8 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make with Kids 1-3 Years Old (and How to Fix Them)


Children 1-3 years old are like little sponges, soaking up everything around them. This doesn’t mean that you should fill their little heads with information and facts from morning ‘til night, but there are plenty of things you can do to help your kids thrive and grow into healthy, happy people. Here’s our guide to 8 of the biggest mistakes parents make with kids 1-3 years old and how to fix them!

1) Not communicating effectively

Communicating effectively with a child between the ages of 1-3 is an essential part of successful parenting. It requires taking the time to truly listen and understand what your child is trying to tell you, as well as expressing your thoughts and feelings in a way that your child can understand. Effective communication not only helps your child understand the world around them, but it also strengthens your relationship and builds trust.

When it comes to communicating effectively with a child, one of the most common mistakes parents make is not listening attentively. This can be especially challenging when your child isn’t able to articulate their needs or wants in the same way an older child or adult would. However, it’s important to try and put yourself in their shoes and really focus on what they are trying to tell you. If they are having difficulty expressing themselves, try asking open-ended questions to get more information.

Another mistake parents make is not giving their child enough opportunity to express themselves. This can be difficult when trying to keep a conversation going with a young child, but it’s important to give them space to share their thoughts and feelings. Ask them questions about their day or activities they have been doing – this will encourage them to think and communicate more openly with you.

Finally, another mistake parents often make is not acknowledging their child’s feelings or responding appropriately. It can be tempting to dismiss your child’s feelings, but it’s important to recognize that they are valid and show them that you understand. Make sure to respond in a supportive manner, rather than simply telling them what to do or making decisions for them.

By avoiding these common mistakes and taking the time to communicate effectively with your child, you can create an atmosphere of trust and understanding that will last for years to come.

2) Yelling and screaming

Yelling and screaming at your child is a common mistake parents make when dealing with their kids between 1-3 years old. It is important to remember that children this age do not respond well to yelling and screaming and it may cause them to become scared, frustrated, and anxious. However, there is an interesting fact about yelling and screaming that may be useful for parents to consider.

Studies have shown that the more often you yell and scream at your child, the less likely they are to comply with your requests. In other words, your child may not comply or listen to you if they are used to being yelled at or screamed at. This doesn’t mean that parents should never yell or scream; but rather that they should use it in moderation, as excessive yelling and screaming can have long-term negative effects on a child’s development.

To rectify this mistake, try using more positive reinforcement such as praise or rewards instead of punishments such as yelling or scolding. By doing this, you can help your child learn how to manage their emotions in a healthy way and develop trust in your relationship.

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3) Not setting limits

Raising a child between the ages of 1 and 3 can be a challenging time for any parent. Not only are your child’s needs constantly changing, but you’re also faced with making decisions about how to handle situations that you may have never encountered before. One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make during this period is not setting appropriate limits for their children.

Children this age need clear boundaries in order to help them understand expectations and acceptable behaviors. If these limits are not established, it can lead to confusion and frustration for both the child and the parent. Kids will naturally push the boundaries, so it’s important that parents remain consistent in enforcing rules.

When setting limits, it’s important to make sure that they are developmentally appropriate and based on what your child can realistically handle. For example, toddlers do not have the same self-control as older children, so it’s important to set reasonable limits that they can understand and follow. It’s also helpful to explain why certain behaviors are unacceptable.

It’s important to remember that while limits are necessary, it’s just as important to provide positive reinforcement when your child follows the rules. Praise and positive reinforcement will help your child understand why certain behaviors are desirable and will encourage them to continue behaving in a way that you approve of.

By setting appropriate limits and providing positive reinforcement, parents can help ensure that their child is getting the guidance and structure they need to develop into a confident, well-adjusted adult.

4) Spanking

When it comes to disciplining a child between the ages of 1 and 3, spanking can be a very tempting option for parents. However, research has shown that physical punishment like spanking is not only ineffective in producing long-term positive behavior changes, but it can also have negative consequences like emotional insecurity and aggression.

When parents use physical punishment with young children, it can be particularly damaging as their development is still fragile. In addition to being ineffective, spanking can create fear in the child and make them confused about what behavior is expected of them. This can cause them to become anxious and less likely to communicate effectively with their parent.

Spanking may stop misbehavior in the moment, but it does not teach children how to fix the problem in the future. Instead, it is better for parents to use positive reinforcement methods such as praise and rewards when the child exhibits appropriate behavior. Using gentle reminders and redirecting the child’s behavior in positive ways can also be effective in teaching them desired behaviors.

Ultimately, while spanking may be an easy option in the moment, it can have lasting effects on children’s development and behavior that make it an ineffective form of discipline. When it comes to raising kids 1-3 years old, it’s important to focus on building positive relationships with your child and encouraging good behavior through positive reinforcement.

