5 Step Guide to Shaping Proper Behaviour in Toddlers




When your toddler starts to throw a tantrum because she’s tired, hungry or when she can’t have her way, it always ends up with monster tears, stamping feet and piercing screams. Most of the time, we parents will just do anything to make them stop. Especially if you are at the supermarket with tens of eyes starring at you.


Tantrums are all just a natural part of a child’s growing process. Around 18 months, children begin experiencing a lot of emotions, which they have no way of communicating, thus a tantrum occurs. Tantrums peak between ages 2 and 3, and if managed correctly, they usually disappear by the time the child turns 4 or 5.


There are three types of tantrums:

a) The emotional meltdown: Occurs when the child is overtaken with emotions, sadness or hurt.

b) The situation tantrum: Occurs when the child is tired of having to wait, or gets upset because they can’t do something they want.

c) The mock tantrum: Occurs when the child uses the tantrum to get something they want.


Acclaimed “Supernanny” Jo Frost shares her wisdom in her book “Toddler Rules” on how to better mange these behaviours. Here are 5 simple steps you can use:



1. Sleep


Make sure your child gets the right amount of sleep! Without a good night’s rest, your child can become moody and hyperactive - and more willing to test your patience!


Having not enough sleep also makes them less prepared to learn, and it can inhibit their brain development. Sleep also prepares the body to extract the necessary glucose from the bloodstream to maximise focus and attention in the brain. So how much sleep should your child be getting?


A child age 1-3 needs 12-14 hours of sleep, including naps, during a 24-hour period. A child age 3-5 needs 11-13 hours. And a child age 5-10 needs 10-11 hours.






2. Food


Making sure your child has a well rounded balanced diet isn’t just for the sake of letting the child have a healthier weight or for other health reasons like diabetes and obesity. It also means getting better brains. Getting the proper nutrition means the brain is not only primed for optimal learning, but it has the energy to explore and learn.


Good food also translates to better mood and impulse control. Make sure kids eat at regular intervals throughout the day, ad strive for a well-balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, diary and oils.





3. Play


It is important to get your kids out and about. Say “No” to the iPads, but instead play on the swings, go swimming, engage in play groups - these are all good ways to not only use up your kids’ energy, but help them become more comfortable with new people and places. And don’t hesitate to take them out on your errands as well.


Just make sure you limit the time. Don’t spend more than 30-60 minutes on your errand. Keeping it short prevents tantrums. Also make sure to go on an errand after a meal or a nap, and carry a snack or water just in case.





4. Learning


• A child’s brain is 85% developed by age 5, much of it happening in the first three years of life. So make sure you stimulate children’s brains by reading and singing to them. That helps stimulate the auditory skills that they will use to express their thoughts and feelings.


• Make sure to also give them opportunities to test their visual skills of tracking and memory. But also make sure that they are getting a lot of physical exercise to practice both gross and fine motor skills.


• All of this stimulation helps children become more coordinated and do better in school. Libraries are great source of books and activities.





5. Manners


Making a rule about good behaviour may seem obvious, but it needs to be practiced. We not only have to tell our children what to do, but we need to show them how to behave.


Children usually like to model after their parents. And as parents we need to set good examples for them. And when we see them behave well, praise and reward them. The better behaved they are, the more easily they will be able to work with others and the more attuned they will be to listening to directions and asking questions.


But just as you set expectations, set boundaries and make sure they know what the boundaries are.





Having a Problem in Trying to Implement One of These Five Steps?


Try the SOS method to help you. Frost’s SOS method - step back, observe and step in - can be applied to any situation.


If you are in the midst of a hurricane, there is no way you will be able to make a proper assessment of the situation.


So whenever you see the first sign of a meltdown unfolding, quickly take a step back to get some perspective on the situation like why the child is upset. Observe what is happening like who is saying what and doing what.


Finally, step in and make a decision about how you want to respond. Having a method in place definitely makes it more manageable to handle your child’s tantrums.






© Rise & Shine is established to provide our children with a better opportunities for their upcoming future. Our founding vision was to help and educate parents to nurture healthier, happier and brighter children. As part of what we do, we organise parenting workshops, carnivals and the largest play and educational festival in Asia. We also organise a series of children events throughout the year where families can bond, learn and have fun.


* Required Fields