Toddlers can be hard work. They are boundary pushers and will do what it takes to get what they want. However boundaries and limits are important for them to feel safe and to know we are in charge and looking after them. As a new parent it is one of the hardest things to do. Especially when we are tired and overworked.
Why are limits important?
They help your toddler feel like you care about them. I always suggest sharing with them the reason why you are setting the limit. Even though they don´t like it or maybe don´t understand it, it will help them to feel more secure.
Another suggestion is to give them warning before you expect them to stop doing something. A lot of toddlers have problems with abrupt changes. If you know you have to leave the park in 10 minutes, let your toddler know ahead of time so that when you finally decide it´s time to go, it´s not such a surprise for your toddler. You may find that leaving won´t be such a drama if your child has been warned first.
Expectations are also important
Understand the capabilities of your child. What are they able to do and not do. Make sure you and your partner agree on your limits before you tell your child.
When you set a limit, no matter what it is, you must maintain the same limits and be consistent if you expect your toddler to follow them. If we are talking about time limits like make sure you follow through. Five minutes is five minutes. If you are consistent with your limits, your toddlers learns that they can trust you to do what you say.
Remember, a toddler´s behavior is not an attack on you and should not be taken personally. Try to remain calm when they are pushing boundaries and testing limits. It is a natural part of their development and autonomy. Manipulating is their way of discovering how to get what they want.
Everything is black and white to a toddler. They have not yet developed the cognitive ability to understand deep reasoning, they work on emotions. Everything is black and white. NO MEANS NO!