family & parenting

How to Combat the Terrible Twos — Parenting a Toddler

By Rebecca Wicks

Sometimes it feels as if you are at war when you have a two-year-old. Mood swings, crazy behavior and general misbehavior seem to be hallmarks of the “terrible twos” which incidently begin way before they turn two and last well beyond the second year of their life. Here three simple tips on how to help combat your little one’s tantrums, demands and more.

1. Give Them a Choice — But Not Too Many.
Giving your toddler a choice when it comes to everything from food to what they want to wear will oftentimes help ease some friction between you and your little one. Just be sure not to give them too many choices as this will overwhelm them and slow down your process even more. For example, put out two sets of pajamas out on her bed at night and let her chose which she’s like to wear, in the morning give her a choice of cereal or ham and eggs.

2. Curtail Tantrums with “Alone Time”
We have all had those mornings where your toddler whines about — oh, I don’t know, fill in the blank — and won’t stop. At the same time there are days when your toddler cries inconsolably because of a decision you have made, e.g., you have told her that we are not going to paint right now. Different than a timeout “alone time” is just that, time to cool down. When she begins to whine or cry and no words can console her, tell her “go to your room and cry/whine and come out when you are done.” Make sure that she understands this is not a punishment and she can come out whenever she wants — when she’s done.

3. Establish Some Rituals
From struggling to get ready in the morning on time to bedtime battles — some daily activities can end up feeling exhausting. Toddlers crave a repetitive routine, so create a routine around whatever activity you’re struggling with and stick to it the best you can. For example, at bedtime — bath time, brush teeth, story time, a song and then sleep. Don’t get too elaborate, keep it simple but keep to it — toddlers like to be able to expect what will come next.