I don't understand what you are saying!

Oh no, where is the blanket?

Without it she will not stop fretting! Sounds familiar? To add to that, she is just rambling on in a language that you can’t begin to understand.

With toddlers, they have no sense of what time or day it is, so a routine is the only way they know what's going on, there's a morning, lunch, and bedtime ritual, and you should try to be consistent. Routines help them feel safe and secure when they're going through such huge developmental changes. This means you ask “do you have to go potty?" every half hour. It'll be worth it, though -- for your toddler's happiness and your sanity. Avoiding unpleasant surprises and letting her know what to expect out of each day helps her feel in control, which makes her much more agreeable. If it means you have to read the same book every night, well, at least she's going to bed.

Help me interpret!

You know a toddler’s language really takes off between 18 months and 3 years, that doesn't necessarily make a 2-year-old easy to understand either. Toddlers tend to get uptight when you can't figure out what they're saying. Hence the need for your Cave-mom-to-English translation skills, such as does "ball" mean "There's my ball! Let's play!" or "Find my ball before I start screaming!"?

We have found that it really helps if you keep your phrases short, repeat yourself often, and stay aware of your toddler's gestures and tone of voice -- especially important when she's upset.

Even if you have no idea what she's yelling about, show her you understand she's angry, and go from there. You'll also need this skill whenever your "diction-challenged" toddler tries to talk to us regular folks: Be prepared to translate. Sometimes you will be lucky if you have someone even better skilled nearby. My friend’s son once asked her, very seriously, "Mommy, where does love go?" Poor thing she really tried to concoct an age-appropriate response, and as she rambled, he continued asking, getting more upset. Finally, her older daughter stepped in to translate: "He's asking, 'Where is Lava Girl?'" His action-figure toy his grandma gave him Oh boy.

Diplomacy hmm...

Toddlers can be sweet little angels. However they can demand what they want, then kick and scream if they don't get it. It can be a delicate process getting yours to do the most basic tasks -- eat, sleep, or get into the car seat -- and you're likely to be met by loud and sometimes violent objections. This is where diplomacy comes in. Of course it requires patience and understanding, but also a little sly strategy. It helps when you can get them to think something was their idea? That's diplomacy in action.


Toddlers obsess. They find something that fascinates them and then eat, drink, and sleep the topic. Why you may ask? Well it's a big and scary world, and in lieu of mastering it, they seek to master a small slice of it. That can be a single favorite story book or an entire genre such as blocks, toy cars or even your favorite handbag).

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