Children tend to show natural aggression during the “terrible twos” when they want to have control over their surroundings and engage in aggressive outbursts when they can’t. Tiredness and frustration are also triggers for this aggression and while it sounds like a strong word to use for a toddler, it is correct as they have little control over their reactions to situations. There’s no rationale just yet and rightly so; they’re still babies and still learning to explore the world. children often do this by putting everything and anything into their mouths. Biters often tend to be the youngest child in a family because they feel small and powerless compared to older siblings who seem stronger, can communicate better and are more able to get what they want. It’s a basic parenting fact that toddlers behave the best when they are given limits that they can understand. For example, a 2/3 year old may understand that drawing on paper and colouring books is a good thing, but that if they take that pen to the nearest wall they’re likely to witness a vein popping out of their parents’ head while they try not to yell. Rules provide stability and predictability and when if you have ever done a nanny training course, you will know that you are often told to establish rules very early on.
Nurseries and schools should have a policy for dealing with inconsiderate behaviour. Most problems tend to occur during outside play when children get over-excited. If after two warnings, a child continues to bite/kick/hit, having them sit for two minutes can really help them to calm down. Seeing all the other children playing happily and not being able to join in is usually enough. We go through life knowing our actions have consequences and the younger a child learns this, the easier enforcing those consequences can be. Sometimes, and it’s to be expected really, toddlers do not behave as we expect. Of course they don’t! They are small versions of us who have no understanding of danger and only understand what they want and that they must get it.
Even if what they want is to stick tiny fingers into open plug sockets. If you raise a voice and say ‘no’ then that is essentially taking from them the thing they want to do. The chain reaction from this is crying, screaming and a wonderful toddler tantrum. The best thing to do with tantrums is let them burn out and perhaps sit the child in a safe space they can kick and scream. Oh, and ignore them. By reacting to the tantrum you are essentially giving them attention and bad behaviour should not attract any attention. By allowing the tantrum to burn itself down into a calm, you can then talk to your child in a calm voice and use that time to gently explain the dangers of sticking fingers into plug holes. Of course, this won’t always work, but the only way to communicate to a toddler is with rationality and calm. Yes they should react angrily, you’ve just taken from them what they want, if it was the other way around you’d be angry too! But that doesn’t mean a tantrum is acceptable and learning that at a young age will always stand them in good stead.