Dealing with a Spirited Toddler - Mommy-Toddler Interaction

In Dealing with a Spirited Toddler: The Basics, we covered some of the main tactics that parents of over-energetic toddlers can use to reduce daily power struggles and calm hyperactive children down. In this article, we’re focusing on what policies mommies should implement in order to make life for themselves and their toddlers easier.

Address your toddler’s feelings

When your toddler is being overly loud, rambunctious or starting to melt down, try to discuss why they’re behaving the way they are, and explain to them that while you understand how they feel, they’re not the only ones feeling bad. 

For example, if you’re out grocery shopping with your toddler and they begin to throw a tantrum because they’re bothered by all the people and the noise, or because they’re tired, explain to them that you’re feeling bothered by the noise or are tired too, and that you’ll both leave as soon as you’ve paid for the groceries. 

Don’t get angry at your toddler if your explanation doesn’t calm them down immediately, as young children aren’t always capable of changing their behavior in response to verbal reasoning. 

By letting them know that you empathize with their feelings you can help them become more aware of others around them and teach them to recognize why they become bothered, which will enable them to deal with their emotions better later on when they’re a bit older and more in control of their actions.

Don’t overburden your child

Young children are easily distressed and overstimulated by simple daily transactions that adults take for granted, such as leaving the house, getting in and out of the car, going to daycare, coming back home again, and so on. 

Spirited toddlers easily become overwhelmed when they’re not given enough time to cope with change, or when they’re exposed to people and noise. When setting out your toddler’s daily schedule, keep things simple and consider which activities or trips you can do without in order to avoid overwhelming your little one.

Use positive reinforcement

Rewarding good behavior can do wonders to encourage your spirited toddler to listen to you and do as they’re told. Praise your child when they follow the rules or behave appropriately, such as when they play nicely and keep their voice down during play dates, or when they put away their toys when you ask them to.

Don’t use negative labels

Children who are repeatedly told that they are naughty are more likely to think of themselves as such and will act accordingly. Avoid labeling your child as a crybaby or trouble maker, and instead recognize them from the sensitive and energetic creatures that they are. 

Using positive labels to describe your toddler to others will help them see the best in your child as well, and as your toddler grows a bit older and their self-esteem develops, they’ll want to meet these positive labels. To put it simply, being more positive in the way you view your child’s behavior will change the way you react to it, which in turn changes your child’s behavior itself.

Take care of yourself

The fact of the matter is, you need time to relax and de-stress on a regular basis if you’re running after an energetic toddler all day, so take full advantage of the hours after your toddler goes to bed to relax and pamper yourself.

If you’re too tired, don’t bother with doing the dishes that night, and it’s okay if you don’t tidy up the house every single day – instead, catch up on your sleep or take a soothing bubble bath. You’ll be better able to face the challenges of the next day that way. 

It’s also extremely important that you recruit the help and support of others, whether it’s having someone help babysit your toddler when you’re feeling really out of it or just having someone to lend an ear when you feel the need to talk.