What is it with toddlers? Why are they either delightful, charming little people or crying, screaming little monsters? There seems to be no in between. It's been a while since I had a typical toddler. With Matthew having down syndrome, the toddler years have been long but pretty smooth. He can get mad and want his way, but not that often. My daughter before him was a pretty fierce toddler and there were many times I contemplated day care.....seriously : ) But Patrick is in the midst of the "terrific twos" as I positively call it and some days we are all at our wits end. Now don't get me wrong, he is such a joy and so fun to be around.......when he's getting his way! He's very verbal for a 2 year old boy and this makes life really funny but also gets him in trouble. I dont' think I've ever had a 2 year old that said more inappropriate things. He already has to be disciplined for his words! I think God must of made him extra verbal to help Matthew, who still doesn't speak clearly very often.
As you can probably guess from the picture above, he did not want to share the "police car" with his little friend. I mean, why can't everyone just leave him alone and let him have everything he wants whenever he wants?! Below is another pouty picture taken the same day because he also didn't want to share the swing or smile for the picture. In all fairness, he was ready for a nap. You know us moms always have a good excuse for our children's bad behavior. I still make excuses for my older kids too and my husband calls me on it!
If you are in the midst of toddler years at your house too and the behavior struggles that only they can have, here are a few tips I've learned over the years. Please feel free to add, because I still need help with this little guy!
1. Keep to as much as a schedule as you can. This gives them security and a routine seems to lessen the bad behavior.
2. Don't let them talk you out of a nap. If their nap is starting to keep them up at night, just wake them up after an hour or so. You could even have them nap earlier. So much bad behavior I think is due to over tired, over stimulated kids.
3. Make sure they have their own toys that no one else will bother, but talk to them about sharing before they have a friend over.
4. Be firm with the "no!" They need to hear "no" quite a bit and we need to stick to it. Don't ever let screaming or temper tantrums get them their way.
5. Use time out, especially in the crib if you still have one up. I know my toddler will walk out of a regular time out and it becomes a major battle. But boy, if I put him in the crib for 2 minutes, he says he's sorry and comes out a much nicer boy.
6. Make sure they are fed and watered (haha)! Quite a bit of negative behavior can be related to low blood sugar or dehydration. Their little bodies need more constant nourishment than ours.
7. Don't think they don't understand.....they do! They are also great manipulators, which my husband frequently points out. We mothers have to watch this......I know I need help!
I love him so! He's such a joy and a charmer! I thank God for him everyday : )