Ever had one of those days where your toddler seems to throw one big temper tantrum all day long? My daughter turned 2 a couple of weeks ago, thus we have entered the “terrible twos”. There was a time when I wasn’t really a believer in the terrible twos, but this was before we actually got here. Now I believe!
There are days when Brooke seems to throw a fit about almost anything, from having to go to bed to not having the right person pick her up. Most of the time it seems like nothing will work when we try to calm her down. But in the last several weeks we have had some level of success with the “time out” method. I know, surprising huh? Even more surprising is that she initiated it herself.
There are some evenings when the bedtime routine can cause difficulties, even the mention of getting ready for bed can cause a melt-down. One evening several weeks ago we were going through our nightly bedtime routine,and the time came to brush teeth. I don’t know why, but brushing teeth was not something Brooke wanted to do at the moment. Kicking a screaming ensued and no amount of persuading or bribing would help, it actually seemed to make matters worse.
Then just out of the clear blue sky our little toddler grabbed a doll and sat down on the floor of her bedroom. We asked her if she would like a few minutes to herself and she responded with “yes”. My wife and I left the room and grabbed the video monitor to keep an eye on her. Almost immediately she stopped crying and sat there in her little timeout hugging her doll.
After about 5 minutes we went back in the room and asked her if she was now ready to brush her teeth and she responded with a weak little “yeah”. The remainder of the bedtime routine went by with absolutely no drama.
Wow, that was amazing to us. Not only because she knew that things weren’t going so great, but also because she came up with a solution! Proud daddy right here!
So what did I learn from this little episode?
- There are times when a toddler may feel overwhelmed with the current situation and doesn’t know what to do or how to respond. I believe at times this confusion can help bring on a temper tantrum, especially when coupled with fatigue. One thing I need to keep in mind is to slow down and let her process things at her own pace (when reasonable).
- She wants to behave and be a good girl, and she knows when she is misbehaving. If we give her a chance to calm down and correct herself, a temper tantrum can be short-lived. I understand that a “time out” won’t work every time and in every situation, but it’s something we cab add to our parenting toolbox.
- Start the bed time routine a little earlier when she is not so tired. When we get her ready for bed earlier we have extra quiet time to help her wind down. This is much better than attempting to get her ready in a compressed time frame.
Yes, we have entered to terrible two’s. I also hear about the terrible three’s and the fearful fours, so I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn. Here’s to parenting!
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