How Parents Can Survive The Terrible Twos

Before you become a parent, there are things in life that you think are hard. You might think that your job is stressful and tough, but as soon as your first child is born, everything else seems so easy in comparison. Looking after a newborn is so hard, but most parents already know that things aren’t going to get easier for a long while. The terrible twos is the period that parents dread the most, and for good reason. For most children, this difficult phase doesn’t last too long but for parents, it feels like a lifetime of tantrums and screaming. Some children might sidestep it completely while others will go through an extended period of extremely bad behavior. Most kids fall somewhere in between but it’s still a struggle for parents. It happens because your child is going through a period of rapid growth, both physically and emotionally. This is the time when your child starts to develop their own sense of self and develops a desire to do things. Unfortunately, their wants don’t always line up with their ability or your idea of acceptable behavior and that’s when the tantrums and outbursts start. There isn’t a way to stop it completely, however, you can make things easier for yourself if you prepare properly as they transition from baby into toddler and know what to expect. Here are some handy tips on surviving the terrible twos.

Childproof The House

Hopefully, you already childproofed the house before your child was born. But now that they’re getting a bit older and bigger, you’ll need to revisit. They’re going to be exploring a lot more and they’ll want to get into anything and everything to have a poke around. All of the normal childproofing that you’ve done needs to stay, but you need to consider other places that they can get to now that they’re able to climb on things etc. Follow these tips for childproofing your home to make sure that you don’t miss anything important. The areas that you should be focusing on now are the high up places that they would never have been able to reach before. You’d be surprised how resourceful they can be when they want to know what’s in a cupboard or drawer somewhere. Even if you think that they’ll never get up there, you still need to childproof it.

Don’t Interrupt Naps

Your child is always prone to tantrums at this point, but they’re far more likely to be irritable if they’re tired. That’s why naps are so important right now. It might be a little more difficult for you but you need to plan your day around their nap times. If you need to go out somewhere, don’t take them when they would normally be sleeping. Their sleep routine will be broken and they’ll be tired and frustrated. That means that even the tiniest thing could set them off and you’ll end up on the receiving end of a meltdown. If their current nap time is inconvenient for you, try to gradually encourage them to take naps at a different time so you can run errands when it suits you, without having to change their schedule all the time.

Be Consistent With Rules

As soon as you allow a toddler something once, that sets a precedent and they’ll expect the same treatment every time. If you then change the rules and don’t give in to their demands, they’ll get angry and upset. For example, if you take them shopping and they’re begging you to buy them sweets, you’ve got a decision to make. You can say no now and probably end up dealing with a tantrum. It might happen the next few times but after that, they’ll know that you’re not going to budge, even if they kick up a fuss. However, if you try to avoid dramas by saying yes and buying them some sweets, they’ll expect it every time. Then you’re stuck in a situation where you either buy them sweets every time you go shopping, or you deal with a tantrum every time. You need to set out clear rules and be consistent with them every time so you aren’t disappointing them and causing upset.

When it comes to things like buying treats while out shopping, you can set expectations beforehand and use them to encourage good behavior. Let them know before you leave the house that they can have a treat on the way home, but only if they’re good. That helps to teach them that they can’t get their own way by having a tantrum.

Keep Them Entertained

Your child is going through a lot of growth mentally and they need something to direct all of that extra brain capacity at. Often, the reason that a child acts up is that they’re bored. That’s why it’s important to keep them entertained and stimulated at all times. Giving them something creative to do will help them to stay calm, especially in situations where they’ll easily get bored like a family road trip, for example. But if they’re just following you around while you run errands, they’re quickly going to get bored and having a tantrum is their way of alleviating that boredom. Simple puzzles are good for kids at this age because it challenges their brain and helps with their development.

Always Stay Calm

You’re only human and it’s natural for you to get frustrated when your child is kicking and screaming in public. But if you get angry with them, things are only going to get worse. They’re not going to respond well to you shouting at them and they’ll only start to act out more. Kids reflect their parent’s behavior so what you should be doing is removing them from the situation and telling them calmly why their behavior is not acceptable. If you react in this way every time, you’ll start to see that bad behavior reduce.

Right now, it probably feels like the terrible twos are never going to end and you’re going to spend the rest of your life in a constant battle with your child. But it will pass soon enough, just make sure you follow these tips to get through it.

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Comments

  1. Donna L Holder says

    yes those twos. brings back good times. i have twin girls so i had double

  2. Stephanie Ludwig says

    I needed this! Thanks

  3. Angela MacRae says

    My grandson has turned two this past june and his temper tantrums are aweful but my daughter says just to ignore him, he throws himself to the floor and bangs his head! He throws all of his strength into his little body and it is almost impossible to pick him up! I remember the two stage with my own kids and they had tempers then too…

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