Phew, we did it. My daughter recently turned three which means we made it out of the terrible twos alive. There were definitely times when I wasn’t sure we would get through it. Constant tantrums, in the worst of places (midway through crossing the road was one of her favourite spots). The stubbornness. Waking up in a bad mood and staying that way all day. Don’t get me wrong, these things haven’t disappeared overnight, but now that she is three, things are much calmer in our household. Here are my top tips on how to survive the terrible twos…
Remember that it’s just a phase
I know you might roll your eyes at this one. I definitely remember despairing and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. But it WILL get better. If you are a mum of a two year old and you find yourself tearing your hair out and asking “when do kids get easier” then I can tell you that they do get easier and it’s sooner than you think. It’s hard to believe now but the days of tantrum after tantrum will become a hazy memory. It will be better soon, I promise. Remember that.
Take a step back from the situation. They aren’t screaming and yelling because they want to be horrible or to upset you. They are tiny people dealing with big emotions. They are growing so fast and it’s scary for them. Your job is to keep on loving them. They save their worst tantrums for you, their mother, because they feel safe with you. I find remembering this helps me keep my cool. Have a read of this Facebook post whenever you need a reminder:
Make a big fuss over good behaviour
Give them praise constantly for all the little things they do well. Did they let you put their socks on without a fuss? Aren’t you a good girl for letting mummy put your socks on. Are they holding your hand nicely as you cross the road? What a clever boy holding mummy’s hand. Now we got across the road safely. Good job! This will help them realise that they get the most attention when they are behaving as you’d like them to. It also has the added bonus of helping you realise how many good things they do… sometimes it is easier to only notice the ‘bad’ behaviour.
Ignore the irrational tantrums
As long as they are safe, ignore them when they are having a tantrum. You cant rationalise with a toddler… I often found that trying to help just intensified the screaming. I would say to my daughter “I understand that you are angry. When you are ready, come and see me and mummy will give you a big cuddle. I love you”. Then I would go to the next room and sit and wait (and feel guilty, because that’s what us mums do best, right?). Sure enough, within a few minutes it would be over and we would be doing a jigsaw together like nothing ever happened. Of course, this only works at home, which leads me to my next tip on how to survive the terrible twos…
Avoid stressful situations wherever possible
This is definitely one of my top tips when it comes to how to survive the terrible twos. Does your child always have a tantrum in the supermarket? Start doing your shopping online or after your partner comes home. Try and plan necessary trips and appointments at the start of the day, which is when your child has most patience and energy. I love Amazon Prime for next day deliveries which saves stressful outings to the shops.
Prioritise nap times
If your child still naps, make this the main feature of the day and build your day around it. Those 2pm ballet classes will just have to wait until they are older and can cope without a nap. A two year old who has skipped their nap is going to be out of control and you will be tearing your hair out. If they don’t nap any more, and you have a car, plan regular afternoon drives to try and encourage a car nap. I used to schedule a ‘click and collect’ grocery order from Tesco which was a 20 minute drive away for around 3pm – this would have my daughter asleep by the time we got there, and all the way back, leaving me to stand at the living room window and watch her nap whilst enjoying a hot cup of tea. Win win!
Do you have any other tips on how to survive the terrible twos? I would love to hear them.