Why is it you can’t go to a supermarket without seeing a raging toddler, kicking and screaming face down on the floor because her mum won’t let her have a lolly? And why does it always have to be your toddler? The answer of course is The Terrible Twos. And it’s not just your toddler: it simply feels that way when the whole supermarket is staring at you!
The Terrible Twos are often characterised by oppositional behaviour, mood changes, and temper tantrums. ‘No’ becomes a favourite word. As trying as it might be, all are considered a normal part of child development – your toddler’s ability to communicate simply hasn’t caught up with her desire to communicate, hence her anger and frustration.
But don’t be fooled by the name. Like other childhood phases, the age range varies and tantrums can first strike any time from before your child’s first birthday to around the age of three. Here’s how to limit those outbursts in the meantime:
- Children find routines reassuring, so try to stick to a predictable schedule from day to day.
- Give regular healthy snacks to keep your toddler’s blood sugar steady and minimise mood swings.
- Offer limited choices – two options are plenty – to your toddler. For example, ‘Do you want apple juice or orange juice in your cup?’ rather than ‘What would you like to drink?’.
- Acknowledge your child’s frustration, by saying ‘Gosh, you’re furious, aren’t you’ or ‘I understand’. If she thinks you’ve got the message, she won’t have to scream at the top of her lungs to get it across.
- Set boundaries (but expect her to test them).
- If all else fails, provide a safe, toddler-proof environment for when your little angel does throw a wobbler.