Toddlers learn about the world through exploration and part of that exploration is testing boundaries. If you find that your child’s new favorite word is “no” and they fall into a dramatic meltdown when they don’t get their way, don’t worry. The truth is that the “Terrible Twos” are a perfectly natural part of a child’s development and they simply haven’t learned good coping skills yet. Knowing that this stage is normal and that all parents have gone through it helps, but it can still feel like an exhausting power struggle. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to handle toddler tantrums when they occur and ideas for how to avoid tantrum triggers altogether.
Certain scenarios are more likely than others to bring on a tantrum. Avoiding those things will make your life a lot easier. These tantrum triggers are different for all kids and you will quickly get to know your child’s. These are a few of the most common:
Avoiding all triggers that will potentially upset your child is, of course, impossible. Plans will change but doing your best to keep your child in a routine where they are eating and sleeping well will help you avoid a lot of unnecessary meltdowns.
As important as it is to keep a consistent routine for your child, it’s even more important to be consistent with your discipline. What you teach them as a toddler will carry over for years to come; now is when good habits start.
For example, if you want your computer to be off limits you should always say no and direct them to another activity any time they touch it. If occasionally you let it slide, you are sending mixed messages. Any inconsistency in your discipline will only encourage your child to push the limits to see what they can get away with next.
We know; it’s easier said than done. While the Terrible Twos will definitely stretch your patience more than ever before, it is so important that you do your best to remain calm.
Remember that testing boundaries is how your child is learning about the world. They really aren’t doing it to drive you crazy. If you stick to a consistent routine, you’ll find that tantrums happen less and less frequently. When they do occur, often the best thing you can do is simply ignore them. This is definitely a skill that takes practice, but it will teach your toddler that those types of antics simply don’t work.
In the end, getting through the Terrible Twos is a parenting rite of passage. If you have any questions about your child’s behavior, the staff here at Woodburn Pediatric Clinicisalways here to help–give us a call any time at 503-981-5348.