6 Tips for Getting Through the Terrible Twos
Most people dread certain parts of their child’s development. Dealing with toddler tantrums is something that all parents have to learn to do. Many parents worry about the period of time that is referred to as the “terrible twos.” It is important to note that this period of your child’s development can start well before they reach their second birthday and continue after they reach the age of three. There are things you can do to get through this rough period of time.
- Impose consequences. No one really likes the thought of imposing consequences on a child. This is just as true when a toddler is going through the terrible twos phase. This is often a period of time marked by a toddler’s first attempts to be independent and to test the limits imposed by their parents. This is also the time when parents need to set down the rules for their expectations and to set consequences for bad behavior. These consequences can include a time out or a loss of some privilege. They can include both. It is important for children to see that their actions do have consequences. They do not have to always be bad consequences. Rewarding good behavior can go a long way in helping kids understand the consequences of their actions.
- Give your childre responsibilities. This is an important way to show children they have some control over their own lives. Even very small children can help out around the house. Give them things to do that make them feel they are contributing to the well being of the house. Tasks like helping to set the table before a meal can show them the role they play. When you are dealing with the terrible twos, giving your children some responsibilities can make them feel more in control.
- Give your kids choices. This can be really helpful if you are dealing with a picky eater toddler. Having choices gives all people a better sense that we have control over our lives. This is very true when it comes to dealing with the terrible twos. Not having any choices can leave people feeling powerless. Many two year old toddlers want to feel like they have some control over their lives. Giving them options when it comes to what they are going to eat or what they are going to do can go a long way to prevent tantrums and make them feel better about their place in the world.
- Make sure your children get enough sleep. No one is at their best when they have not gotten enough sleep. When you are dealing with the terrible twos, sleep can be a really important way to help your children. A lot of the time, tantrums are caused by being overly tired. When adults do not get enough sleep, we get moody. By making sure your child gets enough sleep at night and for nap time you can make a big difference in how they feel and that will impact how they behave.
- Celebrate good behavior. Positive reinforcement is a great way to help children behave the way you want them to. When your child does something you like, you want to encourage them and reward that behavior. If your child cleans their room and puts away their toys, tell them what a good job they did and how proud of them you are. They will take these positive reactions to heart and this will impact how they behave in the future. A little praise can go a long way.
- Ignore bad behavior. Yes, when your child does something they should not do, there need to be consequences afterwards but when they are throwing a temper tantrum, giving them more attention may be what they are looking for. Do not indulge them by giving them more attention. If you are trying to teach them a skill like how to use forks during meals, they may act out by eating with their hands. They may be doing this to get attention. Do not give it to them. If they do something that can be dangerous to themselves or others, you have to step in but you may make more progress by doing nothing.