His sock is on wrong. His lip tastes salty. The car seat is weird. His brother looked at him. He’s now allowed in the oven. A shoe should fit either food. According to his blog post, “46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out About” (www.jasongood.net) these are just some of the hilarious but oh-so-true triggers for his tot to lose what’s left of his reason.
If you too have a toddler land mine on your hands, you will understand how difficult it can be to live with anyone who LOVES baths one minute and HATES them so much the next that they try to dismantle it with their bare hands. But not only is this behaviour completely normal, it is also fairly reasonable when you think about it.
Your toddler’s brain is growing at a ferocious rate and their communication skills struggle to keep up. You might think he is being a spoiled brat and even worry about your own parenting skills, but actually your two year old is having a bit of a personal crisis: They have just learned how to walk and want to explore absolutely everything now but they keep hearing the word “No” all the time. It’s no wonder the result is a ferocious tantrum.
During this period, it’s going to be impossible to prevent toddler freak outs (aka tantrums!). Your child’s self-control and ability to understand his emotions is virtually nil – so his first response to frustration is to grab the nearest object and hurl it across the room.
But whilst it is impossible to avoid tantrums altogether, you can sidestep a few if you learn to understand your child’s key triggers. Every child is different so your own instincts and understanding of you little one will go a long way on this score, but here are some of the likely suspects that just might be behind their latest freak out.
Toddlers get serious famished very fast. The rate at which they process food can vary depending on their activity and whether or not they are experiencing a growth spurt. Having some healthy snacks ready and raring to go at the first sign of hunger can really help in staving off a cranky fit.
Dressing your tot becoming a bit of a battle? How about meal times? Toddlers increasingly feel the need to assert their independence. Whilst negotiating is not recommended, limited choices will help. Instead of trying to stuff them in to a chosen outfit in the morning – let them choose between two pairs of trousers or two tops. Too much choice can be overwhelming but limited choices will help them feel grown up.
Toddlers need 12 to 14 hours a day but the world is so exciting, they may not want to go to sleep! Overtiredness is the enemy and routine is your friend. Ensure naps and bedtime are at the same time every day and sleep might just save your sanity.
Trying to explain to a toddler that wearing nothing but a nappy and a Bob the Builder hat might not be the best option in the depths of winter can be tricky and exhausting. As long as it’s not a health and safety risk, giving in to the occasional toddler indulgence and saying “YES” instead of no will make everyone happier. So fire up the central heating and let mini Bob the Builder go nuts in the living room every now and again.
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