Screaming fits, total meltdowns, refusals… what has happened to your once perfect little child? Why now, when you were getting along so famously, has everything changed? Why do you now wonder whether it’s even worth taking them out somewhere if a tantrum is what you will encounter? And we all know the embarrassment and guilt that that causes! But the good news is that it doesn’t last forever. This stage is called the ‘terrible twos’ for a reason. What is important to remember is that your little one’s mind and body are growing and changing, allowing them to do more, to experience more. It can be scary. It can be exciting. Most of all it’s confusing, and because they don’t know what their bodies and brain are capable of, they test them out. That testing can result in what we might call ‘bad behaviour’, but it’s perfectly natural. Essential, in fact.
So if you have some coping strategies for when it all starts to go horribly wrong and your prince or princess turns into a fire breathing dragon, then that’s even better. We understand; here they are.
Nap Time Is Crucial
Your child will do a lot of growing and self-soothing during sleep, so don’t disrupt nap time unless it’s absolutely, totally, completely necessary. Try to plan your day around those naps – your child will be far less irritable.
Meal Time Schedules
Something else to plan your day around is meal times. We can all get cranky when we’re hungry, and what with everything else that is going on, that can go double for your toddler. If you are going to be out when meal times usually happen, make sure you have enough healthy snacks with you to fill the gap. Not only will it keep them healthier, it will focus their attention so they won’t get so cross.
Work Out What Does It
You can’t allow yourself to become a hermit just because your child throws a tantrum when they go to the supermarket or library or anywhere else that comes to mind. You need to get out in the fresh air for your own good, let alone your child’s, even if it is only a quick hop to the shops. So work out what it is that upset them. Is it the crowds? The sweets that they aren’t allowed? Is it too noisy? Is it boring? Try to find out. Try to make it more of a game.
Don’t Give In
If you child starts stamping their food because they want a sweet or a toy or some colourful comic, for example, and you’ve said no, don’t change your mind. Don’t give in. No matter how guilty you feel or how much you want the yelling to stop. Be strong! Giving in only sends the message that have a meltdown will get them what they want. It might be the easy option, but it will cause problems down the line for both of you.