Tantrums, Memories & More
Life with a toddler can be tempestuous: You never quite know when his trouble over a transition, inability to share a toy, or strong desire for something he can't have will erupt into a tantrum. You only know that your child can go from smiling to shrieking in nanoseconds.
No tantrum is pretty. There are the criers and the biters, the thrashers and the hitters, the throwers and the screamers. There are even kids who bang their head on the floor. How often and how fiercely your child's quest for autonomy dissolves into a meltdown will depend largely on two things: his individual temperament and whether his tantrums get the desired results. You will eventually learn how to weather these storms. Meanwhile, remember that tantrums are a natural part of development.
"All young children show through their behavior what they can't say in words," Frumin. "Sometimes tantrums are the only way your child has to express her feelings because she has so little control over her impulses and emotions. The 2-year-old who falls to the floor kicking and screaming is not that different from the 5-year-old who whines because she's tired and just less able to regulate her own behavior."
The most typical tantrum triggers include not being able to verbalize what they want, not getting what they want, or being tired or hungry. The best way to tame them is to stay calm and don't give in. If your child has a meltdown because you say no to candy but then end up buying the chocolate to keep the peace, he's learned that tantrums work.
How much will your child remember about her toddler years? Various studies have shown that toddlers develop a good working memory and a sense of the past versus the present by age 2, says researcher Robin Fivush, PhD, of Emory University, in Atlanta. She may say, "Go swing," before you get to the playground, or protest if you skip a page of a story.
Between 22 and 24 months, your toddler's memory will sharpen so that she can anticipate consequences to her actions. If you're getting into the car and she's holding a box of crackers, she may remember a past spill well enough to hand you the box before she climbs into her car seat.
Most exciting of all, your child's blossoming language skills allow her to start sharing memories with you. Fivush's research demonstrates that conversation about the past helps kids create and remember narratives about their lives and develop "a grounded sense of themselves in the world."
What Baby's Doing:
Month 22: Understands nouns better than verbs, can stoop or squat, and starts to understand rules
Month 23: Can pedal a tricycle, can throw a ball, and follows two-step commands
Month 24: Can turn pages in a book and asks questions to keep a conversation going
Holly Robinson lives with her five children outside of Boston.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2006.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.