Every parent has heard about it… when their little angel of a toddler suddenly becomes a tantrum throwing, not so angelic hellion on two feet…also known as the “terrible twos.”
Some experts argue that the terrible two phase is a myth and simple a stage in a child’s development. But if you and your partner are currently going through such a stage in your child’s life, it’s definitely a valid issue.
So what can you do if your child is seemingly entering the terrible twos and you’re both at wits end trying to figure out how to deal with it?
Here are some worthwhile tips to help you tackle those terrible twos and restore a bit of needed peace and serenity to your household…
This may be easier said than done, especially if you’re dealing with an unruly toddler who is throwing an abundance of tantrums and mood-swings with no foreseeable end in sight. While being patient might be the hardest step for you and your partner, it’s also the most important.
This means not only recognizing that you child is going through a stage, but also acknowledging that it will pass and that anger isn’t going to solve anything. Take some deep breaths, don’t respond to the moment with anger, and if you must, walk away for a bit.
Know Your Child’s Eating and Sleeping Patterns
As adults we get moody and even sometimes grouchy if we are hungry or haven’t gotten enough sleep. Children are the same way. Your child is learning about the world around them and their place in it…even at the young age of two.
Lack of sleep or missing a snack may trigger tantrums more easily. That’s why it’s important to make sure you keep your child on a consistent sleep and eating schedule.
You can’t be a total softy with your child and expect those tantrums to just magically go away by giving them whatever they want. Giving he or she consequences when they are misbehaving is useful not only for the current terrible two phase, but also in their later development.
They will be much more disciplined and have better behavior if they know they will have to endure the consequences from bad behavior. Lay down the ground rule and make sure your child realizes the consequences if those rules are broken.
For example, if he or she pulls hair or hits when angry, let them now these actions are not acceptable and they will have a “time out” or whatever form of consequence you feel is appropriate.
Don’t Forget to Praise
This goes hand in hand with enforcing consequences when your child is misbehaving. If he or she does something that exhibits good behavior, for example putting away their toys without being told, then you should give positive reinforcement.
Acknowledge the good behavior with praise. Your child will remember your positive reactions and want more of that out of you in the future.
Turn Terrible to Terrific
With conscious effort from you and your partner, you can help transition your toddler out of the terrible twos stage. Give your child choices, praise them when they have done well, and follow a daily routine as regularly as possible.
With choices, your child will be less likely to start an argument. With positive reinforcement, they will be more likely to repeat the good behavior that garnered praise from the mommies.
And with a regular daily schedule, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in the middle of a tantrum because of a missed nap or because your child is grouchy from being hungry.