Toddler Info

Parenting a toddler raises quite different questions from parenting a baby.  Sleep generally falls away as the main concern and decisions have to be made instead about things like discipline practices and how to keep one's loveable munchkin occupied.


Posts with research

  • Early literacy - research on factors in early childhood that influence literacy ability, and ideas for developmentally appropriate activities
  • Early numeracy - research on how numeracy develops, what is innate and what is taught, and the 'normal' age for development of understandings that form the building blocks of numeracy
Posts on discipline 

I prefer to use discipline techniques which teach boundaries without using punishments such as smacking or time-outs, and which go easy on the star charts.  This involves using a lot of preventive strategies for potential behavioural issues, lots of repetition and positive guidance, and a general view that behavioural issues are opportunities for learning problem-solving skills and emotional self-regulation skills.  I had to do quite a lot of reading before I understood how to approach a non-punitive discipline style effectively, because it requires a good understanding of toddler psychology as well as a large toolkit of techniques for managing certain difficult situations.  The following posts provide a summary of some of the key information and techniques I took away from that reading:
(By the way, my daughter is only 19 months, so take this with a grain of salt, but so far I have found these techniques are wonderfully effective.  More effective, in fact, than the few occasions where I have used punishment to deter behaviour.  Don't get me wrong - she will go through days where she's right into pushing boundaries.  But I can see that she is slowly internalising key boundaries, she is cooperative and listens well to instructions (for her age), we can address most issues before they get anywhere near tantrum levels, her social behaviour is generally positive, and she is developing an increasing ability to tolerate frustration, sadness, anger and other strong emotions.  Still very happy with choosing these methods!)


  1. My daughter is 9 months old and has taken to biting in her play in the last couple of weeks. With a big smile on her face she bites my arms when I'm holding her, pulls herself up to bite into my legs, and loves to bite into other children's heads - which is a real problem when the children are the placid type that know nothing about rough and tumble play. I know it is a while since your daughter was this age, and some time since you posted about disciplining, however I wondered if you had any advice/recommended reading for disciplining in this area. I really have no idea other than saying 'no', and don't even really know how to do that

  2. Hi Empress, all I can say is that I wouldn't even really attempt to discipline a 9mo, at least not in the sense of expecting to teach her a rule and her remember it. I would intervene to avoid damage to other children and distract her where possible. I'd keep reminding her to be gentle and offer her suitable objects to bite. If she bites you and it hurts, don't be afraid to put her down and look hurt/angry and tell her you're hurt/angry. Obviously she won't completely understand, but my thinking is that she will start to build a mental picture of how her actions are impacting on the feelings of others that she will draw on later. This is not so much as punishment but in terms of showing her the natural consequence of biting someone - it hurts them and they don't like it. My daughter has been through several biting phases, which came and went just with time and gentle reminding. Some lasted only about a week - another lasted a few months.