Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Out of control toddlers

Every feel like your 'Out of Control?'

Well, reminder that little people (toddlers) also can feel this way. 

I had one mom ask me the following question, "My two year old is 'out of control!' He doesn't respond to words. If I don't jump on his every command, he throws a fit or is constantly nagging me again and again about what he wants. Whining and yelling. He will kick, hit and scream at the top of his lungs to get what he wants. Even if it is as simple as leaving the park or gym time. I don't want to hit him and humiliate him, what can I do?

Some people would call your toddler spirited, energetic, passionate, or other's may say he is just strong willed. Whatever you call him... (and it's best to stay away from labeling him based on his behaviour)... if you try to control him, it will not work. What you need to help increase cooperation.

INCREASE COOPERATION... how can you do this?

1. Instead of telling and telling him what do, try instead to involve him in decision making and give him a sense of personal power, which is what he is trying to do in his own way. EXAMPLES:

  •     Give him a warning... "We need to leave soon. What are you choosing to do as your last activity? The slide or bouncy castle?"
  •     Carry a small timer could help him realize when it's time to go. Let him help you set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes and keep it in HIS pocket so he can come tell you when it rings. They love to be helpful.
  •     Give him choices... "Do you want to carry your lunch bag or the car keys to the car?" Giving them small responsibilities increases their feeling of 'being in control' That personal power is very important at this age, as they are striving for independence. We want to encourage this so when they are teens they are making positive decision and being more independent with a good sense of self worth.

2. Your child is not going to understand your 'Wait please" or other gibber jabber, as you may think he does. He doesn't' have the rational thinking skills you have. If you lecture your child on why you are going or why they can't have stuff and you over explain, they will get lost and not hear you at all. At least not at this age. These kinds of lectures are not use on toddlers, as they are more abstact thinking and they are in direct opposition to his developmental need. That said, he should not be allowed to just DO whatever he wants to do. Attempt to gain his cooperation in a kind and firm way, instead of threats and bribes. See the above suggestions.

3. Some other suggestions:

  • "Get down to his eye level, and say firmly, it is now time to go."
  • Say things like, "I know it's hard to leave, but we need to go now."
  • Try walking away towards your stroller and say, come on, let's go. 
  • Try a race... "Let's race to the stroller, on your mark, get set, go." Making a game of it will bypass any power struggles that may occur.
  • Say things like, "I know you can get your shoes on by yourself, can you show me?"
  • "Your really great at putting your coat on like a big boy."
  • "Did you need any help? Just ask me."

Now, once the timer goes off, and all your suggestions and games didn't work. Your STILL calm, firm and kind...  If he is still resisting try this: 

4. Take him by the hand and lead him to the car. Every time he resists, stop pulling and let your hand go in his direction until he stops resisting. Then pull towards the car again, giving slack every time he resists. Don't get into a physical power struggle. This may feel like a see saw. When he catches on that you are going to be both kind and firm, he will eventually go with you. If he falls to the ground, tantrums out, then simply pick him up and carry him to the car while ignoring the kicks an screams. Do NOT say anything at all. There is no need at this point, as you already said everything before you did this. Don't get hooked into over explaining and starting up a power struggle. This is not the time for a discussion. That was done earlier.

Remember that sometimes distractions can work just as easy. The timer goes off, it's time to go. You go over to the child and hand them a visual agenda of what's next? A picture list of what's next can be very helpful. 

A short outing example of a picture schedule:
A picture of gym time
A picture of a car
A picture of grocery store
A picture of home
A picture of lunch
A picture of nap

Keep it in the car for outings you do often.

Good Luck!


No comments:

Post a Comment