HorizonChild development experts say that the phenomenon known as the "terrible twos" does not necessarily start (or end) when a child reaches two years of age. This phase can start right after a child's first birthday (as he or she enters their second year of life) or when a child is closer to being three years old.

You need expert toddler care at this age because a childcare provider who simply becomes frustrated or responds in anger to what they see as defiance can damage your child's growth and development. At this stage, toddlers are learning to become more independent but at the sometime they lack the ability to express themselves completely so they may resort to hitting, biting or tantrums.

As a parent you may not be able to avoid some acting out on the part of your toddler, but you can be prepared so that when your adorable little baby reaches this stage, you are not completely shocked. Here are some tips to help you cope with your toddler's bid for independence:

  • Make an effort to stick to a routine each day. Try to have your toddler eat, nap, and go to bed at the same time.
  • Be sure to childproof your home and keep unsafe things out of your toddler's reach. You can avoid battles over forbidden items your toddler may try to grab if they are already out of the way.
  • Try not to cave when your child has a tantrum because giving in will only encourage that type of behavior.
  • Offer your child choices rather than allowing him or her to choose from an array of items (e.g. "Do you want to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt today?"). This way your child will feel as if he or she gets to make decisions. If you ask more open-ended questions ("What do you want to eat?" or "What do you want to wear?") your child may opt for something you cannot allow and this could lead to a tantrum when you need to say no.