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Tips for Staying Calm Through Challenging Behaviours


parents smiling holding toddler girl


Parenting can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating.

Once in a while almost all parents lose their tempers - but there are some simple steps you can take to keep the frustration to a minimum. 

To keep things calm while parenting a toddler:

  • Stick to routines. Your toddler likes being able to know what to expect. It's easier for him to cooperate if he knows a certain thing will happen at the same time each day. 
  • Adjust your expectations. Sometimes parents, for whatever reasons, expect too much of themselves or their toddlers. Learn about child development to get a better idea of what to expect from your child at different stages. For more information about toddler development, click here.
  • Rest. Sometimes napping when your toddler naps can help you feel less overwhelmed or angry. Make time for yourself. Build in some regular time for your own relaxation. Trade time with family members, friends, or another parent. Do something you enjoy. For more information about caring for yourself, click here.
  • Know that you don’t always have to fix everything. It can be difficult to hear your toddler cry. But if she hasn't learned to talk yet, crying may be your toddler’s only way to express her feelings. If she's not hungry, hurt or otherwise in need of your attention, it's fine to let your toddler cry for a little while. Don't ignore her, but wait to see if she can calm down.
  • Talk about the challenges. Talk to someone close to you about how you're feeling, and about whatever issues are giving you the most challenges. It's best not to do this in front of your toddler.
  • Get to know other parents. Connecting with other parents can help you build a support network.  Sometimes, just knowing other people have "been there" is all you need to feel better.
  • Protect your toddler. If you're feeling overwhelmed and afraid you might lose control and hurt yourself or your child, get help immediately. Put your toddler somewhere safe and call a family member, a friend, HealthLink BC 8-1-1, your public health office, or your doctor. 

Get Help if you need it 

If you or your children are experiencing violence, get help right away. In case of emergency, call 9-1-1 or the operator and ask for the police.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Taking Care of Yourself When You Have a Child With Physical, Emotional, or Behavioural Problems 
HealthLink BC: Managing Your Toddler's Frustrating Behaviours

Last Updated: August 2, 2013