Parenting tips for the terrible twos

Dec 13, 2018

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One moment everything seems to be in order, the next they're crying for attention or throwing a tantrum for some little thing. The most embarrassing part is the public tantrum. It's the "terrible two" stage and it is called terrible for a particular reason which isn't far-fetched; toddlers are usually terrible to manage at this particular stage of life because they find pleasure in saying "No" all the time.

For first time parents, it's usually very frustrating, because toddlers throw tantrums without a clear-cut way of pacifying them. At this stage, it is important to reconcile with the fact that, such behavior is expected of them as they transition from being babies to toddlers, they begin to learn how to make independent choices, more often than not, their strive for independence would not sit well with you as the parent, and it is usually very difficult to explain to them why they can't have or do something.

Being mentally prepared will go a long way in getting through this developmental stage of their life. Here are some parent tips to keep in mind as your baby grows into that "terrible" tantrum age.

Age Factor: They're gradually growing from being babies to toddlers, this transition factor is important in guiding your conversations with them. You should not talk to them as if they're older than they are. Explaining things to them wouldn't make much difference, because they won't see a reason behind your explanation as long as it does not favor them. This goes both ways; treating them like a baby will make them revolt as well. They want to be fully involved in the decisions that involve them.

Take for instance their choice of food or outfit. Instead of saying, "you're wearing the blue dress", a better approach is to present three different choices and make them choose from the options presented. That way they feel involved in the process of making decisions.

Kids Don't Die from Crying: This might sound mean, but it's a valuable tip for parents. When you're outdoors, you might be worried about making a scene when your child decides to act up. In cases like this, you should do your best to pacify them or excuse yourself so as not to affect others. But when you're indoors, and they start to act up as expected, you should try as much as possible to make sure they understand that crying won't make you change your mind. Make sure they work through the tantrum while you remain as calm as possible. Some toddlers are quite scared after having a tantrum, so if you can’t calm them down in the middle of their tantrum, do try to comfort them afterwards.

Keep Them Engaged: Kids love being distracted, and at this young age it does not take much to get them distracted. When they're bored, they make ridiculous demands. Rather than waiting for them to get bored, ensure they're engaged in one form of activity or the other. Or, if you feel a tantrum coming on, quickly divert their attention away from the situation. Try presenting them with a toy or any other interesting object which will attract their attention.

In conclusion, it is important to note that they will not remain in this stage for the rest of their life. They will eventually outgrow it as they learn the basics of effective communication - not crying and throwing a tantrum to make their grievances known. The more your toddler’s vocabulary grows and the more they understand what you are saying to them, the less likely they are to have tantrums.

As a parent, it is important that you learn to be consistent in your decision making, let your yes be yes and the no remain no. While there are no fast rules for managing the ‘terrible twos’, the mental preparation and the tips explained in this article will go a long way in giving you a head start.

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