Q & A with Dr Roopa Srinivasan: Terrible twos simplified for parents
Why are the twos called terrible? Is there a development that causes behavior change? How to manage that?
Your sweet and adorable toddler is nearing 2 and you start to find him/her being stubborn and difficult to manage. You wonder what brought this on? The baby who would look forward to being fed by you, play with you now has a meltdown no matter what you do!!
Rest assured, nature is at work here! Your child is going through a developmental stage called autonomy and mastery. A fancy term that conveys that your little one wants to do things her way and be good at it too! Without this stage, your child may not have the drive to try out new things or do it and learn it her way.
For example: Little 2 year old Sasha who was perfectly happy being fed till a few months ago now wants to run around. She spits out the food. She needs to be enticed with a song, Ipad, TV you name it! Her meal time is getting to be literally a 'family circus'!!
Let's step back and understand what's happening here:
1. Sasha's world is now so much bigger than her mom's lap, or her favorite pram. She can run, chase, climb—the world is just so much more interesting than sitting around and being fed.
2. Children at this stage have competing interests and therefore start losing interest in familiar activities like eating UNLESS… there's a new skill to be learnt there!
3. Encouraging Sasha to feed herself small morsels while sitting at the table with other grown-ups during meal times will excite her. Her interest may not last too long and she may start throwing food around. Give her small portions and keep adding to keep the interest alive
4. Do not run, chase, show gadgets or play games at meal times. The latter applies to adults at home too! This distracts from meal times and reinforces the idea in the child that she needs to have a gadget around to eat a meal.
Try these tips out and hopefully that you will make your life as a parent a tad bit easier :-)
To know more from a leading developmental pediatrician, read the series: Terribe twos, Must try Techniques to discipline your toddler - Part1, Part2, The Helpful Guide to managing your young toddler's behaviour