Terrible Twos: A period of a toddlers growth and development that is often characterized by defiant, temperamental, boundary testing behavior. The terrible twos often fall between a toddlers second and third birthday.
My response to any remarks in public these days is; ‘He’s Two‘. This often clears up any confusion one may have about my child hitting into me as I try so hard to lift him from the shopping center floor in any attempt to make it to the car. On reaching the car, if your two year old is anything like mine, you will feel as though you’ve ran a marathon.
If your child has just turned two you may be seeing glimpses of the terrible twos. If anyone thought the newborn stage was hard going, reality is, that stage was a walk in the park. Your toddlers second birthday often marks the start of the terrible twos, but don’t worry, this defiant behavior shouldn’t last much more than a year!
- 1 Why are Two Year Old’s Classed as Terrible?
- 2 What to Expect from a Two Year Old
- 3 Why Do Toddlers Throw Tantrums?
- 4 Tips for Coping with a Two Year Old
- 5 Strategies to Survive Life with a Toddler
- 6 What Not to Do: Mum of a Two Year Old
- 7 To the Moms of a Two Year Old
Why are Two Year Old’s Classed as Terrible?
Perhaps your child hasn’t reached two years old yet but your wondering why someone seemingly so innocent could be referred to as terrible. The period between a toddler’s second and third birthday is often referred to as the terrible twos. Now comes the why. While every child is different during this period the child is absorbing every little word, every little action and they are becoming more of a person. They can now vocalize their thoughts and unfortunately can physically demonstrate their thoughts as well. It is not uncommon for a two year old to throw tantrums and cry when testing the boundaries their parents or caregivers have put in place.
Terrible twos is simply just an expression. Your child is not terrible, nor are you as a mum. Your toddler is testing boundaries and it is up to you as a parent to guide him or her. Always remember, toddlers often become mirror versions of their parents; ‘money see, monkey do’.
Items Every Mom of a Two Year Old Needs
What to Expect from a Two Year Old
Just like us adults, every child is different. Some more easy going than others. Some quieter, some louder. Each toddler has their very own and unique personality. In saying this, during their second and third birthday it is common for a toddler to:
- Throw a tantrum at home and in public
- Hit, kick or bite
- Decide everything is ‘theirs’ and show difficulty sharing
- Want to be independent although still want to be babied
- Be indecisive
- Be fussy
The majority of two year old’s will be able to:
- Talk in basic sentences
- Have some understanding of time
- Undergo simple problem solving
- Sing a basic song/nursery rhyme
- Follow simple instructions
- Confidently walk and climb
Why Do Toddlers Throw Tantrums?
There are a number of reasons a toddler will throw a tantrum and determining the reason can allow you to console with the child and lessen the likelihood of such tantrums in the future.
- Temper tantrums: The most common type of tantrum where the child is expressing his anger. These are the types of tantrums that a child will throw when they do not get what they want at the checkout.
- Hungry Tantrums: These tantrums are the results of a hungry toddler. Offering the child something to eat can often end this behavior.
- Tired Tantrums: These tantrums are common for two year olds. Being tired can make it hard for toddlers to manage their feelings.
- Emotional Tantrums: These tantrums can be the result of embarrassment or shame caused for a toddler.
Planning outings around meal times and naps can lessen the likelihood of a public tantrum. If you find that certain aspects of life trigger a tantrum for your child, avoid these situations.
Tips for Coping with a Two Year Old
Every child is different so while some of these tips may work for some mothers, others may see no difference in there two year old’s behavior.
Boundaries – Keep Consistent
Boundaries are important from day one. From my first child I have learnt this. Creating limits are important but more important is sticking to your limits. If your child must sit in the trolley while doing the grocery shop make sure your toddler knows this and make sure you and any other caregiver sticks to this. If your child learns that the boundaries and limits are set in stone they are less likely to misbehave as they will learn the consequences. Consider if you have been consistent with: bed time, manners, dinner time and bath time.
A two year old is constantly testing the limits of their parents and caregivers. While no parent likes to set consequences in place, the toddler will avoid misbehaving if they are aware of the consequence. Consequences for a two year old could include a short timeout or loss of privileges. Toddlers respond better to short term consequences.
Plan Outings Around Naps
If your child has a particular time they tend to nap of a day, outings should be planned around this. Toddlers tend to be irritable and often uncontrollable more so if they are tired. If you have gone to get groceries and your child is acting out, consider if they are tired.
Ensure all Caregivers are Aware of Expectations
Toddlers are known to play one parent against another. For me this was real. Somehow I had become the weak link and my child knew this.
Once you have set the boundaries and limits ensure anyone who will be minding your child knows them. For example, if you do not allow your child to have juice, make sure no other relative or caregiver is allowing your child to have juice. Yes, grandmas, nanny’s and nans that ones for you!
Keep Your Toddler Entertained
What some think is naughty behavior can often be boredom. Toddlers will seek attention any way they can think of and yes, this may be in the form of drawing with textas on a white wall. While the mother or father may see this as naughty, this is in fact the toddlers cry for attention. Setting up activities to do with your child, visiting a local park, reading together, and playing with age appropriate toys with your toddler can actually help you cope with the terrible twos.
Toddlers have an abundance of energy. Burning off energy of a day by playing outside or at the park will not only ensure your toddlers mind is busy, it will also ensure they sleep better.
Praise the Good
While us moms are often quick to comment on the bad, praising the good is important. If your child is being behaved, let them know you are seeing this good behavior. If they are being praised for the good either verbally or with a small treat, they are more likely to repeat this behavior.
Strategies to Survive Life with a Toddler
- Ensure Your Toddler is Getting Enough Sleep
- Children who do not get enough sleep often display out of line behavior.
- If your child is not sleeping well consult with a pediatrician.
- Being strict about nap times and bedtimes will ensure your toddler sticks to routine.
- Toddler Proof Your House
- If you don’t want a special item to be broken, don’t leave it in the reach of your toddler.
- Avoid having ‘temptations’ at toddler eye level.
- Talk to Your Toddler About their Feelings
- If your child doesn’t know how to verbalize their feelings, they will be displaying the feelings physically (hitting, biting)
- When you notice your child crying ask them if they feel sad. If you notice your child becoming frustrated with another child, ask them if they are angry.
- Offer Them Simple Choices
- Offering the toddler a choice between two acceptable activities can allow them to feel in control.
What Not to Do: Mum of a Two Year Old
While our go to word tends to be ‘no’ when we seeing our toddler acting out, this word should be reserved for when the child is doing something on the extreme end of naughty or is putting themselves in a dangerous situation. Limit the use of ‘no’ around attention seeking behavior and offer an alternative. For example, ‘How about you give mom back her notepad and we’ll find some beautifully colored pieces of paper for you to draw on’.
Violent punishments should not be used. Smacking and hitting your child when they are out of line will only make them think these actions are normal. Studies show that children who were spanked as punishment were more likely to be aggressive even into adulthood. If you feel overwhelmed by your two year old, take a minute to breath in the bathroom or call a family member to talk it out.
To the Moms of a Two Year Old
The fact is, all two year olds will chuck a tantrum at one stage or another. If you find that your toddler misbehaves more around you, their mother, it is because you are their safe haven. They feel at home, most comfortable to express their feelings and emotions. You may even notice that your toddler waits until you are home to do their bowel movements, to cry or to ask for something simple.
If you are reading this article, you are a good mom.
it’s a good baby advice thank you