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19 September 2014
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Cheeky toddler with doll

Terrible twos... and threes

Eileen Hayes

Toddlers get much bad press, with talk of tantrums, whining and the terrible twos. The truth is, most of the time they're terrific and kind. Here's how to cope with the bad times and make the most of the good.

Give toddlers a chance

Life with toddlers is full of love, laughter and wonderful times, as well as more difficult moments such as the tantrums in the supermarket. If you can try to understand what makes your toddler tick - wanting to be independent and grown up one minute, but your baby the next - you're more likely to get the most out of this phase in your child's life.

Keeping a positive attitude and concentrating on the fun side of your toddler's life can lift your spirits, even when you're feeling down. Make an effort to join in her play and find time to laugh together. Enjoy activities with her whenever possible - at the playground, in your garden or just at home in front of the TV.

These years are over all too quickly

Vow to enjoy your toddler - these years are over all too quickly and many parents feel real regret when school days begin.

Happy times

To help you get through the more difficult times, and to put things in perspective, think about all the wonderful aspects of toddlerdom. You could even write a list to refer to when tantrums and tears get you down.

You might include some of the following:

  • Toddlers think parents are the greatest people in the world - as far as they're concerned, you're the centre of the universe. Make the most of this - it might not last for ever.
  • Most toddlers cry a lot less than when they were babies.
  • You should be getting a better night's rest as sleep patterns are established - although some sleep problems can persist during this time.
  • You may have more time for yourself than you had when she was a baby.
  • With your toddler around, you have an endless supply of cuddles and affection.
  • Her zest and enthusiasm for new discoveries can be infectious. Watch her play with a puzzle and enjoy her delight as she manages to make a piece fit.
  • Her perseverance, trying things over and over again, and her sheer determination to master new skills can be thrilling.
  • Your toddler's love of silliness and laughter often allows you to be a child again.
  • Her funny little sayings and expressions can be an endless source of delight.

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