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How to deal with the terrible twos

deal with the terrible twos

A child undergoes many stages of development – physical, emotional and mental. ‘Terrible Twos’ is a stage when toddlers display increased need to be independent. This includes making both rational and unreasonable choices. Here are some ways to deal with the terrible twos.

Take control of the situation

When your child is throwing a temper tantrum, stay calm and take control of the situation. Anxiety and tension can only make things worse to the parent as well as the child. During such tantrum episodes, as a first and foremost step, calm him/her down. One of the key skills for any parent to learn is to avoid reacting emotionally in a situation. Spanking or yelling at the toddler are knee-jerk reactions. For example, if the child has caught hold of a match box and throws a tantrum when you take it away, control the situation, by responding, “I know you are upset that I did not give you the match box for playing. It is not a toy. Once you stop crying, you can play with other toys”. If there is an outburst in public, choose not to buckle under pressure. Take the child away from place and calm him/her down. Be gentle and firm to let the child know that there will be a consequence for bad behavior. Use discipline techniques such as taking away of privileges or time-out to enforce good behavior. This will calm your toddler and remove him/her out of the situation. Parents must be consistent in using punishment techniques. Else, chances are that toddlers will not take the words seriously and may repeat the erratic behavior.

Give your toddler options

When your kid is insistent that he/she wants to wear a specific dress which you may not approve due to various reasons, give him/her an option to choose between two dresses. This will makes your child feel independent as he/she is making his/her own choice. You also should let her know that, it is his/her choice and he/she is bound to live with it no matter how the choice turns out to be. This forms the basis in developing decision making skill in the child. You must also ensure that you give your child limited options to choose as it is easier for a toddler to make a simple choice.

Establish a routine

Toddlers are averse to unfamiliar circumstances, environment and situations. Children often get confused in chaotic and become aggressive by throwing tantrums. It pays to prepare your child mentally so that he/she knows what to expect in an upcoming situation such as a visit to the doctor, guests at home, visiting a friend’s house, etc., Sticking to basic daily routines will leave you with a less frustrated toddler. Ensure you build a consistent routine for meals, bedtime, playtime, bath time, and other routines during the day. However, be flexible enough to make appropriate changes to a routine if it is not working for you or your child.

Healthy diet

Food plays an important role in a child’s diet. It must be a diet that is balanced and healthy. Do not encourage intake of processed foods with chemicals, additives, excess sugar and salt. Studies show that these ingredients play havoc on the child’s health and fitness. These over-stimulate the child leading to hyperactivity and uncontrolled behavior. A well-rested child is known to have lesser behavioral problems than a worn out and tired toddler. Ensure your child gets a minimum of 12-14 hours of sleep including the short naps during the day. Establish a sleep routine with relaxed environment to induce good sleep. Soothing music, reading a story book, a cup of warm milk helps an exhausted toddler to get that much needed rest.

Encourage good behavior and use positive words

Treat your toddler as an adult without using command language like “stop jumping on the bed!” Instead be polite to say “Please stop jumping on the bed.” Choosing the correct words enforces positive behavior in kids. Like adults, toddlers also like being told what to do than being told what they should not be doing.

It is a proven technique that praising, complimenting a child is a prime factor to motivate him/her to retain the good behavior. Whenever your child displays good behavior, reinforce the good habit with words of encouragement. A child loves to hear good words or receive a pat on the back for their good deeds. Children are known to respond to such motivation and soon it becomes a habit over a period of time. A compliment, a small goody, toy or an extra time to watch television are some of the techniques that can be used to boost the child’s confidence.

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