The time that most first-time parents are worried about is when their child is a newborn. However, compared to the terrible twos, that’s an easy stage. Or, at least, for most parents it is. Once children get to around two years old, they tend to go through a stage of behaving badly. Most people believe that this is because their minds are developing at a fast rate but their communication skills are not. This causes them to get easily frustrated causing a tantrum to occur.
Although stressful, the terrible twos won’t last forever. However, to put a stop to bad behaviour as quickly as possible, it’s important to know how to handle tantrums. With that in mind, below are a few tips that should help to make surviving the terrible twos that little bit easier.
Always stay calm
It can sometimes be a struggle to stay calm when a child is throwing a tantrum, but the worst thing that you can do is lose control. If you turn around and scream back at them, not only will you scare them and upset them more, but you will also make the situation worse. If your child’s screaming is stressing you out, take a couple of minutes to calm down. Try deep breathing to see if that helps. Remember that your child is trying to express how they’re feeling, it’s not a personal attack on you. So stay calm, cool and collected, and you’ll find it easier to cope.
Try distracting them
Whatever it is that has caused your child to have a meltdown, try distracting them from it. Whether they’re crying over not being able to get a new toy, have an ice cream, or about naptime, sometimes distracting them can work well. Read them a book, give them a cuddle, or play with their toys with them. If they’re too far into the tantrum, this tactic may not work. However, if it’s just in the early stages, it could be worth a try.
Stop them from hurting themselves
When throwing a tantrum, in an attempt to get their way, some toddlers have a tendency to hold their breath, bang their head, or scratch at their skin. This is their way of trying to make you let them get want they want. While it’s important not to give into this behaviour, it’s also important to prevent them from hurting themselves. Say, your child is holding their breath to try and make you change your mind, the best thing to do calmly talk to them. This should calm them down enough to stop them from holding their breath out of anger. If not, flicking a small amount of cold water onto their face should do the trick. Or, if your child has a tendency to scratch themselves when having a tantrum, it could be worth investing in a pair of toddler scratch mitts for them. This will prevent them from being able to scratch their skin and cause damage.
Move away from them
As a last resort during a tantrum, the best thing to do is ignore your child and move away from them. Let them scream all they want to. Eventually, they’ll get bored. Just make sure that if you move away from them, that they’re in a safe place. A lot of parents implement a naughty step or a timeout corner, as it gives the child a chance to think about what they’ve done.
There you have it, everything that first-time parents should know about surviving the terrible twos.