Two words that bring fear and serious stress in to a new parents life is ‘Terrible Twos’!
Tantrums, crazy load of energy and fussiness are all part of a new parents repertoire, however, the terrible twos hit a bit different. Mind you this does not start at the age of two, instead it creeps up on you like a slow developing cough by the time your kid is around 15-18 months. When Cayden turned two we were already well in to the tantrum phase. Still in this phase I feel like this has to be one of the most challenging periods that I have experienced since he was born.
Common Behaviours –
- Excessive Crying – it can be just a spilled piece of food, or just literally nothing and he bursts our screaming. For every little action he himself does his reaction is to cry. There have been times where he is happy one moment and sobbing uncontrollably the next.
- Learning the word ‘NO’ – of course as parents we want our kids to learn words but this is the detrimental downfall of our existence. NO NO NO NO… if I count the number of times he says no in one day, I am sure it would sum up to at least a 100.
- Biting, hitting, pulling – these verbs are hitting a very sensitive spot for parents I believe. As no one wants their kids to react this way. Luckily we are experiencing these actions only towards us at home and not to any other kids. My biggest fear was he would take this behaviour to his day care. Luckily he didn’t. He was a model student there and closeted monster at home (I am sure I will get some crazy backlash for this – but it is what it is).
- Attempting to do everything on his own – acceptable and proud at times when he attempts to eat on his own, dress on his own and so much more BUT the downside to this is, when he fails it is right back to number one on this – excessive crying. They attempt and believe they can do it but then when things do not go their way that is the tantrum of the century.
All the usual behaviour aside, how do we actually get through these years? I am of course no expert and think about banging my head on a wall on a daily basis – but there are few tricks that can help with these behaviours.
- Remain as calm as possible – as hard as it is , distract yourself and remain calm when they are throwing a crazy tantrum. If we react they continue to react and then there is no benefit to either party. When we stay calm it gives them a safe space and environment to calm themselves. Saying this it is not always possible but we could consciously try.
- Give them small things to do, like removing their shoes and keeping them in the correct place and always applaud them for whatever activity they get right. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. I noticed this with Cayden when we clap and say good job he tends to continue doing that activity with enthusiasm. NEVER scold them for getting it wrong! Redirect and guide them to get it right.
- Aggressive behaviour such as point three above needs to be handled very carefully, I am still working on getting him to stop biting – most often I have noticed this is for excessive affection. Considering Cayden’s personality we have noticed that taking him out to the garden, getting him to play with the dogs where he is engaged in a physical activity helps him to release that pent up energy and thus in turn reduce these behaviours.
The same way no two kids are alike, no parents are alike either. What I have mentioned above is very specific to my experience and what I go through day today living with a very active and loud two year old.
One of the best blogs you can read for advice is BigLittlefeelings. I have hyperlinked the website here. They provide you with practical and easy advice on how to manage various speedbumps we come across raising toddlers.
I hope you find this a wee bit helpful at least and happy toddler management to all of us.