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Jan Cloninger and Rosemary Strembicki, LCSW Headshot

10 Lessons I Learned After Two Weeks With My 2-Year-Old Granddaughter!

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Written by Rosemary Strembicki

Two weeks with a two-year-old and I've learned lessons that I never learned in school or from the 20 years I've spent working with families. It's easy to give advice until you find yourself in the trenches with a determined, impulsive two-year-old.

I don't have time to wax poetic since she's scheduled to wake up in the next 30 minutes, so here's what I've learned:

  1. Provide a framework -- let her know the limits and what the consequence will be if they're crossed. Make the consequences logical and just something to get her attention like, "If you can't lie quietly with me you'll have to nap in your crib."
  2. Control your anger -- once you lose your temper you've lost the battle. Stay calm and follow through.
  3. Be patient -- sometimes it takes a few minutes to process the information that you're trying to send.
  4. Keep words to a minimum -- long explanations just don't compute.
  5. Give choices -- instead of "It's time for bed," try "Do you want to brush your teeth or read a story first?"
  6. Maintain your sense of humor -- there's always something you can laugh about when interacting with a two-year-old. Find it and make it a joke. She'll get it and it'll break the tension.
  7. Watch and listen -- paying attention to what she's doing will give you clues to what she's thinking. Describe her actions and see what kind of response you get.
  8. Give warnings before transitions -- a two-minute warning before leaving the playground, getting ready for bed or some other undesirable activity can mean the difference between a happy ending or full-out tantrum.
  9. Provide incentives -- when the going gets tough break the action with the promise of something desired (no, it's not bribery). It's amazing what can get done if there's a video at the other end.
  10. Squeeze in a nap whenever you can -- enough said.
My time is up; she's starting to stir.

I'll be home in a week, exhausted and missing her like crazy.

To contact Rosemary or view more articles or videos, visit http://www.aplacetoturnto.org

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