Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A little boy on a mission of discovery!
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
What's in a name? Every mother has heard of the term 'terrible two's' It is so engrained into our thinking that we dread its arrival in our precious little angels. There must be some truth to it for the age of two years to have such a negative reputation. Do I recall this phase in my children's lives? Not really. It is all a blur now as my kids are 40 and 38 years of age.
So, what am I saying? Have I had a bad case of memory loss? No, although mothers do seem to have a built in 'forgettery'...otherwise, when we think of the pain of childbirth, many of us would not have had that second or subsequent child! We all go through ages and stages of learning new things in our lives.
It starts from the time children understand the terms, 'Yes' and 'No'. The delighted look on a parent's face tells the child they just performed something fantastic. The stern look and the word 'No' means they just went in the wrong direction!
CURIOSITY AND MOBILITY
From two years of age and upward there is a very steep learning curve for the little mind to cope with. There are boundaries to push to see how far they can go before the big hammer falls. We do have to keep our toddlers safe so the words, 'No!' or 'Don't touch!' are heard frequently in the home. Mobility peaks a child's curiosity. The more mobile they become the more independent they can be and the adventures are endless. Parents have to put on their running shoes and prepare for a challenging ride through the 2-5 year age range in particular.
A SHIFT IN OUR THINKING
So, how can we change our thinking from the 'terrible twos' to the 'terrific twos'? Could we, just for a moment, think as a child thinks? "There is a shiny thing over there. I must go and stick my finger in and feel it." "There is a soft furry thing moving over there. I must go pull it." "I don't want to be stuck in here. I want to be free!" It is all a matter of discovering new things. For them it is finding out what is fun and what is not. "What is it that I can discover today?" Now that can be exhausting for the parent!
When my children were small, I don't think I anticipated what they were thinking quickly enough, so a sharp, 'No' was the first thing they heard. I suggest we can head off many tantrums and negative behaviors if we remember they are learning new things. Guiding them away from danger, redirecting their attention and praising their efforts may well change our dread of the 'terrible two's'. I am not saying it is easy, especially if you have several other children requiring your attention. However, because of the huge learning curve, a child at that age is probably learning more than they will ever learn in the same period of time. For me, rather than it being a trial, I know I could have enjoyed it more if I had appreciated the fact that they were in an amazing age of discovery.
Written by Sally Burgess