Emotional awareness, tantrums and the ‘no’ word

Emotional awareness

As confidence around new people grows, a genuine interest in others and their feelings may start to emerge. The concept of sharing is linked to this, so set up play scenarios with 'Your turn, my turn' and offer up your own food/possessions for them to 'share'.

Toddlers initially do lots of 'proto-sharing', where they show something to you and let you touch it, but never quite let it go. This is a big step towards sharing, so reinforce it.

Follow these four tips to encourage sharing:

  1. Practice sharing with your toddler by passing a toy back and forth and saying, 'my turn, now your turn.'

  2. Point out good sharing in others by saying, 'Your friend was sharing her toys really well. That was very kind of her'.

  3. Praise your child by sharing nicely by saying, 'I loved how you let Jack play with your trains. It was very good sharing.

  4. 'Talk about play dates ahead of time and talk about sharing. Put any of your child's special toys away – any they don't feel comfortable sharing.

There are methods to help you best manage your tot's tantrum. (Image: Getty Images)


If your sweet 17 months old is prone to a meltdown from time to time, chalk it up to normal toddlerhood. A child is most like to throw tantrums between 17 and 24 months, so you've got a good year (at least) left in dealing with these hissy fits. In the meantime, make "stay calm" your mantra.

The following tips may help avoid a mini meltdown:

Ignore it: This takes a lot of self-control, but ignoring your toddler when he's having a meltdown can shift the power back to you and help her calm down.

Distract them: If you can tell a meltdown is imminent, don't be afraid to whip out their favourite toy or start singing their favourite song to give her a new focus.

Is your child hangry? Your toddler can get irate when she's lacking food or sleep, so ask if she's like a nap or a healthy snack.

Hug it out: Sometimes a hug can help your toddler feel reassured and calm again.

The "no" phase

From around 17 months, your toddler may begin to use two-word sentences and, chances are, one of those words will be "No!" That little word is actually an important milestone.

Your toddler is learning how to assert their independence and is beginning to realise they aren't a literal extension of mum and dad but their own person. "No" is a way of testing your limits (What will she do if I say no to this?) and learning how to set their own limits, too ("No more dinner").