Supporting behaviour in 2-year-olds
Two-year-olds can be challenging. Their developmental stage means that they can be very determined, but also impulsive. This will change as they develop language but in this "in between" stage they can be become very frustrated as they struggle to communicate their feelings. Here's a short series of videos and a few tips that might make this phase a little easier. Why not share these with parents?
- Try not to let 2-year-olds become overtired. Most 2-year-olds will still need a nap and this can make a significant difference to their mood and ability to cope with frustration.
- Try to keep a routine so that 2-year-olds develop an understanding of what they need to do, but also what is about to happen
- Try using visual timetables to help 2-year-olds understand what is about to happen
- Don’t rush 2-year-olds. Allow plenty of time to change activity, go out or get dressed.
- Recognise that 2-year-olds find it hard to see things that they cannot have or do. Try to create an environment that is ‘enabling’ and so try to put away things that might cause problems.
- Spend as much time as possible outdoors. This is where 2-year-olds are often at their happiest. Being outdoors also helps with appetite and sleeping.
- Observe what 2-year-olds want to do. This might be opening and closing, climbing or moving things from one place to another. Use this knowledge to organise resources and activities that will interest them.
- At the first sign of a tantrum, try distraction. Do something surprising and remember to smile and look relaxed.
- Try to sing your way through the tricky parts of the routine. Singing will keep you relaxed and also help any other children to feel that everything will be fine.
- Remember that 2-year-olds are not trying to be difficult on purpose. They have no plan, but are just reacting to what is around them. Try to be proactive. Think about what you might get out or do next with them.