Tomorrow my son turns 3 years old and I’m bracing for the outbursts and the times he will test my patience. Many parents have warned me that terrible threes are worse because they know how to talk back. He has already begun by loudly answering “no” when I ask him to do something. So here are some tricks that helped me during the terrible twos and hopefully will continue. They might help you with your toddler:
— Give a warning when a transition will be happening. Instead of just springing on your toddler “it’s time to go inside,” let them know playtime for 5 more minutes and then it’s time to clean up. I use the timing for everything now in my day with him. One more minute of trucks then we will go use the potty. One more minute of Mickey Mouse then it’s time for milk and a nap. Giving the warnings also gives them a sense of time which will help in the near future too.
— Distraction, distraction, distraction. Yes I know you want to teach your child right from wrong, but also removing or distracting him with another toy, activity, etc. has really helped us. If he starts throwing something he shouldn’t be throwing in the house, instead of saying “don’t throw in the house!” give him something that he can toss that won’t cause harm. “Oh you want to throw, ok here are your throwing bean bags.” If he starts playing too rough with a toy, it’s time to move onto another toy. If he starts screaming for no reason in Church, give him a book, hold him and show him the pretty lights, or have a snack ready.
— And finally, rewards! Think about it, you work for a reward every day-your paycheck-and when your boss gives you praise it makes you feel good. Same goes for your child. When we were potty training him, rewarding with stickers and jelly beans did it for us. And the simple praise of “you did it!” and showing him how excited and happy he makes us when he actually IS being good, helps for the next time.