We are all familiar with the “Terrible Twos” and the “Torrid Teens” but I want to offer a different view point.
Our toddlers are enjoying the first stage of independence, they have two legs which will take them wherever they wish to go, and a curious mind that wants to explore everything in their environment. They are developing their dexterity as the pinch and poke to discover how everything works. Putting aside tiredness, hunger and boredom as essential components of temper tantrums, we often create the tantrum in our toddler because of our behaviour; interrupting exploration, removing an interesting gadget which he is playing with (eg the remote control, cell phone or similar) and saying “NO”.
If we as the parents or caregiver took a little time at the end of each day to ensure that the important, expensive gadgets were out of reach, and the house was ‘child-proofed’ in terms of breakable and precious items not being in sight or reach of your toddler, we would greatly minimize the number of tantrums we have to deal with in a day. Then, instead of saying ”NO” so many times, we would be free to engage in child friendly and interactive play.
Teens are sometimes seen as a “second toddler-hood” – another push for emotional, social and physical independence. As parents we often feel even more tested and stretched in this phase of life – however, we can pave the way to an easier process of parenting teens, if we use the toddler phase to get some basics in place;
1) Let your “YES” mean YES and your “NO” mean NO, then our children do not get confused! In other words, stick to what you said.
2) Be consistent in what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.
3) Distract toddlers away from what is dangerous and going to end up in trouble rather than taking them “head-on”
4) Create a daily routine around meals, naps and bedtime and weave your other activities around these regular activities to avoid hunger, and exhaustion to be a trigger for tantrums.
5) Be present and available. To ensure quality time together, put away your cell-phone, tablet, computer and TV and get down to their level and do something together. Go for a walk, read a story, bath together, have a romp in the garden, eat together and engage.
Sharing the beginning and the end of the day is so vital when we are apart during the day because of work, school or day care.
Time together can alleviate tantrums for all of us!