Where has my lovely baby gone and who has replaced him with the devil child?
This is something I have often said out loud or thought quietly to myself quite a lot in the last 8 months or so. The truth is my lovely little boy is still there, he’s just growing up and learning what he can and can’t get away with. Often the results end with a lot of crying, screaming and temper tantrums and it can be very frustrating especially when you’re out in public.
I remember the early stages of terrible twos and thinking it can’t get much worse surely? Oh how wrong was I! 2 year old Fletcher has been very challenging and testing at times, so much so that I have had moments where I’ve cried myself and thought I can’t do this anymore and I’ve gave in to his behaviour rather than deal with it. It pushes you that much that you just give in to make the screaming and tantrums stop.
So how do you get through terrible twos?
This is a stage that all toddlers will go through, unfortunately there is no escaping it so the best thing you can do is just prepare yourself and decide how you are going to deal with the behaviour and tantrums. I’m no expert at all but terrible twos have taught me a few things.
I think one of the most important things is to not give in. This is something I have done at times and I’ve learned that it won’t help at all and it will just make things harder next time. Giving in is just showing them they can get away with their behaviour and they will keep on doing it and you’ll just end up going round in circles.
Be consistent with how you deal with the tantrums and how you discipline, whether that involves the famous naughty chair or step or completely removing your child from the situation quietly and calmly. We have recently started doing “time out” for bad behaviour. We remove Fletcher and take him into the hallway where there are no toys or distractions and tell him for example, we don’t push Eden. We leave him there to calm down and then ask him apologise to her. As for tantrums I try my hardest to ignore them and just wait for them to pass to show him that he won’t get my attention by acting like that. How you deal with the behaviour is totally up to you but as long as it works for you that’s all that matters.
Staying calm and having patience will also help but can be quite difficult at times. This is something that I have to remind my other half quite a lot, his patience is not the best. He’s often said to me after he’s dealt with a tantrum or bad behaviour that staying calm is much better than losing your patience and shouting. Fletcher much prefers to listen if he’s being spoken to calmly (most of the time!).
Create a distraction. If you can sense boredom and a tantrum coming use something else to distract them. For us this happens mostly at tidy up time. Major tantrums if I ask him to help me tidy up the mega bloks. So I distract him and ask him to find me a red one or a blue one etc… that usually does the trick because instead of focusing on the boring task of tidying up he’s focusing on looking for colours instead.
Make plans around your usual routine. If your 2 year old has a set nap time then let him/her sleep! There’s nothing worse than a miserable, grumpy, naughty 2 year old. I can always tell when Fletcher is tired because he starts doing things he knows he shouldn’t be doing on purpose. The same for mealtimes too really, a hungry 2 year old is just as bad as a tired one.
And on those really really bad days, grab yourself a bottle of wine and a huge bar of chocolate and lock yourself in the bathroom! Just kidding. Just remind yourself that you can do this, you are super-mummy!!