Sunday, 31 July 2011

Nurturing Independence

At 20 months, Eden is approaching the infamous 'Terrible 2s' phase. In actual fact her tantrums started around a year early! As she gained more self-awareness, she understandably started to show signs of independence. Over the last few months, I've become much better at recognising potential problem-behaviour situations, and learnt how to divert them. Consequently I can't recall any recent full-blown tantrums, unlike the 13-14 month mark when they were becoming fairly frequent.

Even in these early years I've learnt that encouraging Eden's independence by offering her choices has boosted her self-esteem and I'm sure this helps her feel in control and reduces tantrum attacks.

For example, when it was time to leave the park the other day, I offered Eden the choice of 'Would you like to walk or would you like Mummy to carry you?' When she didn't walk, I picked her up saying 'You're choosing for Mummy to carry you' - after that she was much more cooperative in walking! It works in other situations too - at bedtime Luke asks her 'Would you like to climb the stairs yourself or shall I carry you up?' and also in making healthy food choices 'Would you like a banana or an orange?' The choice helps her feel in control and know that her answer is valued and that she's taken seriously.

I've found the 'offering choices' option a great little 'trick' to add to my parenting skills toolbox, which is still quite small but growing all the time!  


Vanessa (Housewives Inc) said...

I agree with you. Little Moo responds extremely well to being given a choice too. Just 2 simple options, not a whole variety to confuse a little 2 year-old brain. Even something that often ignites a fuss (like brushing teeth) has been going a whole lot better since we know ask: "shall we brush the top first or the bottom...."

Ponderings from the Kitchen said...

Thanks for commenting Vanessa - it's always so encouraging to hear from others in the same boat :)