10 Tips For Bypassing The Terrible Twos

10 Tips For Bypassing The Terrible TwosThe “terrible twos” are a challenging time many parents find themselves having to navigate, often unexpectedly. Children seem to suddenly change, developing stronger personalities and resisting your efforts to guide them.

Researchers believe this happens because children are developing a sense of self. For the first time, they understand that they are independent people, separate from the rest of the world, able to shape and manipulate it in ways they want.

At this stage of development, kids begin to realize they can resist you and say “no.” Toddlers find out that they can scream and shout to get their way – or at least, express their desires.

Unfortunately, many parents find this developmental stage the most challenging of all before the teenage years. Children seem different, lacking the passivity of babies, but not yet having the impulse control of older kids.

Therefore, this post is here to help. We explore some tips for bypassing the terrible twos and getting your life back on track. While this developmental stage is challenging to manage, some parents navigate it successfully, helping them enjoy their time with their family more.

Learn The Root Causes

The first step is to learn the root causes of the terrible twos. Researchers widely believe that behavior change comes from their newfound capacities to explore and manipulate the world around them. However, the root causes of the aspects of behavior you don’t want, more likely come from their inability to communicate with their parents and caregivers.

Therefore, focus on getting your toddler to express how he or she feels. Practicing verbalizing emotions can be highly effective and teaches the child what they are experiencing. The more they can put their emotions into words, the better able they will be to tell you what they want and understand what they are experiencing.

Offer More Choices

With that said, there are other things you can try to moderate their behavior and make the family home more pleasant for everyone. One option is to offer them more choices when negotiating with them, giving them control instead of taking it all for yourself.

For instance, you could say something like “Do you want to eat the broccoli or carrots?” if the child is refusing to eat their vegetables. Better yet, you can combine these foods with a meal or dish to make them more flavorsome and palatable to young children.

You can also offer these choices when it comes to outdoor activities. You could say something like “Do you want to play on the swings or walk in the woods?” Leveraging this tactic gives the child more choice so they feel less like they are bending to your will and doing what you want.

Establish Limits

Another tactic is to set clear boundaries that your child must obey. Communicate what you expect from them consistently, and avoid saying things that might trigger a tantrum, such as what they won’t be getting for dinner or Christmas.

Also, focus on modeling the behavior you want to see. Many children will follow your lead, eating what you eat, and engaging in lifestyle practices you enjoy. If you show restraint, it is likely they will, too.

Take Their Feelings Into Consideration

When negotiating with children, it is also essential to consider their feelings. Understanding how they feel makes it more straightforward to manage their reactions to certain situations and know where they are going to go next.

For example, you might say something like, “I understand you are upset now because you can’t have the toy you want. Feeling angry is okay and something that happens to everyone.”

When you show your child that you understand how they feel, they are more likely to sense that you understand them, even if they don’t reveal it immediately. Over time, this approach can help to build trust, giving them more confidence to come to you when they have a problem. If you can deal with their emotions sensitively or offer compromises, that can convince them that you’re on their side, making tantrums less likely in the future.

Put Their Energy Into Something Else

Another tactic when navigating the terrible twos is to redirect your child’s energy into something else. Calming them down or getting them to focus on a new task can be a powerful technique to make this period of their life more manageable.

For example, you could start them on potty training. Most children are ready to learn after 24 months, so it’s the perfect time in their life. This activity helps to give them a sense of control and gives them something new to focus on. You can get a sample potty training schedule, plus expert tips online.

You can also distract them in other ways. For example, you could read them a book or put on a show featuring their favorite stuffed animals.

Give TIme Outs A Purpose

Time outs can be helpful when disciplining young children, but you need to do it in the right way. Just sending your toddler to the corner for fifteen minutes probably won’t have much of an effect.

The purpose of quiet time isn’t so much punishment as it is giving the child a period free from stimulation. Today’s kids often live highly active and hectic lives that don’t give their brains a chance to calm down and relax. As such, spending some time away from screens, toys, or books to relax can be genuinely helpful for a lot of kids. Many two-year-olds fall asleep or come back from the time-out session feeling much calmer.

Be Patient

Of course, bypassing the terrible twos entirely is probably impossible. But you can reduce their impact on your life by being patient. Try to avoid the temptation to feel angry or upset yourself. Instead, see this time as a unique stage in your child’s development that will necessarily include challenges. View it as something routine that every parent goes through instead of a unique form of torture. Once you start letting emotions affect you, it becomes more difficult to stay calm.

Ideally, you want to present a consistent, predictable front to your child. If your emotions are all over the place, then they will learn that, too. It will also make the situation more combative and contentious, making it harder for you to instill discipline or create a non-chaotic atmosphere at home.

Focus More On Positive Reinforcement

Another thing you can try is focusing more on positive reinforcement. Parents are adept at informing their tiny tots what they are doing wrong, but they are not so good at letting them know when they are getting things right.

However, if you can turn the tables, you can more effectively train your child. Remember, kids don’t know exactly how they should behave. Therefore, positive reinforcement by parents can be an excellent way to foster the behaviors you want to see while avoiding those you don’t.

Also, focus on using clear language they will understand. Modify their behavior as needed but always remain calm. Point out why there is a problem and look for ways to fix it.

Go To A Professional

While bad behavior during the terrible twos is common, it can be helpful for parents and children to see professionals to improve family situations. Getting help can show you how to approach challenging situations better while managing your emotions.

Professionals can provide you with personalized strategies for dealing with your child and managing their difficult behaviors. It can also show you some of the techniques you can use to avoid flying off the rails and hurting yourself emotionally.

Encourage More Physical Activity

Another option that works for most parents is to encourage more physical activity. Getting your children moving more helps them release pent-up frustration and energy, helping them sleep at night and making them feel more relaxed around the home.

The best way to use up energy if you live in the city is to go to the park. Kids love playing outdoors and enjoying themselves. However, there are also plenty of things you can do around the house, such as playing with physical toys.

Try to avoid excessive screen time. It can be overstimulating for young kids, leading to behavioral problems.

Practice Self-Regulation

You can also try practicing self-regulation with two-year-old toddlers. Helping them manage their emotions gets to the root of the problem with the terrible twos.

With young children, practicing relaxation is the most effective strategy. Getting them to close their eyes and focus on something they like can change their feelings substantially.

You can also try putting on some calming music. Exposing them to pleasant sounds reduces stress levels and can help them see the bigger picture.

Conclusion

As we have seen, there are many strategies parents can use to bypass the terrible twos. While you will still experience some bad behavior, that’s to be expected as children come to terms with being people in the world with their own minds and will. Using these strategies while taking care of yourself is one of the best approaches.

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About Lauren

Lauren is the Content & Community Manager for Wellness Force Media. According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.

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