Each week Michele Borba answers your parenting questions right here on her blog. If you have a parenting problem or question leave a comment on this post and you may have yours answered next week!
My name is Jackie and I watch my two-year-old nephew during the day. He's like any two-year-old and curious about everything, especially the cat box. *eww* He throws toys into the cat box and it's like a magnet for him. Whenever anyone is downstairs on the computer and he's downstairs as well he's automatically drawn to the cat box. When I tell him to stop playing with the cat box he gets angry and hits me sometimes bites, too. What is the best ways to handle these issues?
Hello Jackie! Welcome to the Terrible Twos. Now you know how the term evolved. Here's the quick points on discipline a two-year-old:
You're dealing with a caveman mentality. Lectures and pleading don't work. Time out rarely works under three years of age because they don't grasp the consequence of their behavior. Their language and their cognitive development is also limited so they're not going to understand if you try to reason with them. Two-year-olds are also quick and impulsive. (You figured that one, eh? Twos and threes are actually the most aggressive and impulsive times ever in our lives.) They don't have that inner regulatory system so they stop and calm down on their own, which means you are the one to help them. Two-years-olds are also loving, into everything, want to please you desperately, and just don't get what you're trying to tell them. So what works?
Distraction. When you know he's headed for something that is off limits, you head em off: "Look at the birdie!"
Removal of the appealing item. Out of sight, out of mind. Move the cat litter box! Put it in the bathroom and close the door. Or put a box in front of it so your nephew can't see it.
Get him his own sandbox. No kidding. A small little tub of sand or water (which are the two mediums little kids crave. Give him a couple pots and pans and voila! He's a happy camper.
And remember-- always be calm.
Just know that there usually is the "skip a terror" principle. Usually the year following the tough year is an easier one... hope so with your nephew!
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