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.
Your child is starting to walk, talk, have opinions, learn about emotions, and understand how to share and take turns. These are full of intellectual and physical growth. But because their verbal, physical, and emotional skills aren't all that well developed, your child can become easily frustrated when they fail to communicate or perform a task.
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. Stay calm, your child will feed off your stress, the calmer you are, the faster they will be too.
2. Reward and Praise
Kids learn best when they’re given positive nudges. Reward good behaviour 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 behaviour. Ignore behaviour you want to discourage. If their emotions have gotten the best of them, talking or trying other discipline measures may not work in that moment. Make sure they are safe, but let the tantrum finish by themselves. When they are calm, give them a hug and go on with the day, we promise they are more exhausted with themselves than you.
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. Connect Them With Other Children
Play dates provide children with opportunities to practice important social and emotional skills that they can't always get from home. Children will learn to share, take turns, and cooperate as they interact with eachother. They are also a great place for children to practice manners and how to communicate with one another. Keep play dates relatively short so children do not get overtired. Introduce your child to different age levels of children, as they will be able to teach each other things you can't. Even just being in the same room or area with another child but not actually interacting together will give your child vital skills and observations. Encourage your child to wave and smile at other families on walks to ensure a social growing child.
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 favourite scenes from bedtime stories are all fair game! You have to think like a child to understand your child sometimes, start drawing on a piece of paper and invite them to join, this will exercise and calm their mind. You could also get them involved in everyday tasks like gardening or sorting your recycling – a great opportunity to educate your growing child while giving them an activity to consume their time with.
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 behaviour, expect apologies for acting up, dispense forgiveness liberally, and you’ll be grooming a lovely child!
Take that terrible twos!
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