Whether you have a screamer, a runner, a nudist, a biter, a disappearing act, or a gets-into-everything type of toddler, mischievous toddlers are difficult to manage. They have this uncanny ability to innocently get under your skin as they go about their task of exploring life to the fullest. Rather than squash that innate curiosity like an annoying bug, it’s time to learn how to manage your mischievous toddler so that you can preserve what’s left of your sanity.
The biggest tool you have is your ability to out-think your toddler. After all, most toddlers aren’t mischievous because they plan to be. It just happens. Active toddlers never actually know what they are going to do next until they think of it. Life is like one big arena of possibilities to a toddler tempting him or her with the newness of each experience.
Do you remember the five W’s that your teacher taught you in school – who, what, when, where, and why? For a toddler, the exploration begins with WHO or WHAT is this and continues with WHY is it here, WHEN did it get here, and WHERE can I make it go. To answer all of those questions, a mischievous toddler is going to pick it up, take it apart, move it, shake it, bang it, or take it somewhere else. You know that it’s true. If it isn’t tied down or hidden behind locked doors, your toddler is bound to find it as the result of his curiosity.
Fortunately for you, the familiarity of your home and the places you visit are going to be your saving grace. For me, dealing with my “mischievous one,” the last in a line of four darlings, involved being as quick on my feet as I was with my mind, the purchase of a few handy devices, and an awareness that I wasn’t dealing with an average toddler. He had the advantage of watching three older siblings, giving rise to his ability to walk and run by the age of nine months. First lesson learned – ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
If you have a wanderer, purchase portable door alarms that could also be attached to windows and put them up high so your toddler can’t take the batteries out. Purchase cabinet locks for everything and store dangerous items in high places, even if they are behind locked doors. Never allow your toddler to self-entertain unless you are POSITIVE that it won’t involve something like coating his sister with a tub of margarine. If none of that works, get down on the floor and look around the room to see what might attract your mischievous toddler, and then hide it!
What’s the craziest thing your mischievous toddler has gotten into?
For more on managing your toddler, visit Terrible Two’s How To’s.