It’s often jokingly referred to as the “Terrible Twos”, easily forgotten at times of cherubic cuteness, but immediately called to mind when you find yourself facing just that – the horrific screaming face of your two-year-old.
Here are 5 great tips for managing your two-year-old tot.
1. Understand his/her feelings
The two-year-old child is just learning about feelings – and they tend to wear their hearts on their little sleeves at this age. When faced with crocodile tears, screaming fits, or stamping feet, take the time to let your child know that expressing him or herself is healthy. Don’t rush into pacifying your child at the first sign of the sniffles. Instead, give the child space for expression, and then discuss it afterwards.
2. Reward and praise
Kids learn best when they’re given positive nudges. Reward good behavior and let them know that they have earned their reward. Treats such as weekend trips to the zoo or beach are healthier options than candy.
Similarly, don’t give any attention to tantrums and other defiant behavior. Lots of parents create “Star charts” for their children, rewarding positive actions with sticker stars on a chart under their names. This could be great motivation for your two-year-old.
3. Learn through stories
Use story-time for character building – discuss the characters, both good and bad, and ask your child what they would have done if they were in their shoes. Praise the good guys, and denounce baddies.
4. Exercise through creative play
Too much TV time isn’t good in a child’s formative years. Try to promote exercise for little limbs through creative play. Dress-up parties, playing pretend, or acting out your favorite scenes from bedtime stories are all fair game! Better yet, get them involved in everyday tasks like gardening or sorting your recycling – a great opportunity to educate your growing child.
5. Create mutual trust
Trust and respect for each other should be in place in a child’s first tender years. Create an environment of love and caring by giving hugs and sharing your emotions. Explain why you might get angry at bad behavior, expect apologies for acting up, dispense forgiveness liberally, and you’ll be grooming a lovely child!
Take that terrible twos!