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Tips on dealing with a 2yr old who is struggling to deal with changes at home

(5 Posts)
ajm200 Sat 11-Oct-08 06:29:07

Hi everyone.

I'm hoping you can give me some advice on how to help my two year old who is struggling to deal with too much change at home. I know some of his behaviour can be put down to his age but it is obvious he's unhappy too

In the past few months we've been preparing for the arrival of his little sister due in less than 2 weeks. This has meant that we've

- Moved him into a bed
- Moved him into a bigger bedroom
- Changed the car
- Mummy is less able to do things with him
- He's spent more time on playdates with friends while mummy has been at hospital appts.

He's gone from a happy, independant, very well behaved little man to a clingy, unhappy child who is tantruming and crying at everything, refusing to eat or sleep and regressed by about 4 months.

He spends lots of time shouting. Answers no to everything. Everything is mine or my turn. He misbehaves to get attention. Refuses to go to bed when previously, he'd go without a fight. Refuses to eat, even his favourite foods or will eat a few mouthfuls before handing his plate back.. He was using the potty all day and almost dry at night. Now won't use it at all.

Every morning, he gets a long cuddle before we all get up. I spend large parts of the day cuddling and playing with him, involve him in meal preparation and take him out as much as I can

I hate to see him so confused and unhappy and it is likely to get worse any day now.. what else can I do?

Weegle Sat 11-Oct-08 08:05:13

Ok, I don't have direct experience in that I am not pregnant and expecting a new one, but I do have a sensitive two year old who isn't good at change and didn't want your post to go unanswered.

I would back off the potty training - there's too much potential for it to become a battle. He'll get back to it when he's ready.

How did you go about the change to the big bed and bigger room? Can you big it up, say it's because he's such a lovely boy and he needs more room to play etc? And to proove it maybe buy him a new toy which needs more room that could come fromt the baby (in advance?) - something like a cheap trainset? or a car mat with roads on it? Sit in there with him during the day playing with his toys. Talk about how much you love his new room. Let him roll around in and bounce on the new bed - you couldn't do that in a cot! Maybe take him shopping to buy some bedding of his choice?

Lots and lots of praise when he's being good, lots of interaction too. Carry on involving him in food preparation and sit him with you for meals but if he says he's finished just calmly take the plate away and make no fuss. I personally would continue to offer pud (but then I only offer yoghurt/jelly/fruit etc anyway). Then make all snacks healthy but not huge and then in time hopefully he'll go back to how he was with food.

And lastly - something I do when change is happening in DS' life, even a holiday, or meeting a new person, etc, I role play it with his soft toys. I think I would use this for the big bed - "let's put teddy in to bed" - and take teddy through your son's bedtime routine. And I would certainly do it for the baby - so put ted in the car seat, the pram etc, pretend to feed him and tell your toddler what his important role will be as big brother e.g. you can show baby your books whilst it needs feeding etc. To him he knows things are changing but it's all a big unknown, he doesn't have the knowledge of experience to draw on to know what that means, so it's scary. If you can normalise it and give him some impression of what it'll be like it might help.

Hope some ideas there are helpful, and hoping the birth goes well and DS settles again soon - but some of it is just being 2!

ajm200 Sat 11-Oct-08 12:17:03

Weegle, thanks for the advice. Strangely enough the problems sleeping didn't start until he'd been in his room for a couple of months and he loves his new bed. He climbs into it all the time.

We'd given up with the potty a month ago. Every so often he gets a pair of pants out of his drawer and asks to wear them. I remind him that he has to use the toilet if I put them on him and he says no ta, no potty so we leave it again.

wb Sat 11-Oct-08 14:56:32

Weegle gives good advice. Other than that, patience and time and firm boundaries (for the things that really matter).

Have had a similarly up and down year as ds1 turned 2 just as ds2 born (Feb) and we have moved twice since then. It is better now but he does still get quite cross and clingy w. me, esp. when tired, ill or upset.

ajm200 Tue 14-Oct-08 14:06:54

Thanks for the good advice. He has suddenly had a change of heart in the last two days after lots of 'chats' about baby coming and reading library books about it. He has even asked if baby can play with him now..

He got his potty out of the cupboard and asked to use it. He's not using it all the time but is using it 4-5 times a day.

He's gone down for his nap today without a fight and slept through from 8pm-8.30am this morning.

He has also been eating more..

Little steps I know but they are in the right direction. I'm just letting him do this at his own pace and hopefully we'll be ok soon

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