Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Terrible 2s Have Hit

Wow. Man oh man. My 2yo niece has hit the terrible 2s full force. We're talking several meltdowns/tantrums PLUS hitting PLUS taking things from others--and that was just in the morning!

I tried to mentally step back from it all today and figure out what she needs from these experiences and how we can lessen her frustration. For one, I realized that when she steals something from others, they rip it back out of her hands. So, I addressed that with my son and 5yo niece, explaining that she doesn't understand, she just sees that they are taking things from her, so she's going to keep doing the same. We talked about how it was important to ask for it back and ask for my help if they weren't getting anywhere. Reasoning doesn't always work with a 2yo. (I had the sudden thought that I wonder if this is like Cesar Millan with his dog whispering: he is so patient, that for some problems, he's still waiting many minutes later. We can be so impatient and want our things back NOW, but it might be better for her if we could learn to patiently wait it out, with it clear that we aren't backing down, but aren't forcing her by ripping things out of her hands, either.) I'm sure this is going to have to be addressed frequently.

Other than that, I'm sure I'm not doing things the Montessori way, but one thing seems to already be helping: counter sitting. :D What is this? Well, if things are going poorly and she won't be redirected to something else--or I can feel I'm losing patience and don't want to take the potentially long time to get her redirected--I pick her up, bring her with me to the kitchen, plop her on the counter and work on cleaning. There's always something to clean in the kitchen. lol. I know Maria Montessori, with slightly older children, would kind of isolate them, and then treat them like they were sick, but this toddler's an interesting little character. I could see her acting up just so she could be treated like she was sick. lol. In any case, she ended up on the counter 3 times today, and the 3rd time, she calmed down quickly and said quietly, "Veux descendre, tante D." (Want down, Auntie D.) She proceeded downstairs, informed her sister she was not going to touch her things, she was just going to look, and things went very smoothly after that.

One more incident where she was trying to take things, or see things (couldn't figure it out), but the way my 5yo niece was behaving with the items, she was just making things worse--and not even playing with the items, just being possessive of them. I told her they were too problematic and she'd have to give them to me; she gave them, I took them and walked away. My 2yo niece piped down right away and there were no further problems.

Another trick that's working a bit: instead of plopping her somewhere with some things to do that she'd like or treating her like she's sick, I just pick her up and carry her around and talk with her. It might not fill whatever need or desire she had that was causing a problem, but it fills another need and helps her forget the first problematic one. ;)

So, the terrible 2s have hit, but remembering to step back and see what's what is definitely helping!

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