There is so much beauty and joy in motherhood, countless reasons to smile each and every day. At every phase of motherhood though, there also comes some deep breaths and silent screams as you tackle the new obstacles and challenges. With your infant, it was sleep regressions and teething, with your toddler it is the terrible twos.
Knowledge is power, and I find that sometimes I have a little more patience if I can understand why a certain behavior is happening. So, why is your toddler throwing a tantrum at nearly everything lately? Well, because they are growing and that is what they are supposed to do.
- Your little one is learning. There is so much in this big world for them to take in, and that can be overwhelming
- Your little one wants to be independent and that is hard work! It is frustrating being two.
- You set boundaries and your little one pushes them. It is how it goes, and it is frustrating for you.
- There are big emotions happening and they have no idea what to do with them all
Albeit, just because you understand why, it doesn’t necessarily make the terrible twos season of life any easier. It is overwhelming as a mom, when you pick out the wrong socks, cut up an apple the wrong way, or put water in the blue cup when you should have known your little one wanted the green cup. As with all parts of parenthood, this is a phase which will eventually subside. Some days are harder than others, but at the end of the day, ‘this too shall pass’ and your joyful, curious, sweet little one will be back. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help yourself survive those ‘terrible twos.’
Keep A Consistent Schedule or Routine
If your toddler knows what to expect throughout the day, this might help keep the meltdowns to a minimum. Continue to offer snacks and meals around the same time each day, this will also help prevent your little one from getting too hungry, which could also cause an outburst.
In addition to consistency with meals and overall routine, it is important to do the same with naps and sleep. If you can keep your little one well rested, this may reduce unwanted behaviors. While I do believe there is value in teaching your little ones how inconsistent life can be, and how important it is to be flexible – when it comes to surviving these toddler years, put priority on your toddler’s sleep, for both your sanity and theirs!
Stay Busy and Get Outside
Toddlers aren’t great at telling you how they feel, so if they start to feel bored with the toys and activities you have at home, their unwanted behaviors may start to escalate. To help curb these behaviors, keep your toddler busy. Introduce new activities or new ways to play with the same toys you already have. Also take advantage of any outdoor space you have (or go to a playground!). There is something about the fresh air, the shining sun and the birds singing that puts everyone in a better mood.
The extra time outside will also (hopefully) tire out your toddler! You may even notice better naps and nighttime sleep when your little one is filled with fresh air and exhausted from all of the outdoor activity.
Communicate Feelings and Triggers
One of the main culprits in why your toddler is going through this phase to begin with, is their inability to communicate effectively and having big feelings that they cannot control. To help navigate this, talk with your toddler about feelings. Read books that cover a variety of topics and emotions for your little one to see characters going through something similar. Communicate any triggers, like if there is a change in plans, or if something unexpected popped up – these can also caution heightened anxieties or emotions for your little ones.
Keep Your Personal Feelings & Emotions In Check
Your little one looks to you often, especially when it comes to emotions and how you are reacting to a situation. Do your best to show a calm and peaceful demeanor, whether that be when plans change or when your toddler is throwing a tantrum. Take a deep breath, step away, or totally redirect for both you and your little one if necessary. You are a role model to that little one. You know how to handle these big emotions, your little one does not yet, show them how it is done.
Use Social Media
Whether it is your preferred way to seek help or not, social media can be so powerful. There are blogs, podcasts, books, Facebook groups or Instagram pages all about helping you navigate motherhood, and specifically these toddler years. There are so many accounts out there, all of which can be so helpful, but I have highlighted a few that I find specifically great:
As with any phase of parenthood, these ‘terrible two’ days will not last forever. In fact, they will undoubtedly move pretty quickly. Change your focus from terrible twos to terrific twos and you may even find you enjoy these days –
Enjoy the infectious toddler giggles, it seems the same joke consistently lands with this crowd!
Soak up the snuggles before bed as you read books together, right now your little one fits so perfectly in your arms
Proudly observe as your toddler builds a tower, feeds their baby dolls, or cooks up something in their play kitchen, these toys won’t overwhelm your house forever
Experience the world through your child’s eyes and find the simple joys all around you
Your little one is rapidly growing and learning. Be proud of who they are, because no matter how many tantrums you have witnessed today, your toddler is absolutely terrific. They are truly one of a kind and here to change the world.