You love your toddler and want to know that the little person you’re raising is happy, healthy, and growing up well. Part of that means understanding that your kid has their own thoughts and feelings, which can change daily—even minute by minute! But it’s also important not to jump to conclusions when these changes happen: there could be many reasons why your child is acting differently at this point in their life. Here’s how to spot behavior changes in your toddler and how to respond.

They’re More Verbal Than They Were Before

You can tell that your toddler is developing language skills by paying attention to their speech. They may:

  • Be able to say new words, even if they don’t always use them correctly
  • Say the same words in different ways
  • Listen for answers
  • Clearly express emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger

When you notice this behavior, encourage it by speaking to them in clear, complete sentences and even by narrating your and your child’s actions.

They Begin To Struggle With Sleep

If your child cannot sleep during the day and continues to struggle at bedtime, it might be time for a new routine in their schedule. Ensure they get enough rest by putting them down at the same time each night and waking them up at the same time in the morning. Allow for daily physical activity so that your child can burn their energy; hopefully, they’ll put up less resistance at bedtime.

They’re Whining a Lot More

Due to language limitations, toddlers tend to whine to express their frustration and get attention. If your toddler is whining more than usual, try to find out why. When you spot this behavior change in your toddler, take the time to decipher their needs, and the undesirable behavior should subside.

They’ve Grown Crankier During the Day

Your toddler may become more easily frustrated. They might have a harder time telling you what they want and need, making them crankier for no apparent reason. You may even find your child regressing to thumb-sucking or other behaviors you thought they had outgrown. You may also notice they suddenly fear things that never bothered them before, such as loud noises and or a dark bedroom at night. However, it’s normal for your child to become afraid of new things as they learn about the world around them. All of these behaviors are normal parts of any toddler’s development.

Toddlerhood can be difficult, but it helps to remain calm and remember that you’re the adult and that your child is still learning to cope with new feelings. We encourage you to talk to your pediatrician for an evaluation if you notice a dramatic behavior change or are concerned. You can also seek support from other parents who have been through similar experiences and who know the struggle. Above all, know how much love you’ll always have for your toddler, even when times are tough!