Tuesday 25 June 2019

Dear David Coleman: Our daughter has started having major tantrums. Any ideas on how to deal with her?

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Q We have an 11-month-old boy and a 22-month-old girl. Lately, our daughter is having lots of tantrums that are really out of character. Up until then, she was an angel. They are both in the same room in crèche for most of the day. This will change soon as she's going into a different room. I wonder is that the reason? Any ideas about how to deal with her?

A The imminent change in crèche might be disruptive for your daughter if she has a sense that this change is on the way.

Unpredictability often raises children's anxiety and that anxiety can be expressed as tantrums. It's like as if the intensity of a big tantrum releases other pent-up feelings.

It may also be that she is simply moving fully into her toddler years in terms of a growing sense of independence and a realisation that she is a separate being from her primary carers.

This stage of development for toddlers is often marked by a desire to do things for themselves and to make their own choices.

Naturally, frustration can ensue when they are unable to do things or when adults continue to need to make choices on their behalf. Lots of patience, warmth, understanding and consistency will be the keys to helping her to navigate either the change in room, or her move to greater independence or both.

The toddler years require lots of time and attentiveness from parents and carers, but our investment at this age will pay dividends as they get older.

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