If your child has celebrated their second birthday, it’s more than likely that you hear a variation of the phrase “Let me do it!” at least once per day. Alleviate some routine toddler tantrums and teach your little one to be independent with these simple tips.
Managing your toddler’s tantrums
Tip 1: If your toddler can do it themselves, let them
Let’s be honest: It can be frustrating waiting around for three minutes while your toddler puts on one single shoe when you could finish the job and be out the door in 15 seconds flat. But the sense of achievement and pride your child experiences when they do something for themselves can give them a serious boost of confidence.
Activities that you could try allowing a little extra time for include:
- Putting on socks and shoes
- Taking off their own nappy or underwear before bathtime
- Putting their clothes away in drawers or baskets
- Hanging a tea towel or hand towel on a rack
- Putting books back on a shelf
Tip 2: Involve your toddler in mealtime decisions
Sometimes, the smallest decisions can give your toddler the biggest sense of belonging and independence. For instance, stacking the breakfast cereals on a low shelf and asking them which one they want for breakfast is one way to involve them in mealtimes without giving them too much control over the family menu. You could also let them choose their own bowl, plate, spoon or cup and invite them to stir the bowl when you’re cooking or baking.
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Tip 3: Give your toddler choices
This tip is all about boundaries. There’s a big difference between asking “What do you want to do today?” and “What would you like to do now — colour in with crayons, or make snowmen with your play dough?” Always limit their options to two choices and reinforce their independence by accepting their choice, no questions asked.
Tip 4: Ask your toddler for “help”
Most young children want to please you. So, by giving them age-appropriate tasks, you can make them feel like you value their help and reinforce their confidence. At the easy end of the scale, you can ask them to pass you the TV remote control, or have them help you clean up the toy area (this is good practice for establishing good manners anyway). A more advanced task could include going to the next room to retrieve something familiar, such as a box of tissues to clean up a mess. You know their stage of development better than anyone else, so start small and build from there.