Parental Advice Week 4th – 10th July
‘How to Deal With the ‘Terrible Twos’
Your lovely angelic cherub suddenly develops a personality overnight, communicating only through screaming and the word ‘no’ – welcome to the terrible twos. This can be an extremely challenging time for parents but it is extremely common and something most parents will go through with their children.
According to the *MAYO clinic, the ‘terrible twos’ can be defined as a normal stage in a child’s development characterized by mood changes, temper tantrums and excessive use of the word ‘no’.
Keep Calm and Don’t React
When your child is having a temper outburst, it is important to remain calm. This might seem impossible, but it is important to avoid inadvertently reinforcing their behaviour. Reasoning with them may also seem sensible, but until children around 3 years old the ability to fully understand ‘why’ has not developed.
When you’re in the middle of the supermarket and your child is adamant they need a four pack of Bounty, it can be hard to say no just to avoid a temper tantrum. Letting them cry at home can be one thing, but out in public can be extremely stressful and embarrassing. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t make you a bad parent – most of the people around you will be parents too so they will understand what you’re going through.
Prevention is better than the Cure
When your child is feeling overwhelmed, a tantrum is more likely to occur. So if they are hungry, tired or bored it is important to be prepared. Over time, you may be able to anticipate these tantrums through these cues and reactions to situations. Try and distract your child before this happens. Provide a snack, try and settle them down for a nap or play a quiet activity before the potential tantrum occurs.
Controlling a Tantrum
It is important to give your child a little bit of control over their life as this is where their frustration lies, so give them a choice of what to wear or ask what they would like to eat. However, avoid any open ended questions as this can lead to ‘no’ or ‘why’ being repeated over and over.
Making a run for it
Once your toddler finds their feet, they are going to try walk and run everywhere, including places you don’t want them to go. They also probably won’t listen when you shout at them to stop, which can lead you to quickly become stressed and angry at your child. It is essential to allow time for them to spend time both in and out of the buggy.