Keeping the Peace

Babies like boundaries. In fact, establishing sensible ones is a great way to avoid tantrums. Here’s advice from author and child-development expert Tracy Hogg on setting limits that will make life easier for you and your toddler.

Reduce Stimulation
You probably have a sense of how much excitement your child can handle-how many people or how much noise, for instance-and for how long. Respect her limits. Leave a play group or birthday party if you think sensory overload is looming.

Choices, Choices!
Babies can’t handle too many options-picking one toy out of a large pile, let’s say. At this age, two alternatives are plenty in most circumstances; and the chance to select one allows a baby to feel that he has control over his world.

Control Yourself
Very young children learn by imitation. If you yell or curse, it’s a good bet your child will do the same someday. Instead, do exactly what you expect of her; if you have a problem, you should figure out a way to solve it without having a fit.

On Time
Establish household routines: regular mealtimes, play sessions and bedtimes, for example. This will keep your baby calm. Then, when you depart from the schedule for special occasions, it won’t be upsetting for him.

Don’t Push It
A toddler’s abilities are growing every single day, but giving her a toy that’s too advanced for her, or expecting her to sit through a movie, a long car trip or dinner in a posh restaurant is just asking for trouble.

Distract Him!
If a baby’s emotions do veer out of control-because of fear, exhaustion or even wild exuberance-he doesn’t know how to regain his equilibrium. You can step in and provide a distraction, such as a toy, a snack or music.