"Help! My baby turned on me!"
Taking the terror out of the terrible twos.
It seems to happen virtually overnight. One day your baby is happy and content, the next, an unpredictable and moody little tyrant, refusing to eat all of his favourite foods, sleeping badly and throwing super-tantrums. Congratulations! Your baby has hit toddlerhood – also called the “terrible twos” – an age group from around 18 months to about three-years-old. The good news? It’s all normal, and yes, it will pass! Here are some tips so you (and your child) can survive toddlerhood.

Playgroups/crèches/day care

Toddlers have enormous amounts of energy and a very short attention span. If your child is not in day care he will enjoy a playgroup, even if it is only a few hours a day or week. It can be an informal gathering of moms and toddlers, visiting a friend or a more structured play group. Stay with your child if you feel uncomfortable leaving him alone. Children benefit enormously from interacting with other children, especially if they don’t have siblings. They learn about sharing, watch and copy behaviour and – much more importantly – they tire themselves out.


When your toddler is very young, discipline is not as effective as distraction. Little people get frustrated easily and don’t yet have the emotional skills to deal with the world around them. At this age they are developing at an accelerated rate, learning about their limitations and the boundaries you are setting for them. Be patient. Your child is not a monster. If there is a new baby in the house or any other kind of change, he may be especially difficult to handle. The best thing to do in tense situations is to distract your toddler, getting him to focus on something else.


Getting out of the house is crucial. Plan an outing every day, to the mall or the park, for a drive to friends or even just to go for a walk. Most nurseries cater for children and have playgrounds and coffee shops set around jungle gyms. Ask around about playgrounds in your area and make a point of visiting them regularly. Zoos and aquariums not only teach your children about animals but provide opportunities for interaction with other children as well.


Don’t underestimate the value of grandparents and friends when it comes to raising a toddler. You need that support structure now more than ever. Whenever you feel like pulling out your hair, make a call to granny, get away for few hours, and let them handle your little devil. Children are very sensitive to their parents’ moods and respond in kind. Getting a break may be the best thing for both of you.


The experts don’t always agree, but studies do seem to support the idea that limited and controlled exposure to television is not as bad for a child’s development as many think. Although it won’t enhance your child’s development – it will definitely contribute to your sanity and peace of mind. Try to limit your child’s TV viewing to as little as possible, then use the time to cook, shower or do those things you can’t with a toddler clinging to your legs.


Toddlers are notoriously difficult when it comes to food. Stock up on healthy snacks like wholewheat crackers, yoghurt or a range of different kinds of fruit to distract and comfort your little one when he’s having a tantrum. It offers instant distraction, keeping your little one busy for some time and even helping his sensory development.

What top tips for toddlers (and their parents) do you have?


Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home