Common 1-year-old behaviour problems and how to handle them
Mums and dads, have you been experiencing these baby behaviour problems?
With the impressive milestones to look forward to as your baby approaches his second year, you may also encounter certain behavioural problems. But worry not, moms and dads, these are all part of your little one's wondrous development.
Baby behaviour problems during the first year
Here's a monthly guide on your child's behavioural development along with how to handle issues that may arise as a result of it.
During this time, your little one may be learning how to walk! Though this milestone is a great step in their motor development, other areas may regress because of it.
His sleeping pattern, for instance, may be affected. Since walking takes a lot of physical and emotional energy, it may cause him to need more sleep or be too energetic to fall asleep during his designated bedtime.
It's important not to worry and be patient. Make "temporary adjustments" like offering more snacks, providing more time to nap, and showering them with affection to support them through these changes.
At this age, your growing toddler might exhibit aggressive behaviour, like hitting, pushing, and biting. To tame this, it's important to stay calm, remain firm when discouraging them from doing such behaviour.
Limit their media consumption that may be promoting violence, even in subtle ways. Examples of these are violent toys or scary local news stories.
Know what sets them off. Are they tired or hungry? You can also provide a healthy release for their aggressive behaviour, like hitting a beanbag, or kicking a soccer ball outdoors. Finally, it's best to be patient and be a good role model.
At this stage in their development, your tot may be throwing more tantrums than usual. It's important to understand that this can be their way of coping with thoughts and feelings they can't fully express just yet. They want to be independent and in control. In some cases, it could be due to fatigue, hunger, or even boredom.
When handling tantrums, avoid giving in to your toddler's demands. Because this conditions them to view their fits as a way to get what they want. Steer clear of physical punishment, as it does more harm than good.
It could also help to engage your child in a fun activity like hide-and-seek, make them laugh through tickling, or you can even distract them by giving an object they're not normally allowed to play with, like your phone, for a limited time, of course.
During this time, your toddler's previous fear of strangers tends to show up again. Even familiar relatives, like aunts and uncles, tend to cause them anxiety. This natural phase of development goes away with time, but here's how to handle it when it happens: first, reassure your child that everything is okay and that there is nor reason to be scared. Then, prepare your relative or anyone causing your child anxiety that this stage is normal. Finally, take it slow and be within view and within reach of your child.
A 16-month old toddler may become sleep deprived without his parents even knowing it. Some subtle signs include: being moody, throwing tantrums at certain times of the day, or being hyperactive (as an effort to stay awake).
To handle this, figure out the best sleep schedule for your child and stick to it. Watch out for sleepy behaviour, like rubbing eyes, sucking thumbs, or crankiness. If you note these, set them down for a nap before they become too exhausted.
Toddler separation anxiety is common at this age. So to avoid a tantrum, it's best to prepare your child for the parting. If you're going to work, try to talk to them and hold them before a certain time each day. Be consistent and patient. Help them build a good relationship with their yaya or guardian who will care for them while away. Make sure to fill up their day with fun activities to look forward to. It would be helpful to make the goodbye quick and avoid calling throughout the day, just so they can adjust to your absence. When you return, make it casual; this will help them learn that being apart for the day is not a big deal.
At this age, your toddler may resist or exhibit stubbornness when you try to leave them in a stroller or high chair. This is because they may feel too caged and limited. So what should you do? Offer distractions, such as singing to them or playing their favorite songs. Giving them toys and treats might also do the trick.
For car seats, for instance, show them that their favorite stuffed toy or doll is buckling up, too! This can make it more fun for them. You can also invent a rule, like "Mealtime can only start when you're in your special chair!" Most of all, be patient and consistent.
This is a time when odd toddler behaviour--like nose and belly button picking---tends to surface. These weird toddler habits are common, so it's best to relax. To manage them, don't prohibit them. Instead, establish a "safe area" to do them. For instance, tell your child that nose picking can only be done when in the bathroom. Offering a substitute, like sucking on a straw instead of their nails, can also help. Keeping their hands occupied with a book or toy could also help curb this behaviour. Remember: limiting the behaviour can help get rid of it entirely.
At 20 months, aggression tends to become an issue. Because of their fast-developing motor and emotional skills, they tend to hit, scratch, or bite their playmates or caregivers as a way of coping with changes. Though natural, it's important for parents not to ignore this. Consistently discourage verbal or physical violence of any kind. It's also not okay to hit back in revenge. Speak calmly and don't lash out, as this only sends your tot the wrong message.
At this age, your child is learning how to self-feed, so it's important to teach them proper table manners. Playing with or throwing food, though fun for them, should be discouraged. They're also fond of repeating tasks and can exhibit drastic mood swings. Make routines regular and praise their effort and not just accomplishments. Constant positivity will help them strive for better behaviour.
It's natural for 22-month-old toddlers to exhibit perfect behaviour at school or in public, but then throw fit after fit when they're home alone with you. Don't despair, as this is a sign that they feel safe and comfortable enough with you not to filter their emotions.
To handle a whining, fussy toddler, remember to model patience first. Speak calmly but firmly to show your little one they are loved, but they need to learn to be respectful.
Give them more attention and allow them to vent. Letting out their frustrations can be just running around in a playground, reading a book the like, or listening to music they enjoy. Explaining your feelings can also helps, as toddlers can grasp the concept of empathy. Delegate to your partner once in a while, too. Most importantly, though, don't take discipline for granted. Your toddler has to start learning there are consequences. Here's a few tips.
Once your toddler is 23 months old, they may find it difficult to shift from one activity to the next. For instance can become so engrossed in playtime at a mall play area, that they show resistance when it's time to go home. Prepare them for this by using a countdown or an alarm. Make the transition easier by making it fun. For instance, make up a "pack away song" when it's time to tidy up. Toddlers will also be more open to leaving if they can take a special object on the road with them. It can be as simple as a donut from a birthday party or a leaves from a park.
Throughout your baby's first year, it's important to embrace both their achievements and challenges. As we said, it's all part of their development and your growth and enrichment as a parent as well!
*This article first appeared on theAsianparent Philippines