By setting goals and having realistic expectations, you’ll be able to overcome the trying times you’ll face as your toddler tests her boundaries.
Although there may be a bit of truth to this foreboding sound of the “terrible twos,” the experiences your little one will have at 2 and beyond (which do, unfortunately, include tantrums and “do-it-myself” moments) are much-needed parts of her growth and development. By setting goals and having realistic expectations, you’ll be able to overcome the trying times you’ll face as your toddler tests her boundaries.
Knowing what milestones to expect at what times can help guide you through them as they appear. For instance, did you know she’ll be able to dress herself in simple clothing without buttons or snaps at age 3? Not giving her the freedom to dress herself could cause her temper to flare. Consider letting your big girl (or boy) dress herself a few days a week. You may also want to:
- Help build her vocabulary. Although your child will amaze you with what she’s able to express, toddlers and young children still don’t have the vocabulary they need to explain many of their concerns. This communication barrier can be very frustrating for you both.
- Talk about the potty. By age 3, your toddler will probably be able to hold her urine for around three hours, and she’ll begin recognizing the signs that tell her she has to go to the bathroom. Talking about using a toilet can help her prepare for potty training.
- Teach her the rules. Between ages 2 and 3, children learn to distinguish good behavior from bad. Keep explaining rules in language she can understand.
When It’s Time for Preschool
Preparation for preschool can begin long before she’s set to start. For instance, preliminary research may simply involve asking friends and family about their children’s preschools.
There are numerous things you can do to prepare both you and your child for preschool, but some of the most important include:
1. Learning about school. Talk with your little one about what she’ll be doing in school. This will help get her excited and let her know what to expect.
2. Tailoring sleep schedules. Make sure naps and wake-up times are similar to what she’ll experience while in school a few weeks before she begins.
3. Visiting the school and meeting her teacher. If your child has a chance to adjust to her surroundings while you’re there, she’ll be less likely to experience extreme separation anxiety when you’re not.
- If your little one is independent for awhile but regresses into some of his old habits (such as thumb sucking or being extra cuddly), it’s nothing to worry about. Dealing with new freedom can be stressful, and this is his way of coping. Give him special attention when he needs it, as the phase will likely pass.
- To help your big kid learn colors, consider having color-coordinated toy bins. This will be beneficial in the future, as preschools often use similar tactics for organization.