Chase the Blues out of the Terrible Twos (and beyond!)
Parents are often screaming for
solutions that will help them handle their toddler going through the stage we
call the “terrible twos” – especially when those twos expand into the threes,
the fours, maybe even the teens, and into adulthood!
Yet the terrible twos really need not
be terrible, and in fact should be lots of fun.
If you and your child want to do less whining about this stage of
development, here are a few suggestions:
- Make sure
your child is provided with adequate transition time when moving through daily
activities. Moving them abruptly
from one thing to another will only result in their getting angry and
- Offer your
young child choices as much as possible so they feel like they have some
control over their lives, despite the limits you need to set. For example, don't ask them if they want
to go to the doctor – but do ask them if they want to bring their bear or
their bunny along for the visit.
- Note that
children will whine more when they are tired, hungry, bored,
overstimulated, sick or not getting enough attention – so watch for those
cues and head them off before they become full blown.
parents will whine along with their child, and find that their grating
voice often stops the child's own grating, and everyone ends up laughing
together. An even better approach
is to praise your child when they ask for something nicely rather than in
the whining voice.
- You might
create a “whining place” such as your child’s bedroom, or if they are
older, give them a notebook to write or color in to express their
frustration and replace their having to whine to you.
- Avoid eye
contact or any verbal response to whining, and provide it immediately if
your child uses his/her regular voice. Don’t give the indicator that whining
bothers you, or your child will do it all the more. In addition, if you
yell or whine a lot, or give in to your child’s whine, you are setting the
wrong example for your toddler.
Hopefully these tips will stop you and
your toddler from whining when it comes to chasing the blues out of the
terrible twos, and make them into a terrific time for you and your toddler.
First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher
Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University
of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids"
weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with
Kids video archives at http://www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids