Toddlers are adorable. They don’t have the filters that older children have, because they’ve just outgrown babyhood, so they bring tons of spontaneity, honesty and fun to the lives of those around them. However, dealing with the terrible twos, toddlers may occasionally (or more than occasionally) be a bit of a handful!
This period in a child’s life tends to provoke some unruliness. Behavior problems, including defiance, are quite common during this phase of a child’s development. If you want to learn how to talk to your toddler through the terrible twos, we think that you’ll find this practical guide helpful. It’s full of common-sense toddler parenting tips which definitely get good results.
How to Deal with the Terrible Twos: Rapport is All-important
The key to resolving problems and teaching your child the right way to behave is establishing rapport between the two of you. So, let’s discuss the best way to improve communication. Better communication will act as an emotional bridge which connects you with your little son or daughter.
Dealing with the Terrible Twos: Understand Your Toddler’s POV
You may not realize that toddlers dislike changes. This aspect of the toddler POV (point of view) often drives a lot of bad toddler behavior. Talking with your child about what’s going to happen, before it happens, will be the key to preparing your adorable tot for imminent change.
For example, if you’re going to take your child somewhere unfamiliar, prepare him or her at least ten to fifteen minutes beforehand. This will give your child a chance to mentally transition. It may even prevent a meltdown.
When your toddler isn’t happy, dealing with the terrible twos is much more difficult, so you must step in and handle him or her in a kind, yet firm manner. Talking with your child about his or her emotions is important. You may validate the emotions, while also explaining that acting out isn’t acceptable.
For example, let’s pretend for a moment that you have a toddler son (you actually may, of course!) and that he is having a tantrum while you’re both at a toy store, because you won’t buy him the toy that he loves. To defuse the situation, bend down to his level and then look him or her in the eye. Next, explain that you understand that he or she feels angry.
When you look at your toddler’s red face, which may be tear-streaked, also look for the compassion within yourself…no matter how tired or frustrated you are! Your child is a tiny person, after all. After you acknowledge his emotions, explain why the tantrum is not the solution. Let your toddler know that the tantrum is too noisy and that it’s not an acceptable way to act in public. You don’t need to be too harsh about this. Just share the facts. Tantrums in public are not alright.
Lastly, use the art of distraction. Move your child away from the forbidden toy. Get him or her in a place which makes it easier for the toddler to move on emotionally.
You may remember distracting a fussy baby by ratting your car keys, which are shiny, bright and so enticing to an infant. The same principle works with a toddler, only you need to use words, tone and gestures instead.
You do need to correct bad toddler behavior before you distract, so it’s not just about changing the mood of your child.
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Understanding Toddler Behavior: Your Child is Filled with Emotions
Always remember that emotions influence behavior. Your toddler is acting out because of his or her feelings and understanding this makes dealing with the terrible twos much easier. Children of toddler age just can’t use logic in order to correct themselves. They are emotional creatures all of the time. They don’t have the logic yet, so they react solely based on their feelings.
With this in mind, saying the word, “no” over and over again when you want to correct behavior won’t be as effective as building rapport by acknowledging your child’s feelings and then explaining why certain behavior is wrong. In fact, directing a litany of “no” commands at your child may be counterproductive. They will be tuned out eventually.
Rapport which shows love and respect is the key to soothing an emotional toddler and connecting with him or her.
To learn more, we recommend watching this free presentation on toddler parenting tips which offers unusual advice to effective parenting.