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Surviving the Terrible 2s. Part 3

Don’t hesitate to punish, when necessary. Time out and taking away privileges can send powerful messages and quickly change a child’s behavior.
The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that parents also need to be firm and consistent in not just how they act, but in how they want their child to act. It’s a task that’s definitely easier said than done, Nelsen adds, but absolutely essential.

“Children learn what they live,” Nelsen said. “That’s why kindness, even when disciplining, is important, too.”

Parents can also take steps to avoid potential outbursts:

Give your child small jobs that allow her to make choices. For example, when it’s time to leave the playground, ask her if she’d like to carry your wallet or your keys to the car. It’ll make her feel important, and may distract her from realizing that she has to leave the fun. If you need to dust or vacuum, offer her a handheld vacuum or a broom, and ask her if she’d like to help.
Be a smart scheduler. In other words, try to plan your day so you’re not always rushed. Give your child the time he needs to dress or feed himself. It will cut down on stress, and you’ll both feel proud of his accomplishment.
Avoid power struggles by getting your child involved in daily routines. Make it her job to pour in the bubble bath. Or, make a chart by cutting out magazine photos that show all the things she does at bedtime, such as put away her toys, take a bath, get into her pajamas, read books, get hugs and close her eyes. Then, each night, let her use the chart to point to what’s next on the agenda.
“The key is to let your 2-year-old use his or her power in good ways,” Nelsen said. “The more involved they are, the fewer struggles there’ll be.”

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