Terrible twos are the most dreadful thing for any parent to think of. Let alone to realize they are in it with their child. What most people don’t realize, is that those terrible two’s turn into terrible three’s. Most of the terrible that this stage is speaking about is a combination of things.
Between the ages of one and three, there are many things going on developmentally, and it isn’t always easy to deal with for the child. If the child is over stimulated, or just can’t deal with the situation, they will have a tantrum. Tantrums are what is most known when referencing terrible two’s. A tantrum can ensue simply because the child does not have the necessary language skills to communicate what they want to communicate to us.
As a parent, when your child is having a tantrum, you either really want to help them calm down and feel better, or you want to run away and hide. Either way, if we show we are frustrated, it doesn’t ever seem to help the situation.
To avoid those terrible two tantrums, try to keep a predictable routine for your child. Get up and get ready at the same time, with the same routine, every morning. As you’re getting ready for the day, talk through the rest of the day’s schedule. Do what you can to avoid problem areas. If your child hates getting dressed, have him sleep in his clothes for the next day. If he doesn’t like rushing through breakfast, allow plenty of time for a full bowl of cereal or plate of eggs and pancakes.
Another piece of advice is to provide limited choices. Don’t let your child choose which toys to take out of her entire toy bin. Only hold out a few options to her, and allow her to choose which one to take on your shopping trip. If your kid wants her afternoon snack, give her two options to choose from, rather than choosing for her. This will allow you to teach her that she chose to eat this, or take that, and that she is a big girl.
If there’s an unavoidable activity that you know your child will hate, like a trip to the doctor, do what you can to prepare your kiddo for the event by talking through what to expect. And – just to get through it – I’m not above bribery – use something you know your kiddo loves, whether it’s a Curious George video or a few M&Ms.
But what do you do when you are already in the middle of a tantrum?
Simple. Enforce with reasonable consequences. Whether it is taking the toy away for a few minutes, or sitting in time out, they learn that when they have bad behavior there is a punishment. Over time they will learn to control their behavior. It won’t happen overnight, it does take time.
Don’t give in! It is so hard to not give in to those pouty lips and tears running down the cheeks. Somehow when they cry they can look like the cutest anime cartoon character with those large eyes. But don’t give in! They suck us in with this cuteness to get what they want, however, if we give in, then they learn they can do it all the time!
Photo: flickr.com/photos/stepram/9382400243Filed under Parenting Advice, Parenting Toddlers | Comment (0)