We are definitely in the terrible twos with Little J – at two and a half years old we have our fair share of meltdowns and it is always a struggle to teach him what he can and cannot do. I thought today I would share some of my tips in managing those battles and maybe help you deal with these challenging moments in raising our little treasures.
The Naughty StepDespite lots of opinions about this well-known Supernanny method, it has worked for us. You have to be firm and persistent in order for it to work, but once you’ve done it a few times they usually get the picture. We started with both children when they were two and just telling them off wasn’t working anymore. We would give them a warning that if they did whatever behaviour we weren’t happy with one more time, then they would go on the step. If they repeated it, we sat them on the bottom step. It does take a lot of patience on your part as more often than not they get straight off. We would put them straight back on and try not to say anything. This could go on for half an hour before they would sit there, and even then they would often scream of throw things nearby. This is all attention seeking and we would ignore it, as giving them any attention would only add fuel to the fire.I usually count to sixty and if they have stayed on the step for that period, return to them. If they get off the step I start counting again as the point is they need to learn that it is your terms or nothing. When I go back to them I sit in front of them, remind them why they are on the step and then ask for an apology and a cuddle. If they don’t want to give a cuddle that’s fine, but I do insist on an apology.It took about a month for this to start to work, and now the threat of the step more often than not stops the behaviour before it starts. As a result we can often avoid fall-outs before they even begin.The Quiet SpotA more comforting version of the naughty step is the quiet spot – fill a space with pillows, blankets and cuddly toys and use it as a quiet spot for tantrumming children to take a moment to calm themselves down in a friendly area where they feel safe. If the naughty step isn’t for you then this might be a much nurturing alternative.Hold Your GroundIf you say no, it means no. It can be really hard to stick to this and I have often found it doesn’t help when family members are around and think you are being too harsh. We often have meltdowns when it comes to leaving the house and putting coats and shoes on, as well as at bedtime and I try to be as firm as I can in order to try and instill a routine. I have always believed that children thrive best with structure and have endeavoured to keep to some form of routine as much as I can. I don’t let this structure control our lives and if we are out and about during naptime then so be it.Picking Your BattlesSometimes it just isn’t worth it. A tantrum can occur from the most minor of things from the colour of a bowl at breakfast to the placement of a toy on the floor. In these instances I try to let it wash over me. I don’t like to pander to their ridiculous demands, but if changing a bowl means I avoid an hour-long meltdown, then it’s what I do. Sometimes it’s a choice between winning a minor battle or your sanity!DistractionIf you can catch the tantrum before it escalates quite often a distraction will work. Try tickling them, offering them a favourite toy or offer to read a story to them. Whatever suits your child and will hopefully redirect their attention to something more positive. Try and speak in an excited voice and make your proposition as enticing as it can be and hopefully the meltdown will be avoided.Keep CalmAs hard as it can be and as much as it may go against the grain, try not to shout or get sucked into a back and forth as this will only exacerbate the situation. If you need to, take a moment yourself and count to ten before you try and have a discussion about what has happened. There’s no point getting involved in a volley as you won’t teach your child how to deal with confrontation effectively and will only add fuel to the fire.~ ~ ~
Do you have tips of your own you can share? Let me know if the comments below. Next week I will be sharing with advice from you, the readers!