We have taken care of children from babies through five years old at our child care centres in the Perth area. One of the more challenging ages, both for parents and for day care providers, is the “terrible twos.” At two years old, most children seem to discover the true meaning and pleasure of the word “no.” Occasionally, it can seem like they say “no” to everything.
But what is really happening here? Understanding the thought process can help parents and carers become problem solvers instead of feeling like they are “just along for the ride.”
When a child is an infant, they are following everything the parent says. As they transition into toddler status, they begin to perceive themselves as having more power and tend to test their limits.
The result is a tug of war. Unfortunately, if the “tug of war” continues, a “me against you” or “zero sum” situation develops. This is never good for either side.
So, how do you resolve the terrible twos in a way that is mutually beneficial and doesn’t promote an adversarial position or “sides?”
Tantrums are Really Needs
Remember the golden rule of the terrible twos: every time your child throws a tantrum, it means that there is an underlying need. Your challenge is to find that underlying need and turn the terrible twos into the terrific twos by turning tantrums into opportunities for bonding.
Rule #1: Don’t try to reason during a tantrum.
The best way to handle a tantrum is to say something along the lines of “I understand how frustrated you are, but I can’t let you [fill in behaviour]. If you want to scream and kick, I’ll stay close by until you are finished.”
If this doesn’t work, say “I’m going to leave you alone for a few minutes. When you are finished kicking and screaming, come talk to me about what’s bothering you.”
If you need a break, contact Cuddles Childcare Centres.