Disciplining Your Toddler

Month 17

Whoever coined the phrase "terrible twos" obviously never met a really ornery 17-month-old. Temper tantrums can erupt months before your child's 2nd birthday, and they can be quite a spectacle.

Tantrums can be stressful for both you and your child. They also can be embarrassing, especially if your child picks a public place for her fit.

At this age, meltdowns help your child express the anger and frustration she can't put into words. They can also signal that she's craving your attention.

It's never too early to start disciplining. Adapt your strategy to your child's age -- and at this age, discipline mostly means distracting the child and redirecting her to something else.

Be patient and consistent with this.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

Your toddler has discovered that she's a one-of-a-kind little person. When she looks in the mirror, she knows it's her face smiling back at her. She knows her name, too.

Right now, your child's entire world revolves around the most important person in it -- HER!

  • She has no idea that everyone doesn't think exactly like her.
  • She has no interest in sharing -- especially her favorite toys.
  • Instead of playing with other kids, she'll play next to them but stay wrapped up in her own game.
  • She can sometimes be too rough with other kids because she doesn't understand that it hurts when she hits them.

Month 17 Tips

  • To tame toddler tantrums, be firm -- and consistent. Tell her, "No," and then steer her to another room or activity. It's a good idea to communicate before a transition or a change in her routine.
  • Although difficult, try not to lose your temper. Take a few deep breaths and get control of your own emotions before you try to control your child.
  • Toddlers love to "help" out around the house. Let your child stir the batter for pancakes or set the table with paper plates.
  • Encourage your toddler to share, but also let her have a few toys that are off-limits to everyone else.
  • Read to your child daily. As you read, let your child recite along with you the phrases she knows or follow the words on the page with her finger.
  • Get your child in the habit of washing her hands with warm -- but not hot -- water and soap before eating and after wiping her nose or playing outside.
  • Taking your toddler on her first airplane trip? Put a little liquid in a sippy cup for her to suck on to ease the pressure in her ears. Follow rules about limits on carrying liquids through airport security.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 15, 2020



AboutKidsHealth: "Disciplining Your Child."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Social Development: 1 Year Olds."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Helping Your Child Learn to Read."

Nemours Foundation: "Why Is Hand Washing So Important?"

KidsHealth: "Flying's Effects on Ears."

Transportation Security Administration: "Traveling With Kids."

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