At the age of two, kids are absolutely adorable. Until they suddenly throw an epic meltdown for the teensiest reason, throwing themselves on the floor at a restaurant, the mall, or wherever you happen to be while you draw stares from everyone around. Welcome to the ‘Terrible Twos.”
This phase is difficult, yes, but it won’t last forever. It happens because your child is still developing mentally. The good news is that this is very normal. The bad news is that it is stressful. But hey, there’s more good news for you. There are ways you can handle it to minimize the chaos from this growth period. Here’s how you can endure the “Terrible Twos.”
1. Make nap time a priority
Often, the tantrum behaviour you’ll get is because your child is tired. Naps are important at this age so do everything you can to avoid going anywhere during nap time. So if your child tends to get sleepy and take a nap around 1pm, do all your errands or plan any outings to begin and end well before nap time.
2. Keep meals on schedule
The other thing that will set a child off faster than the smoke detector when you’re cooking is hunger. Try to stay on schedule with meals. And when you go anywhere, even if your child just ate, make sure you have non-perishable snacks and juice boxes or a sippy cup with you at all times. You will be so glad when your child whines they are hungry and you can stop a freak-out in its tracks because you have a pouch of healthy snacks.
3. Talk about things first
Two-year-olds will be less likely to scream and carry on at the supermarket if you explain beforehand why you’re going. Tell her what you’re going to buy and that you won’t be buying candy. But do let her know that if she’s good and helps you, you’ll give her a treat when you get home. Be sure to praise her good behaviours at the store too, and do so specifically so she’ll want to repeat them.
4. If things turn south, don’t give in
You have to be firm when it comes to kids. If your child starts throwing a tantrum about the candy bar they want, do not give in. If you do, you’ll only be teaching her that negative behaviour can get her what she wants and she will do it every time. Stay calm and consistent and she will get the message that her tactics won’t faze you.
5. Keep them busy
They say “idle hands are the devil’s plaything.” So bring along acceptable items to keep your child entertained. A favourite doll is a good companion to take along in the shopping cart.
It takes time to master tuning down a “Terrible Twos” tantrum. Be patient and calm, and remain consistent. The consistency, just like with bedtime and meal routines, will become a calming beacon to your child and will reduce the tantrums soon enough. Hang in there!