Congratulations, you’ve survived the terrible twos! You’ve weathered the tantrums, the tears, and the testing of boundaries. But just when you thought it was safe to relax, here come the horrific threes. Yes, that’s right, your little angel has now entered a new phase of development that can be just as challenging, if not more so. But don’t worry, we’ve been there too – and survived! Today we’re here to offer some practical and creative tips to help you survive the next stage of your child’s development.
Embrace their independence
As your child grows, their desire for independence will increase. While this can be challenging, it’s important to embrace it, and even enjoy it if you can! Encourage your child to make choices and decisions for themselves, such as what to wear or what activities to do. This can help them develop confidence and a sense of autonomy. You can also provide opportunities for your child to be responsible for simple tasks like putting away their toys or helping with the laundry. By allowing them to take ownership of these tasks, you are showing them that their contributions are valuable and appreciated, whilst also setting up good habits for the future.
Set clear boundaries
While it’s important to embrace your child’s independence, it’s equally important to set clear and consistent boundaries. This can help prevent challenging behaviour and provide a sense of security for your child. Be consistent with your boundaries and communicate them clearly to your child, and just as importantly, consistently enforce it. This will reduce tantrums, reinforce positive behaviour, and make life a little bit easier for you both.
Find opportunities for sensory play
Toddlers at this age are still very curious and love to explore through their senses. Sensory play can help your child develop fine motor skills, language, and social skills. Provide opportunities for sensory play such as sandpits, water play, or playdough. You can also create sensory bins with items such as rice, beans, or small toys for your child to explore. Make life easier for yourself by making a sensory play setup that you can pack away and bring out again easily so you don’t need to recreate it every time.
Stick to a routine
If you haven’t already created a semi-structured routine to the day then now is a great time to do it. A routine can help provide structure and predictability for your child, which can help reduce challenging behaviour and make transitions easier. Create a routine that works for your family and communicate it to your child. This can include a regular bedtime, meal times, and nap times. Remember, a routine doesn’t have to be set in stone, causing panic if bedtime is later than normal. It just gives the whole family a set of guidelines to follow whenever possible.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool in shaping behaviour. Praise your child for positive behaviour and try to avoid using negative reinforcement or punishment. This can help your child develop a positive sense of self and encourage positive behaviour in the future. For example, instead of saying “Don’t hit your sister,” recognise the desired behaviour when it happens and say “It’s great that you’re playing nicely with your sister.”
Encouraging your child to problem-solve can help develop their critical thinking skills and increase their sense of autonomy. When faced with a challenge, encourage your child to come up with their own solutions before offering help. For example, if your child is having trouble putting a puzzle together, encourage them to try different pieces and see what fits together. Be there to offer support as needed, but try to do the minimum possible to encourage your toddler to take the initiative themself.
Provide opportunities for physical activity
Physical activity is a great way to help your child burn off excess energy and improve their mood. Encourage outdoor play or sign them up for a regular activity they enjoy, such as dancing or swimming. If you prefer the comfort of your own home you can also create an obstacle course or have a dance party.
Offering choices can help your child feel more in control and reduce challenging behaviour. For example, offer your child a choice between two outfits to wear or two snacks to eat. This can also help develop their decision-making skills and avoid power struggles and tantrums. By giving them choices that you decide on, you’re allowing them to grow their independence whilst still controlling how much!
We might sound like a broken record, but taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. Prioritise self-care by taking breaks when you need them, asking for help when necessary, and doing things you enjoy. This can include going for a walk, taking a relaxing bath, or scheduling time for yourself out of the home. As well as this, in-home cleaning services such as ours, or meal delivery services can go such a long way in giving you back some time and reducing stress.
Take a deep breath and practice patience
Parenting can be challenging, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or frustrated at times. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and practice patience. Remember that your child is still learning and developing, and it’s okay to make mistakes – both you AND your toddler! Use positive self-talk and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Practising patience can also help model positive behaviour for your child and create a calmer, more positive environment at home.
Take a deep breath and practice patience
Parenting can be challenging, especially during the ‘horrific threes’. But with these practical and creative tips, you can help your child navigate this developmental stage with ease. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some extra help around the house, we are here for you! We can help with all the time-consuming chores such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare, so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family. Visit our website at https://mumsvillagecoasttocoast.com.au/ to learn more about our services and how we can support you. And remember, you’ve got this. This too shall pass.