The “terrible twos” is a frustrating age for many parents and toddlers. But it doesn’t just click when the child turns two years old. Did you know that Terrible Twos can actually begin anywhere from 18 to 30 months old?
This is a normal developmental phase that often comes with tantrums and outbursts. The good news is that you will get through it. Here’s a look at what to expect and how to handle your toddler during this phase of life.
The terrible twos are terrible because this is a stage full of physical and intellectual growth. During this time, your child is starting to do so many things. From walking and talking to forming opinions and learning how to express themselves, your child is becoming their own little person. It’s naturally hard for them to express themselves.
They want to have their own adventures without your help, but you want to keep them safe. This doesn’t always work well together in their mind. Your toddler may also become frustrated when they cannot communicate exactly what they want with you.
It’s Only Natural
There are some things you should expect during this stage of your child’s life. You may think it’s unnatural for some of these things to happen, but it’s all part of the phase. These are some things that won’t surprise any doctor.
They will usually have tantrums. They might cry, scream, and even get physical. You may think there is something wrong with the child, but it’s totally natural to have a five-minute tantrum. That five-minute tantrum may get longer and louder as the child insists they get what they want.
Your happy toddler may suddenly seem angry and mad. It’s natural for children to have sudden mood swings. They’re simply frustrated because they want to do things that aren’t possible. They may be happy playing then decide they want some candy.
If you don’t give them this candy, they may start crying and seem miserable. They aren’t sick, and there is nothing wrong with them. They’re just trying to flex their emotional muscles.
The good news is that your child is learning and growing. The bad news is that it will only be natural that your child wants to test their new limits. They’re learning new abilities each day.
They want to run across the street to the other side. They want to put on their own clothes. They want to climb up the biggest thing at the playground. The problem is that they cannot do these things without your help. They don’t understand that it isn’t safe to do all of these things yet.
One of the best tips to tame your child is to tame yourself. When your child starts screaming and crying, remain calm. The child is just trying to get a response from you. You might want to reprimand them or throw your hands up in confusion. Take control of your emotions. Show the child that you’re in control, and they cannot always get their way.
It sounds so silly, but you can change the attention of a toddler easily. Show them an object away from what’s going on. Talk to them about a book or a stuffed animal. Ask them to help you with something. By doing so, you’re taking attention away from their frustrations. If you cannot distract them, try to ignore this behavior. They’ll realize that this form of behavior won’t get the response they want. Yes, it is difficult at times to ignore a screaming child. If you hold steady, they’ll figure out that you’re not backing down.
Keep Regular Schedules
It’s important to keep children on a schedule. Regular meals and sleep schedules will help their behavior. When a child is hungry or tired, they often act out. You can usually tell if your child is feeling a little off. Help them get used to their schedule to get them back on track and avoid tantrums.
This behavior is confusing for many parents, but for children, it can be even worse. The toddler wants something and thinks they should get it. They don’t understand that you’re just keeping them safe and helping them with healthy development.
To them, conflict feels dangerous. They depend on you and love you. It’s essential to help them feel safe even when you’re reprimanding them. Talk to them, so they understand why they cannot get their way all the time. They may not understand you fully, but they will understand that you still love them while keeping them in line.
When Does It Ever End
Many parents are left wondering if their children will be like this forever. It all depends on the child. Some children have fewer tantrums than others as they develop more advanced communication skills. As a result, they can usually express themselves a little more clearly. Sometimes age three is worst than age two. By the time a child turns four, they are usually better able to express themselves. This cuts down on their frustration levels.
Toddlers are little people working hard to get “big.” They go through different developmental stages quite quickly. It’s often hard for them to understand this. As long as you show them love and don’t give in to their tantrums, you will get through the “terrible twos” together.