You’re not alone in struggling with a toddler. A psychologist offers some strategies.
1. Don't deny their strong feelings. If, for example, your child is extremely afraid of the dog, don't say, ‘Don't be silly, the dog won't do anything to you.’ Rather, offer to take their hand to go and pet the dog together.
2. Encourage your child to make his own decisions. Give him limited choices (too many and he will find it hard to decide). For example, ‘Do you want an apple or a banana?’ or ‘Do you want to watch TV or read a book?’
If he is given the opportunity to make his own decisions every now and again then he will also feel the freedom of being in control.
3. Get creative. You obviously can't give into every ‘NO!’ that your child screams, nor every demand. You can't challenge them all the time either. Sometimes just thinking outside the box a bit helps.
For instance, if you tell your toddler that it's time to go bath and he screams a very adamant ‘NO!’, then instead of always saying, ‘I am your mother and you will listen to me, now GO!’ you can try something like, ‘Let's see who can make the most bubbles tonight in the bath!’
4. Toddlers like to do everything themselves, so try and encourage this independence. Wake up half an hour earlier so that she can get dressed all on her own. This helps her develop confidence and she will feel self-reliant.
5. Plan ahead. Megan Faure, author of Toddler Sense, says that you should only go out for an hour per year of your baby's life. So if your child is 1 year old, then don't plan an outing for more than an hour. Remember, if your child is tired, hungry or over-stimulated, it is only a matter of time before it all erupts in a tantrum.
6. Stand your ground. On non-negotiables like putting their seatbelt on, going to bed on time and getting ready for school, be firm and don't give in. Toddlers need these boundaries. Giving into their tantrums basically tells them that with enough fussing they will be able to get whatever they want.
7. Remember that all parents want to pull their hair out at this stage - you're not a bad mom and your child isn't a brat. You're just passing through the terrible two's, which when you stop to see the humour in it, aren't that terrible after all.
What can you expect from your toddler?
What other strategies would you suggest for the toddler stage?