Help! My toddler is playing wild! 10 tips to deal with it properly

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  July 26, 2021

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Different children have different temperaments.

Some who have recently learned to move throw their body from side to side, disregarding what might hit their heads.

On the other hand, cautious kids can stay with mom and dad, waiting for things to come to them.

In this article I would like to consider and answer the question: What can I do with a toddler who is playing wild?

Neither condition in a child is really preferable:

Fortunately, parents can help by creating experiences that reinforce or encourage boundaries to break through a child's self-imposed boundaries.

It is important to note that there is an important developmental reason why children can be reckless and adventurous.

It's a product of their curiosity, and curiosity is incredibly good, according to dr. Kathryn Smerling, a New York child and family therapist who specializes in developmental issues.

Curiosity is the hallmark of early childhood and a curious child is one who will be very smart and very interested in the world and ask questions about the world in which he lives.

That questioning child is a child who wants answers. It is a hallmark of intelligence and opening up to the world.

With that in mind, it is important that parents, when considering conveying some caution by setting hard boundaries, do not also hinder a child's sense of discovery.

You have to be careful because you don't want to scare your toddler. But you want to convey clearly what is safe and what is not.

The keyword is “modeling”.

For much of their lives, and especially in toddlerhood, children view parents as the best example of how to navigate the world.

They observe and understand the world through their parents.

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And because they have a developmental age where verbal communication and explanation are not particularly helpful, experiences become the key to development.

Smerling notes that if a parent wants a child to understand that the oven is hot, they may need to portray the experience of burning.

They can approach the oven and extend their hand animatedly before withdrawing their hand in exaggerated pain and saying, “Ouch! Hot!"

It's important to make this clear to them, because you certainly don't want a child to put their hand in the oven because they are adventurous.

But you have to make it experience-oriented, because that's how children learn at that age.

Ways to help a kid who is really playing wild

Maybe you recognize the child who is really playing too wild and you are looking for help what to do.

He bumps into people with a smile on his face and, when you're outside, he rides his tricycle around children playing, threatening to bump into them.

How can you get him to calm down?

The first thing to ask yourself is how you define wild.

Excited screaming and wild play are normal behaviors.

As parents, we can help kids channel their energy, but you don't want to stop them screaming and running when it's appropriate, like while playing outside.

On the other hand, if your child hurts himself or others or breaks things then he has a problem that needs to be addressed.

What Causes Rough Behavior?

There are a number of possible reasons for rough behavior.

Lots of Energie

Some kids (often, but not always, boys) just have a lot of strong energy.

Activities that others find enjoyable play, such as quietly building a block tower, can be very distressing to a child whose urge forces him to run and scream

And some kids are slower to develop impulse control.

Maybe your child is still at the point in development where wanting something translates into intervening without thinking.

Get attention

Also, your child could use roughness to get attention.

What can you do anyway?

Whatever the reason for your child's rude behavior, you obviously can't allow him to hurt people or ruin their stuff.

What can you do?

These are all good ways to get rid of energy and learn what is and isn't allowed.

I've also written about it these 20 fun games for your 2 year old where there are a lot of energy guzzlers to check out.

What else can you do?

How to Help a Wild Toddler Be Careful

But be glad your child is playing and exploring a little wild.

Children who are totally withdrawn and not curious about the world are children we really need to worry about.

Because that also means they are not having fun. Curiosity and play go together.

And luckily the solution there is very simple: withdrawn kids just need to play more. It's that simple.

You may need to widen or narrow the boundaries depending on their development.

And that development is constantly changing. Development is so uneven, you never know when a child will move from one development stage to another.

You need to stay mindful and keep an eye on whether your toddler remains too wild or withdraws more so that you can intervene appropriately and get them more or less out of their shell.

Read also: These are the best ways to burn off energy

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.