So, what is terrible twos? Basically, it is about the toddler expressing his new-found independence and wanting control. He wants to stand on his own two feet but is lacking the skills! He will always see things differently from the parents, with favourite word being ‘no’ to almost all request. "Please put away the toys," says Mummy, but he will retort back with a negative answer. He too, will have frequent mood changes resulting in temper tantrums more often than before. Even small things that upset him will result in tantrums and aggressions.
During this trying period, there are ways to try and help your toddler. This is actually a normal phase in a toddler’s development. It is also a good sign that he is on the right development track. He may be testing your limits but do remember that he is just expressing his independence and is trying to do things on his own. But with limited vocabulary and skills, he cannot express himself well. So, the only easy way out for him is by saying no. Parents need to be aware of this and should try not to add more conflicts during this situations.
First and foremost, be calm and patient when you are handling the terrible twos. It is easy for adults to ask a child to ‘Play together with the others.’ For a toddler who has just learned to grasp the meaning of toy ownership, this is certainly not an easy instruction. Why should he, when the concept is still new to him and he is not willing to share. Parents need not force the idea onto the toddler. He may get frustrated and will start throwing tantrums. Try to understand what he is going through at that time. Instead of sharing, why not suggest to him the concept of taking turns. The time will come when he will willingly share his belongings with others.
Other tips to consider include sticking to regular routines and avoid making decisions that will lead toddler to throw tantrums. Regular routines such as, mealtime and bedtime, should be followed religiously every day. In this way, the toddler would get accustomed to the routine and not questioned the rationale of obeying mum’s instructions.
A toddler at this age would very much like to make his own decision. Therefore parents should avoid asking a "yes-no" question. Ask question that will make him decide such as ‘Which book are we reading tonight? Thomas and Friends or Bob, the Builder?’
Effective discipline should start early, even before the onset of terrible twos. If parents had established a set of rules earlier on, toddler would not find it difficult to follow later. Find time to communicate with them as one of the key things that starts terrible twos is the lack of communication skills.
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