When a child is between 18-24 months of age, the terrible twos will be creeping up. This stage in a child’s life is frustrating. The child wants to be more independent, but he or she is not old enough to explore completely on his or her own. Also in some cases, a child may not be able to tell mom and dad what he or she wants, so they express this by throwing tantrums, by kicking, screaming, and many other creative ways a child can come up with. Frustration is not always due to not being able to communicate and in some cases this should not be ignored. A child who seems to be going through the terrible twos could be showing signs of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Once ADHD has been ruled out as the cause, following these steps will help in make the terrible twos more bearable.
What to do before the tantrum starts?
Parents can recognize the sign of a tantrum before it starts. The typical signs of a tantrum are whimpering, being antsy, shows he or she does not want help with a task he or she is trying to do, etc. When you see these signs happening there are ways to try to prevent the tantrum from happening:
- Distract and Redirect
This tip is good when your child is having trouble with a task such as trying to open a toy or trying to move a toy to another part of the room. At first he or she may not want your help, but calmly show him or another toy in the area of the room he or she wants to play. This will usually distract your child to not want to complete the other task he or she was trying to do, which would have caused the tantrum.
- Relaxation Method
This method is good when your child is beginning to get cranky because of sleepiness or there may be too much commotion going on around the child which will cause frustration. Take the child out of the situation that is about to spark the tantrum. Holding the child and slowly rocking and humming will help calm the child down and prevent the tantrum.
What to do during the tantrum?
It is hard for parents to ignore their children when he or she is crying, kicking, screaming and so on. Determine if the situation is serious to the point where the child is in pain or hurt in any way. After determining that the kicking and screaming is just a tantrum, ignore the child. Children usually throw tantrums when he or she wants attention or to get his or her own way; by ignoring them will immediately stop the child from kicking and screaming because he or she will want to know why mom or dad is not paying attention to them.
- Walk out of Room
Make sure the area is safe for your child to throw his or her tantrum and walk out of the room. Your child will probably continue to scream and may begin hitting his or her head off the wall or some other act to get your attention. Whatever you do, do not go back into that room. That is what the child wants. Eventually he or she will see that what they are doing is not going to work and will stop.
- No Discipline or Reasoning
So many parents try to reason with their children when the child is throwing a tantrum. This method is pointless. Your child is not hearing you and does not really care what you have to say, unless it is what he or she wants to hear. Discipline will just make the situation worse and it can frustrate the parent and disciplining while frustrated is not a good combination.
The terrible twos have been around for ages and will continue to be there in the future. The best way to deal with the terrible twos is to acknowledge that the terrible twos are here and take steps in dealing with it. Depending on where your child is developmentally wise, he or she may not be able to tell you what he or she wants. So the only option for your child is to throw that tantrum. Stay calm and do your best to follow these helpful steps in making the terrible twos more bearable.