Thursday, July 30, 2009

Terrible Twos - Toddler Tantrums

article by
Valerie Powers
from the Orlando Early Childhood Parenting Examiner

Recently, a celebrity likened having a toddler, to being around a "miniature drunk," all of the time. He was spot on with that assessment, because it is true. Irrational, clingy, boisterous, irresponsible and stumbling into things; this describes toddlerhood. 24/7. You can also expect odd behaviors such as undressing, undiapering (ick!), yelling, hitting...the list of naughtiness really is limitless. Sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's stressful. How you cope with this time, well, that's another thing.
Parents should know that the dreaded "terrible twos" are actually completely normal developmentally, for your child. Dr. Greene, a renowned pediatrician, says that children at this age are still learning to make appropriate choices. And by limiting some of their options; you will curb some (not all) of their tantrums. Frequently, these outbursts of unruly behavior are caused by your toddler's inability to articulate themselves; they grow frustrated and react boldly.
Something to keep in mind, is that this "terrible" time can extend into age three (or it can commence before age two). Here are some tips for curtailing tantrums and unruly behavior:
  • Set a routine each day, and stick to it - this gives your toddler some normalcy
  • Limit sugary snacks and offer up healthy foods to keep blood sugar regulated
  • Offer limited choices for each quandary; this eliminates some arguing
  • Set limits, and be prepared to offer up consequences when these limits are pushed (such as implementing a time-out or toy removal policy)
  • Toddler-proof your environment to avoid scuffles
Now is the time to really connect with your little one and focus on building communication skills. Some folks insist that Baby Sign Language, is the key to building your child's vocabulary, emotional and intellectual development. Additionally, proponents of Baby Sign Language tout the benefits of BSL helping to eliminate tantrums; it is said that the improved communication between parent/baby will enhance relationships.
If you find yourself in the throes of a tantrum, experts recommend that you remain calm. Refrain from yelling and getting visibly upset. It is said parents should be consistent with their reactions to their toddler's tantrums and behavior; this helps calm your toddler down. For those of you coping with a toddler that was born prematurely; know that your wee one will still go through this phase at some point - it will just probably be delayed depending upon your child's corrected age.

Parents should go easy on their toddler during this tumultuous time; remember that your wee one is mastering skills such as: coordination, eating independently, dressing, potty-training and more. That is a lot for a little person to cope with, so be patient.
Be sure to give yourself a break - and your toddler, too. Send your child to visit grandparents for the weekend, and take the time to relax and get rejuvenated. Toddlers also crave a change of pace and scenery, so an occasional break for each of you is definitely a healthy bet. And remember: toddlerhood is just a stage of development, so embrace the goodness that comes along with it, too...before it's long gone!

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1 comment:

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