9th May 2016

The ultimate toddler toolkit to defuse their bad mood

Lizzie Catt tells us how to defuse your pre-schooler in five easy steps

Toddlers learn and grow by behaving like wilful, tipsy exhibitionists. Here’s how to cope with some of their less enchanting moments.

The nudist – romping home

Dungarees and rompers with fiddly poppers and button-under vests will thwart the most determined of clothing-intolerant toddlers. And – bonus points here – trying fruitlessly to get their dungers off will be terrific for improving your little one’s hand-eye coordination.

The shoe-hater – lace it up

The shoe hater waits til you’ve left the house before removing a one half of a £25 pair of new shoes and lobbing it out the side of the buggy. High tops with laces and a double bow are a pain to put on, but should foil their plan. Put shoes on with the rest of their clothes when you’re getting them dressed and they might not even realise they’re wearing any for, ooh, half an hour.

The water refuser – fancy a brew?

Toddler sobbing when you give them water? Offer them a cup of tea! Rooibos is naturally sweet and decaffeinated. With a bit of luck, they won’t realise they’re drinking half milk, half water. It works the other way, too – for those who won’t drink their milk, start off with a splash in rooibos tea and increase it.

The lunch denier – let them win

Some kids will only eat a limited number of things, a problem best dealt with by a health visitor. Others, however, sometimes refuse point blank to eat anything at all as they test boundaries, assert independence and all those other charming things that leave to you wanting to scream into a cushion. If you’re frazzled and they’re calorie depleted, concede some power; let them watch TV or choose their food. Alternatively, leave finger food around the house so they can graze.

The shopping trip saboteur – bribery beats disruption

When you’ve absolutely got to get around the supermarket and the toddler decides to kick off, just wheel that trolley straight over the baby aisle. Snacks, pouches, a new toy, whatever it takes. Because a rusk-smeared toddler is a happy toddler.


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