Anyone who has ever had a toddler knows that the terrible twos and threes can be, well, awful. From temper tantrums to defiance, plenty of challenges come with raising a young child. This is often the phase where children assert their independence, and they can be quite uncooperative. Does this sound familiar?
If you’re currently in the throes of the terrible twos or threes, don’t despair. There are things you can do to make it through this challenging phase. Here are eight helpful ways to survive the terrible twos and threes:
Be prepared for tantrums
Tantrums are a natural part of childhood. They’re a way for kids to express their frustration, anger, or disappointment when they can’t have their way. Though tantrums can be challenging for parents, there are some things you can do to help prevent them from happening or at least make them less intense. One of the best ways to deal with a toddler tantrum is to be prepared for it. This means having a game plan in place so that you know how to respond when your child starts throwing a fit. Try to stay calm and avoid reacting in an angry or frustrated way. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that tantrums are a normal part of childhood development.
Set limits and be consistent
It’s important to set limits with your child and to be consistent with those limits. This can help prevent tantrums from happening in the first place. If you know they are likely to have a tantrum when they don’t get their way, try to avoid situations where this is likely to happen. For example, if your child tantrums every time you leave them at daycare, try to make drop-offs as short and painless as possible. It’s also important to be consistent with your discipline. If you tell your child they need to stay in time-out for five minutes, make sure they do stay in time-out for five minutes. Consistency will help your child know what to expect, making it easier for them to behave as you want them to.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage good behavior in children of all ages. When your child does something you want them to do, make sure to praise them or give them a hug. This will let them know that they’re doing something right and are more likely to continue that behavior. You can also use positive reinforcement in the form of rewards.
For example, if your child stays in time-out without trying to leave, you could give them a small treat when they’re finished. Just be careful not to overdo it with the rewards, or your child may start expecting a reward every time they behave.
Ignore minor misbehavior
There’s no need to discipline your child for every little thing they do wrong. This can be counterproductive. If you discipline your child for every little thing, they may start to feel like they’re always in trouble, which can lead to behavioral problems. Instead, focus on the significant misbehavior, and try to ignore the minor stuff. This doesn’t mean you should let your child get away with everything, but picking your battles is important.
Give them choices
Giving your child choices is a great way to avoid tantrums and power struggles. When you give them a choice, they feel like they have some control over the situation, which can help prevent them from feeling frustrated. For example, if you’re leaving them with a babysitter, you could ask them if they want to pick out their outfit or choose a book to bring along.
One of the best things you can do when your child misbehaves is to stay calm. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that children often misbehave when they’re feeling upset or overwhelmed. If you react in an angry or frustrated way, it will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to stay calm and collected. This will show your child that they don’t need to act out to get your attention.
Don’t give in
If you give in to your child’s tantrums, they will only continue to have them. This is because they’ve learned that tantrums are an effective way to get what they want. So, even if difficult, it’s essential to stand your ground and not give in. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be inflexible. If your child is upset about something, it’s okay to try to reason with them or offer a compromise.
If your child starts to have a tantrum, try to distract them with something else. For example, if they’re throwing a fit because they don’t want to leave the park, try to interest them in something else, like an ice cream cone or a new toy. This diversion may not work every time, but it’s worth a try.
Dealing with terrible twos and threes can be tough, but it’s important to remember that it’s only a phase. If you can make it through this time, things will get easier. Just hang in there and be sure to use these helpful tips!
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