This angelic looking, cute-as-a-button little girl can turn into a little monster who kicks, screams, bites and breaks! That’s TERRIBLE TWO for you right there!
I was very lucky that my first child skipped this stage entirely and as I watched and heard all about Terrible Two from my friends, I breezed through it. I only had to discipline him once or twice and that was enough for him to learn to behave.
Not so lucky with the second child. M was already a defiant child to start with and when she turned 2 this August, we official entered the Terrible Two stage. I get at least two or three tantrums a day where she would cry and melt down on the floor, kicking her legs. She has broken a number of bowls and plates including her brother’s favourite water bottle. She throws any food she doesn’t like on the floor and refuses to eat in her highchair. She also threw my phone in the bathtub (which was filled with water). She refuses to tie her hair or wear what I pick out for her in the morning. She is so assertive of her independence that no one can persuade her to do anything most of the time. Don’t get me wrong she is still super cute and we love her to the moon but there are moments that she drives me a bit nuts.
After dealing with this for a couple month, I decided it was time to do some research and implement some new parenting tactics to help us deal with this stage a little better. M has responded surprisingly well to some of the tactics we used. We are not smooth sailing the Terrible Two yet, but there’s definitely been improvement. Here are a few tried and true tips from my experience.
- Make sure your child is not overtired. When she is overtired, she is more likely to have a meltdown. So watch for nap schedule and bedtime.
- Make sure your two-year-old is well fed and not hungry because hungry kids (and adults) can be cranky!
- Let her assert her independence but with some boundaries. Give her a few options that you already picked out for her to choose from, whether it’s her clothes or snack, offer her choices.
- Talk to her about why you are doing what you are doing and give her the reasoning even if you think she couldn’t understand entirely. When M wanted to wear her new fluffy slippers out on a rainy day, I explained to her that they would get wet and dirty and she wouldn’t be able to wear it anymore, and that’s why she needed to wear her rain boots. To my surprise, she agreed with me and changed into her rain boots.
- Stay calm when she is having a tantrum or meltdown. Don’t give in easily because she will know that tantrums can help get what she want.But at the same time, pick your battle. You just can’t fight with her over everything.
- Be consistent when it comes to discipline. It took many “time-outs” for M to learn to eat at the table and we are still working on it.
- Praise her whenever she has good behaviours. Kids love to be praised and it becomes a positive reinforcement for good behaviours. Remember to praise her behavior and not just some vague praises.
- If she throws a tantrum outside of home, do not fight with her but just remove her from the scene calmly.
- Teach her to communicate her feelings. Help her to verbalize it. M gets frustrated many times because she couldn’t communicate her feelings.
- Cut down on sugar, sugar makes most kids hyper.
I am not a parenting expert. These are just some of the things that has helped me as a mom. For those of you who are going through the same stage, try some of the tips and let me know what worked for you and what didn’t.