and reinforcement are what help to teach a young kid the right toddler behavior.

2. Ignore Specific Bad Behavior

This, of course, may not always be possible and safety must always be the utmost concern. A parent's attention is the most powerful way to influence a toddler's behavior. Negative attention by a parent is sometimes preferred by a toddler than no attention. Keep this in mind when rewarding bad behaviors through attention. Instead, provide lots of hugs and praise for every positive toddler behavior.

3. Notice Patterns of Toddler Behavior

Don't set your young one up to fail. Being consistent and maintaining a routine is important for toddlers, especially with sleep, food, and discipline. Avoid errands when your kid is hungry or tired, if possible. Bedtime is a struggle for many toddlers because they lack the physical and emotional self-control to balance their needs and wants. Parents must structure a daily and night-time routine that eliminates discussion and negotiation.

4. Use the 'Time Out' Technique

This effective toddler behavior tyrant tamer really does work. Experts recommend placing a toddler in time out until he is quiet for about three minutes. Avoid lecturing to your kid before or after time out. Parent comments should be limited to fewer than 10 words. "Madison, no biting. Sit in the chair now!"

One last bit of wisdom. Toddler behavior (good, bad or otherwise) is a phase. With constant positive reinforcement and time, toddlers will be out of the terrible twos and threes and other typical toddler behaviors entirely and parents will be facing new challenges.