When your toddler reaches 24 months, it may seem like a multitude of challenging behaviors appear all at once. Here are some tips on how to manage frustrating toddler behaviors.
My toddler likes to scream
Toddlers are just learning how to use words to communicate and find it much easier to express both excitement and displeasure by shrieking and screaming. If your toddler is shrieking loudly in public, it can be rather distressing, since not everyone around you may be understanding.
If you have a “happy shrieker,’”calmly pick her up and say quietly, “It’s OK to be loud outside but inside, we have to use our quiet voice even when we are happy.” If your toddler is screaming out of displeasure, remember that toddlers are still learning to self-regulate and how to follow rules. Your best bet is to distract your toddler by switching her attention to something else, along with gently reminding her that it is not OK to scream in public.
My toddler says “Mine!” all the time
When your toddler is interacting with others and keeps saying “Mine! My toy!,” it can be a bit frustrating. This is a sign that your toddler has reached the developmental stage of realizing she is a separate individual and is starting to establish her identity. However, toddlers do not have the ability yet to empathize with others and they have difficulty sharing.
To reduce the number of times of your toddler angrily yells “Mine!,”referee their playtime by asking your child what she wants to play with first and then remind her when her time is up to now share it. If your child has a toy that is special to her, it is a good idea to ask before the playdate if she wants to share it and put it out of sight if she does not.
However, do not force your toddler to share by grabbing the toy away from her. If you forcefully take it away, you are sending the message that it is OK to snatch a toy from someone. Instead, find another toy for her playmate to play with, and keep consistently working with your toddler on the concept of sharing at each playdate she attends.
My toddler takes off all her clothes
This could be due to a combination of reasons. Your toddler may be starting to recognize the need to use the potty and is acting upon it. She may also be acting out of discomfort. Maybe her diaper is wet or the fabric of her dress is itchy. Toddlers also sometimes embark on a streaking phase because they enjoy the reaction and attention they get from adults or because they have just learned to dress and undress and want to practice undressing.
If your toddler is going around in the nude but will not sit on the potty consistently and has accidents, your best strategy, for now, is to make it more difficult for her to undress. Choose one-piece outfits that zip or button in the back. Put your toddler’s diaper on backward and duct tape it, being careful not to get the tape on your toddler’s skin. If you are working towards potty training, embrace the times that the diaper and clothes come off and require them to go sit on the potty each time…clothes off, means potty on! This may become bothersome for them and will help to reduce streaking. Also try giving your toddler control over her clothes and discuss the boundaries for undressing only in private conditions.