5) Letting them get away with everything


It’s natural to want to spoil your little ones, and letting them get away with certain things may seem harmless. However, this can lead to poor behavior in the long run. Kids need to learn right from wrong, and that involves consequences for their actions.

When you notice your child doing something they know they shouldn’t do, like throwing a toy across the room or refusing to listen, be consistent in your response. Explain why what they did was wrong and how it made others feel. Then provide a logical consequence – take away the toy if it was thrown, or put them in timeout for not listening.

It’s important to remember that kids don’t always understand why their actions are wrong. Try to explain the concept of cause and effect in an age-appropriate way. For instance, if your child refuses to eat their vegetables, explain that without the nutrients in vegetables, their body won’t be able to grow big and strong like they want it to.

Letting your child make mistakes and learning from them is a necessary part of growing up, but it’s important that they learn the appropriate boundaries. It might be tough to discipline them when they’re so small, but you’ll thank yourself in the future when you have a polite, well-mannered child!

6) Not being consistent

One of the most common mistakes that parents make when it comes to raising kids between 1 and 3 years old is not being consistent. It can be easy to give in to your child’s demands and wishes, especially when they are younger, but this inconsistency can be a major factor in setting up bad habits and behavioral problems down the line.

Consistency is key when it comes to parenting. Children of this age rely on their parents to establish and maintain routines and boundaries, as these provide stability and security in their lives. When boundaries are not consistently enforced, children may feel confused and frustrated, which can lead to more challenging behavior.

Parents need to set expectations that are realistic for their child’s age and provide clear directions and consequences for unacceptable behavior. Establishing a routine for meals, bedtime, and other activities will help keep children on track, as will providing clear boundaries for acceptable behaviors. For example, if your child throws a temper tantrum when you tell them no, it’s important to stay consistent and follow through with the consequence each time.

In addition to being consistent with consequences, it’s important for parents to be consistent with rewards as well. Reinforcing positive behaviors with positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise or special privileges, will help motivate children to continue making good choices.

Overall, consistency is key when it comes to parenting children between the ages of 1 and 3. Sticking to routines and boundaries, as well as consistently rewarding and punishing behaviors will help ensure that your child learns good behavior and develops healthy habits early on in life.

7) Giving in to tantrums

No parent enjoys dealing with tantrums, and it can be especially tempting to give in when your child is throwing a fit. But giving in to tantrums is one of the biggest mistakes parents make when it comes to kids between 1-3 years old.

It’s natural for children to want things and become frustrated when they can’t get them. But if you give in every time your child throws a fit, you’ll only be teaching them that throwing a fit is an effective way to get what they want. This not only creates bad habits, but it can also lead to more challenging behavior problems down the road.

So, how can you avoid giving in to your child’s tantrums? Here are a few tips:

First of all, be prepared. Have a plan for how you will handle tantrums ahead of time. Tell yourself that you will remain calm and consistent and that you won’t give in, no matter what. Secondly, remain firm but compassionate. Let your child know that you understand their frustration but that you won’t tolerate their behavior. Lastly, offer alternatives. Suggest activities or toys that your child can do or have instead of what they were originally asking for. This can help them focus on something else and diffuse the situation.

8) Not having any fun

When it comes to raising children between the ages of 1 and 3, parents often make the mistake of forgetting to have fun. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of feeding, clothing, and disciplining your little one that you forget that playtime is essential for their development. Playing with your kids helps them learn to communicate, explore, and create.

So how can you make sure you’re having enough fun with your kids? First and foremost, it’s important to be creative. Don’t just stick to the same activities over and over. Come up with new and interesting ways to interact with your child. That could mean playing a game, doing arts and crafts together, or just getting down on the floor for some good old-fashioned roughhousing.

It’s also important to be mindful of the time spent playing. Too much time spent on devices or screens can have a negative impact on your children’s development. Put away the phones and tablets and get outside! Take a walk around the neighborhood, visit a playground, or even just find a spot in your yard to fly a kite together.

By carving out dedicated time for fun and play, you can foster a healthy relationship with your child and give them the opportunity to learn, explore, and grow.

Studies show that positive parental engagement is linked to higher academic achievement, improved emotional health, better social skills, and better communication skills in children.

Fun fact


In conclusion, it’s important for parents to be aware of the mistakes they may be making with kids between 1-3 years old and how to fix them. The biggest mistakes are failing to set boundaries and expectations, not having enough one-on-one time, not speaking to them in a respectful manner, not providing enough physical and emotional support, not being consistent with discipline, and not offering choices. By taking a step back and recognizing what kind of parent you want to be, and adapting your parenting style accordingly, you can ensure that your child grows up feeling secure, loved, and supported.

At the end of the day, parenting is a learning experience – no one is perfect! Just keep an open mind and remember that the love you give your little one will stay with them long after they’ve grown out of their toddler years.


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