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Terrible Two’s How To’s

I believe it was Jerry Seinfeld who once said, “A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”  Wise words, Mr. Seinfeld, wise words.

Though nicknamed the terrible two’s, the toddler stage includes children from 1 to 3 years old. It’s a difficult phase, typically filled with temper tantrums and defiance.  Yes, trying times may be ahead, but here are 10 how to’s in dealing with the terrible two’s:

  1. Be consistent.  Arguably the most important rule of parenting, consistency is everything.  Whether you’re a single parent or working as a couple, you have to display consistency.  In the same sense, whether you have one or seven children (God bless you), you have to display consistency with each of them.  Though every situation is unique, there should be agreed upon consequences set in place for bad behavior, as well as rewards for good behavior.  Talk now to eliminate problems later!
  2. Enforce the rules.  In line with being consistent, when a rule is broken or your toddler is acting up, enforce the appropriate consequence.  Don’t overdo it, and don’t ignore it either because the time isn’t ideal.  Right then and there you need to explain to them why their behavior is unacceptable, what the consequence will be, and how they should act in the future.  Setting expectations is key.
  3. Isolate.  In regards to enforcing the rules, there will be times when you are out in public and it may not be the best time to approach the matter.  If you can, remove them from public, even a restroom stall will do.  It will eliminate distractions and allow you to talk to them one-on-one.
  4. Adore them.  Never ever underestimate the power of praise.  Everyone wants a gold sticker, everyone wants a thumbs up, and everyone wants to be loved.  When their behavior is what you wish it would be all the time, lay on the praise, and thick.
  5. Lead by example.  The adage “monkey see monkey do” is relevant for a reason.  Display the types of behavior you expect from your kids.
  6. Don’t give in.  Take a breath.  Think before speaking.  And most importantly, don’t admit defeat because you don’t want to deal with their tantrum at the moment.  Taking time to explain your expectations of them now will eliminate senselessly repeating yourself down the road.
  7. Stay calm.  For such a cute exterior, they can truly find ways to drive you nuts.  Don’t lose control of your emotions, even if you do feel like joining them in crying.  Take a step away and examine how they might be feeling.  Try not to take it personally and keep calm.  Guess who will remain hysterical if you join them?
  8. Get on their level.  It may seem small, but bending down to be on their level makes a huge difference.  It encourages eye contact and allows them to feel talked to versus talked down to.  How you approach them is a large factor in how they will react.
  9. Feed them well.   Diet affects our moods, as well as our well-being, so before handing them that cookie to keep them quiet while mommy’s/daddy’s talking , you may want to think twice.  Not only does their growth depend on a diet rich in nutrients, it also plays a role in their behavior.   You can’t blame them for that fiasco at the grocery store if they sucked down a sugar-filled drink right before heading in.  Having trouble getting them to eat healthy?  Check out our tips on how to deal with picky eaters.
  10. Stick to a routine.  There are not many people in this world who enjoy change.  It’s scary and particularly for a toddler, can be a  pretty sweet recipe for disaster in the temper tantrum department.  Create a routine and abide by it closely.  Children generally thrive on structure and will appreciate the rigidity.

Have a strategy that works/worked wonders?  Need advice?  Share your tips/questions below!


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