As soon as you have managed to survive the first stage of parenthood, the next challenging phase lies ahead of you – the so called ‘Terrible Twos’. From around 24 months your toddler embraces his or her new independence and struggles with the fact that he or she is still very much reliant on you. This emotional conflict is fuelled by the fact that your toddler often can’t yet communicate well enough to express his or her feelings and frustrations – the result – lovely ‘temper tantrums’.
By now your little one has also discovered the power of the word ‘no’, which is an entire challenge in itself. Though it is easy to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ related to the terrible twos, actual coping with their tantrums needs high expertise and strong nerves… You have to remind yourself that this is a stage that will eventually end and that this phase is very crucial for your child’s development as they go through several psychological, physical, emotional, social and cultural changes. Here are enumerated our Dos and Don’ts for tackling the terrible twos:
Dos And Don’ts For Tackling The ‘Terrible Twos’
Learn to ignore: Toddlers do a lot of things to grab their parents’ attention. They have impressive stamina when it comes to nagging in order to get something that you don’t want them to have. You might not be aware of, or even able to believe it but your child can do this fully intentionally even if he or she does not really want the thing for which he or she is yearning for. Their act is a fully strategic manoeuvre just to grab your attention. If you are confident that your child has no reason to play up i.e. is hungry or tired then the best way to deal with his or her behaviour is ignorance. Bore your child to the extent that your toddler gets tired and eventually gives up.
Try to distract: A great weapon is to distract your child’s attention from the thing that he or she is asking for. Get him or her engaged with something that you feel can be a good replacement for the thing that you want him or her to be distracted from. A toy, food or even a picture on your phone can work wonders. Yes, it’s that simple – at this age their attention can be shifted super-fast.
Have praising attitude: Praising your child can go a long way – so pay attention and never forget to encourage your toddler if they behave well. A simple ‘well done’ or ‘good’ when they stop nagging or whining for something will make a huge difference. Remember, your toddler is keen to understand what’s expected of him or her and to learn what’s right or wrong. Helping your toddler in this way to understand the rules and the world around them will help them to grow confidence and the feeling of belongingness.
Positive talk: Expressions such as ‘great day’, ‘beautiful sky’, ‘lovely girl’ and other positives can be used to cut away the negativity that may surround you in those testing moments. Make your child believe his or her surroundings are full of positivity and hence he or she will be able to evade the insecurity that inevitably comes up during those terrible twos. This is a key time for you to instill in them the knowledge that they are loved and protected (physically and mentally) – this will help shape their character as they grow up. As a positive side effect your subconscious mind will also believe all the positivity – hence you will get a boost from it too! 🙂
Awarding tendency: Every time your toddler makes an effort to follow what you say, allow him or her a small award i.e. a tickle, a sweet or something else that you know excites your child. They will understand the concept and that they have the ‘power’ to make you happy each time they are listening to what you say.
Never give in: Everyone has, at least once in their life, come across that screaming and crying little child in the supermarket. Fast forward a few years and oops, all of a sudden you find yourself in exact the same situation and you can’t help but think back to that poor, flustered woman or man that you have either judged or felt sorry for back then… Meanwhile, your little bundle of joy has found the most public space in the whole shop, is lying on the dirty floor screaming the house down just because you wouldn’t let him or her have a sweet. Well first, congratulations, your child is quite bright 🙂 It has picked up that you behave differently when other people are around and now uses this knowledge to his or her benefit. The solution to this genius set up is quite simple – Do not, not ever, give in. Your toddler will soon figure out that it’s not worth the effort.
Don’t lose it: Always remind yourself that you are the adult and naturally should also always be the bigger person. Children at that age (and beyond) can literally drive any parent crazy from time to time, however, there is never an excuse for swearing at, yelling at or physically hurting your toddler. If it gets too much, walk away (provided your child is safe) or just ignore him or her until you have calmed down. Scaring or hurting your child can bring long-term mental imbalance and a sense of insecurity to your child.
Don’t tense up: As mentioned earlier, children at that age are really good at reading your body language and using this knowledge to their advantage. Do you get tensed by the thought of your wriggling child when trying to get him or her dressed in the morning or are you already dreading bedtime when it’s time to brush little one’s teeth? Try to be aware of the signals that you are sending out to your child. Being tense translates to “I am not sure what I am doing”, “I’d rather not do this right now” or “This really isn’t fun at all” …can you then blame your child for not wanting to do as it is told? Exactly 🙂 So always show that you are indifferent and happy. This will discourage your toddler and he or she will also try to be a part of your happiness.
Do you have any tips and tricks for tackling the terrible twos? Please share!
Your Trudi Twee Team