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Expert Advice

23 month old: Taming tantrums

The “terrible twos” are almost here. Advice to calm your 23-month-old & what else you can expect this month…

By Fiona Wright

Tantrums, playing and a love for books

Tantrums
You can usually spot the warning signs, the pouting bottom lip and the "no" to everything you suggest, but once a toddler tantrum is underway, it's hard to stop. Follow these tips to calming your toddler when a meltdown strikes:
Step 1: Keep your cool. You cannot help your child to calm down once you have lost your composure.
Step 2: Go to your child and speak calmly. You may have to hold her, rock her or quietly sing to help pacify your child and de-escalate the situation, such as, "I am going to help you calm down."
Step 3: Move your child away. If necessary, taking her away from the situation should mean that there is no audience and your calming attempts have a better chance of being successful.
Step 4: Rest. After your child has quietened down, she is likely to be very tired and may need to rest or engage in a gentle activity, such as reading a book or going for a walk.
Once a toddler tantrum is underway, it's hard to stop but there are tips to try. (Image: Getty Images)
Playing
How a child plays is key to how they learn. Even a simple game like Peekaboo teaches a tot about the concept of 'constancy': that something exists even if you can't see it.
You may see playing as simply a way to pass the day, but to your child it's like school – for example, filling containers with different things like sand, rice or water teaches about weight and mass.
Engaging them in games that are suited to their developmental stage is the key to creating a rich learning environment.
With increased hand muscle strength, your 23-month-old can enjoy a wider range of manipulative toys and activities such as play dough, drums, xylophones and sorting toys.
Blocks are also ideal for this age as they engage children in creative play and benefit socially, emotionally, and physically. In learning about the block's size, shape, colour, numbers, patterns, length and weight, your child's cognitive skills will develop.
A love of books
Your toddler will likely love story time, they may have their favourite books that they like to read over and over again. While the repetition may be boring for you, it will help them to concentrate, recognise pictures and learn new words.
At story time, your 23 month old will likely be able to look at familiar animals and make their sounds and point to a favourite picture and say a word or two about it.
Enjoy a trip to your local public library for Story Time or borrow some books to read with your little one.

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