The Terrific Two’s: Tips to Make the Two’s Easier
When dealing with your two year-old you need to remember the three C’s: communication, choice, and consistency. If you can remember these three things you will be able to deal with your two year-old a lot more effectively.
Part one of the Terrific Two’s discussed why two’s act the way they do, now we can look at ways to reduce the tantrums and make life a little easier and a lot more fun.
Children at two usually cannot communicate everything they are feeling, wanting, or needing. Although sleepiness and hunger can cause a tantrum, the inability to communicate is usually the culprit. The first thing you need to do if you feel like your child is getting upset and unable to tell you what they need is calm them down and talk to them about how they feel.
Now, most two’s will not be able to just tell you they are happy, sad, or mad. A good way to help them communicate their emotions is feeling cards. When your child is upset, have them pick which emotion they are feeling and talk to them about it. You can buy some, or make your own by taking pictures of your child in various emotional situations and laminating them.
Another way to help your child communicate is by teaching them to sign. Signing has been proven to reduce temper tantrums and outbursts in children who are non-verbal or have speech problems as well as young children who are learning to speak. By being able to let you know what they need or want, your child will feel empowered, independent, and capable; eliminating the need to throw a tantrum.
Adults don’t seem to be able to recall what it was like being a child. Do we not remember what we all said when our parents told us to do something because they said so and that was that? We all said we would never do it. Nothing will make a two year-old angrier than not being able to practice the independence they crave. However, we don’t want our two year-old’s running around like tiny mental patients, freshly escaped from the loony bin.
A good way to find compromise (another important C word when dealing with two year-old’s) is by giving your child two choices. You can avoid so many tantrums just by letting them feel like they have some control in their lives. Your little mister is throwing a fit over the color of his plate? Tell him that he can choose between color A and color B at the next meal time. Still won’t calm down? Keep giving him choices and try to get him to communicate his feelings.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Consistency is very important when dealing with your two year-old. Now, let’s revisit the previous paragraph and pretend your child is still throwing an insane temper tantrum after you gave him options and tried to help him communicate his feelings. You’re tired, you don’t like it when your child cries (who does, it’s sad), and you don’t know what to do. It would be better to just give in, right? Wrong. It’s hard. It is really hard to watch your child be upset. Let the thought that you are doing what is best for them keep you strong.
Children thrive on routine and consistency. If they know what to expect and what your expectations of them are, they will test you a lot less. However, if one day you follow through with everything you say and then the next you don’t, your child will try and see what they can get away with because they don’t know what to expect. Stay strong, be consistent.
Having a two year-old is hard and some days nothing is going to work, no matter how much you try. Remember to just stay calm and enjoy your child. They’re only two once!
Tags: baby signing, baby signs, child discipline, communicate, consisitency, daily mom, de-stress, easy, eliminate stress, family, family choices, helpful mom resources, independent child, kids, mom, Mommy, mommy tips, parent resource, parenting, stay at home mom, tantrums, Terrible Twos, tips, toddler, toddler discipline
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Wittney lives in Missouri with her husband and two daughters; Lou, a spunky almost 2 year old and Oli, her 3 month old. She is an early childhood educator who is giving being a stay-at-home mom a whirl for a year. She loves to grow her own food, is an avid supporter of animal and women’s rights, eats a vegetarian diet, and loves nothing more than playing and teaching children, especially her two daughters. You can usually find her in her backyard playing in the water and dirt or tie-dyeing t-shirts!