My son has well and truly hit the terrible twos. Exploring where he shouldn’t, testing boundaries, drawing on the walls and so much more.
As a new parent all i remember is looking forward to my baby boy communicating with me, and every one telling me to saviour those early days when he couldn’t walk or talk. All i have ringing in my ears is “you wait until his two”. Honestly i didn’t think it would be this hard, and i find myself longing for those early days when all he wanted were milk and cuddles.
Nowadays everything results in a temper tantrum, with him hitting himself and sometimes even hitting out at us. This can be caused by anything like changing him out if his pyjamas, changing his nappy (yes, still not potty trained, we’ll get on to that one in another post), and even if i or my hubby take a second too long to pick him up when his reaching up for a cuddle, it all ends in tears. He is honestly an emotional child.
Where is super nanny when you need her? (Whatever happened to that show?).
I get so worked up and anxious when he has a tantrum, particularly because they are happening multiple times a day, and he becomes uncontrollable. I’m no expert and i’m learning as i go along, as is my better half, and we’re doing our best to find the best ways to calm him down when he gets into one, but i’m not finding it easy.
I find it worse towards the afternoon and evenings before his bedtime. It doesn’t take an expert to understand this is because he has dropped his late morning / early afternoon nap. He is clearly getting tired earlier and its making him grumpy, so bedtime has moved in accordance to this.
Truth be told even my mood is effected if I’m tired, so i can’t expect my two year old to be any different.
How we’re dealing with the terrible twos
- Embracing it: Counterintuitive but rather than constantly telling him off, which is the common reaction to a two year olds antics, we are embracing these moments and using them to educate him. For example, when he drew on the living room wall with a pencil (thank goodness it was just a pencil!), instead of going mad we cleaned it off together, i explained the wall is not for drawing and gave him some paper and his crayons to get creative.
- Provide options: Recently my son has become fussy about getting dressed, which has often led to tantrums, and trying to get him changed has became an Olympic sport! So after exhausting myself and thinking about what may help, i have started to offer him an option, for example, “Do you want to wear your batman top or the dinosaurs”, “do you want the red socks or blue socks”etc.. This gives him some control, which makes him happy and makes my life easier. This can apply to most things, even meal times and giving two options you would be happy with, such as a choice between a banana or apple for a snack.
- Don’t raise your voice: I sometimes make this mistake after the fourth or so tantrum of the day, however if you can handle your emotions and keep calm, the quicker the tantrum is over. If you raise your voice its only going to make your child more agitated and escalate the situation.
- Give your child a minute to let it out: I’ve figured that if i give my son a minute sometimes he will calm himself down and its over.
- Level up: If my son is unable to calm down, I crouch down to his level and speak to him calmly and say “its ok” or i ask “what’s wrong?”. Overall going down to his level and communicating softly helps him calm down.
- Don’t give treats: I have been guilty of giving my son one of his favourite snacks to keep him quiet, but don’t do it! It will become an expectation and that’s not good for either of you, and it will take some training to reverse the behaviour.
- Think about it: Remember that your two year old may be acting out because he doesn’t know how to explain what he wants, or how his feeling. You know your child best, so try to isolate each situation. I find that if i think about it, i can pin point the issue, such as my son getting upset about not wanting to change out of his PJs, really it was about control and choice, and by giving that to him, with options i’m also happy with, helped mitigate the situation.
I still get days when i lose my cool, or can’t seem to settle a situation, but with a two year old nothing is an exact science, and what may work for us one day, may not work the next. It’s trial and error, but we have found the above most effective for us so far.
Overall just try to keep in mind your child is still developing and learning, there will be bad days, but even with a two year old you will have good and even great days to come. I’m going to saviour these moments, and be grateful for not being in the teen stage!
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