Parental Strategies for Surviving the Terrible Twos
Welcome to the thrill ride that is parenting a two-year-old! Your perfect, gurgling, cooing baby has somehow transformed into perpetual motion machine of terror. You can remind yourself that parents of two- and three-year-olds around the globe have gone through this, but that won’t mean much in the middle of a public meltdown of epic proportions. So buckle up, buttercup, and learn some practical parental strategies for surviving the terrible twos.
Why Toddlers Act Up
Understanding the reason behind toddler behavior will help you keep your sanity and handle things better. The main cause of the storm is the tension between a two- or three-year old’s desire for independence and their limited abilities. Toddlers want to explore and try new things, but they also need your help. This creates frustration, leading to tantrums and meltdowns.
So, how can you help your tiny dictator?
Stick to Routines, Especially Naps
Your toddler may not know it, but they crave routine. It provides a sense of safety and security. Make sure you have consistent meal, play, and sleep times, especially naps. Remember, a tired toddler is more prone to tantrums. Sleep is one of many practical ways to keep your toddler healthy and lower the odds of epic tantrums that create paths of destruction through your grocery store, park, or living room.
Respect the Power of Distraction
When you see the storm clouds building in your tiny terrorist’s eyes, distract them with something else that’ll catch their attention. Be prepared with little toys, healthy snacks, and drinks when you leave the house and set your sensors set on high for anything that might catch your kid’s attention (“Squirrel! Dog! Truck! Flower!”) for a few moments until the storm front passes.
Remain Calm, Consistent, Kind, and Firm
Don’t let your mini-manipulator take control. Maintain your composure, don’t negotiate, and don’t give in to your child’s high-decibel demands. Be consistent, kind, and firm with your boundaries. Parent like a boss, but one that gives cuddles after saying no for the hundredth time.
Choices: The Illusion of Power
Offering choices is a brilliant way to give toddlers a sense of control. This can help prevent tantrums or meltdowns. “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?” This way, they feel they have a say in things, but you’re still in control.
Give Fair Warning and Explain The Plan
Your toddler might not seem like the most reasonable person on the planet, but they appreciate a heads up. Explain what’s coming next, so they can mentally prepare. Give them a two-minute warning before you need them to switch activities. This can help them transition more smoothly.
Embrace the Chaos and Celebrate the Small Victories
There’s no magic wand to wave away the terrible twos. Embrace the chaos, breathe, and remember that this too shall pass. Keep employing these tried-and-true parental strategies for surviving the terrible twos and take each day as it comes. This “two” shall pass, and before you know it, your toddler is a …OMG, a teenager!