Why Does My Toddler Acts Out When Dad Comes Home? Understanding and Handling the Behavior

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

When you have a small child, you often spend the entire day looking after them and ensuring they are happy. But, the toddler acts out when dad comes home. It’s strange and unexpected, but it happens to many families. Your child’s behavior may begin to change dramatically. They may begin screaming, pushing, or being extremely loud towards Dad. This can be confusing and unexpected for everyone. 

When dad comes home, parents are sometimes bothered and puzzled by their child’s actions. But don’t be concerned. We’ll discuss why toddlers may act this way when their dad returns home, and we’ll give you some suggestions for improving this. We’ll also give dads some hints and tips on how they can help.

How Toddlers Misbehave When Dad Comes Home

Toddlers are notable for their unpredictable behavior, which can be aggravated when their dad comes home. Here are some typical ways toddlers react when Dad arrives:

Toddler Meltdowns When Dad Gets Home

Little kids may act when their dad comes home. Splitting behavior means they may push their dad away. It can be confusing, but keep in mind that young children are still learning how to manage their emotions. 

Toddler Can Sometimes Hit Their Dad

Toddlers can behave in a different manner with each parent and, on occasion, hit their dad. They might not be able to express their emotions or desire attention. Toddlers may misbehave after visiting their dad because they miss him.

Why Do Toddlers Act Out When Dad Comes Home?

Knowing why toddlers act out when their dad comes home is vital for effectively managing their behavior.

Here are some reasons why it happens:

Toddlers Can Perceive Dad’s Arrival

Have you ever wondered why your toddler all of a sudden starts acting out? Have you noticed that toddler hates mom and loves dad? It can be because the toddler gets upset when Dad comes home since it interrupts their daily routine. This can make them uncomfortable, and they might misbehave to show how they feel.

Dads’ Presence Is Significant for Toddlers

Toddler feels the presence of their dad, who plays an important role in their daily life. When dads come home from work, toddlers might feel happy.

Toddlers Are Possessive of Their Mother

Toddlers usually love their main caregiver, who is usually their mom. But when dad comes home, they might worry that their special connection with mom is in danger.

How to Handle a Toddler’s Behavior When Dad Comes Home

Below are some of the solutions to consider while in the situation:

Accepting the Reality of Your Toddler’s Behavior

Always bear in mind that the way your toddler acts up does not represent parental input or their personality.

Toddlers still are learning how to deal with their feelings as they grow older. They may act out at times, but this is usually because it is all related to the process of learning.

Stay Patient and Understanding With Their Toddlers

When a child misbehaves even though both parents are around, staying calm and showing that you care about them even in such situations is important.

Reduce the Toddler’s Stress and Anxiety

Toddlers act out when their dad comes home when stressed or tired. It is important to create a conducive environment for the kid by playing soft music.

Strategies for Handling Toddler Behavior

Don’t Give In to Your Toddler’s Demands

When a child is not behaving well, it is well-advised not to give them what they may want. In the event you do, their behavior will get worse and even more difficult in the future.

Avoid Punishing Your Toddler for Feeling This Way

If a parent punishes a child for being upset, it can hurt their relationship. This can also make the child angry and untrusting. But parents can help their children by being kind and supportive when they behave well.

Encourage Regular Time With Dad

When a dad spends time with his or her kid, the kid may become more comfortable and feel safer. This can be demonstrated by a dad reading a story to the child on a daily basis. This is necessary so that the child does not push dad away

Stay in the Background

While your child is with their father, it is important to give them room and let them have fun with their moment together. 

Avoiding disruptions can make your child more relaxed and less concerned, so they can concentrate on having fun and avoiding the situation of the toddler rejecting mum.

The Role of Dad in Mitigating Toddler’s Behavior

As a father, you must understand your role in your child’s life. While moms generally handle most childcare duties, dads can play an important role in reducing toddler behavior.  Dads can help handle the situation and create a positive connection with their children.

Dad Can Contribute to Handling the Situation

Dads can help to moderate their toddler’s behavior when they come home. Creating a positive bond between dad and toddler is essential, leading the child to behave for everyone.

Create a Positive Connection Between Dad and Toddler

It is recommended that dads build good relationships with their kids, like spending time together and doing things they enjoy. By doing this, you are showing the kids that you care about them. A child is more likely to behave well when they feel safe and loved, thus preventing the toddler from acting out suddenly.

Examples of Dad’s Involvement

Dads can participate in various ways to help their toddler’s behaviour. The following are some of the examples:

  1. Engaging in physical games like hide and seek.
  2. Before going to bed, read stories or sing songs.
  3. Going for walks or exploring nature as a team.
  4. Having a face-to-face conversation and respecting their emotions and thoughts reflects on caring for the child.
  5. Take turns disciplining your child with the mom.
  6. Helping with chores like cleaning the kids’ toys.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do if a Toddler Rejects a Father, Saying, “I Don’t Like Daddy”?

Sometimes toddlers might go through stages where they want to be with one parent more than the other. If your child rejects their father, you mustn’t force the relationship.

Encourage dads to have a more fun time with their little ones by doing cool things like playing games or reading stories. This will help the child build a great connection with their dad and avoid scenarios of the child acting differently with one parent.

Why Do Kids Behave With One Parent and Not the Other?

Sometimes a child may act differently to one parent rather than the other. For instance, a child might feel scared or lonely. 

If a toddler hits one parent, it could result in being uncomfortable. Both parents must spend time with their children to stop this behavior.

Why Do Kids Act Up After Visiting Dad?

When toddlers visit their dad, they may be afraid they cannot spend time together or stay connected to him. This can cause them to act inappropriately.

It is always important for toddlers to spend time with their dads and have fun together. This will help them feel close and happy hence creating a strong bond.


Remembering that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another is very important. On the other hand, parents can help their toddlers adjust to changes in their routines and behavior. By being involved in their child’s life, dads can help create a positive environment and build a strong relationship with their child. 

Encouraging both parents to be involved in their toddler’s life can help create a safe and loving environment and avoid situations where a toddler hates mom loves dad or vice versa, resulting in positive behavioral changes.

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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