Our youngest daughter Arya just turned two and it’s like someone has flipped a switch. Gone is our sweet baby and in her place is a tiny dictator who demands and expects every command to be obeyed.
We have gone through this terrible twos phase once before with our older daughter. I remember it being hard, but nothing like this. Maybe it’s just different personalities, but so far, number two seems to be outdoing her sister in this department.
The stand-offs we have in our house are almost comical these days. Who would have ever thought that a two-year-old could be capable of ruling the roost?
5 Tips for dealing with your two-nager:
- One on one playtime - This can go a long way for children of any age. In particular, we have found with a younger sibling who is often trying to ‘keep up’, it acts as a reset button on their (and your) mood.
- Distraction - just getting out for some fresh air, goes a long way when your toddler is frustrated. A change of scenery, even if it’s as simple as going out to the back garden (or in our case the balcony) can do wonders.
- Choosing Your Battles - as a general rule in parenting, I like to stick to what I say. I don’t concede. If I say that we are doing something in 5 minutes, then that’s what’s going to happen. However, when dealing with a toddler, it’s sometimes necessary to bend that a little. Know what battles are worth fighting for - because you aren’t going to win them all.
- Staying calm - if it’s at all possible to tag out with another responsible adult in the home when you are at breaking point, it can be really helpful. Removing yourself from the situation before you lose your temper can be one way of coping. I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s a tactic that often lowers the levels of irritation and frustration in our house. It’s hard to be annoyed when a classical piano or soft jazz is serenading you.
- Putting yourself in their shoes - trying to understand why they are so frustrated can really help alter your perspective. For example, imagine if a person were to walk into the room and demand that you change your clothes immediately. It can be hard for a toddler who is just learning about independence to have their daily activities dedicated to them. If you can allow them to choose simple things for themselves, that can give a little bit of control back to them.
Sometimes all the coping skills in the world won’t make a blind bit of difference. Toddlers can be so unreasonable it makes you scream.
The other day Arya wanted to dump an entire bottle of expensive bubble bath into the tub. At first, I said absolutely no way. But then I figured this was a place where I could make a small concession. I ‘picked my battle’ and I allowed her to do it. She had a great 10 minutes of splashing around. I thought that was the end of that... I was wrong. She then spotted another tub of the same bubble bath and screamed to empty that one too. That’s where I had to draw the line.
At the best of times, raising toddlers is a challenging period. But in a lockdown with virtually no other outlets, it’s damn near impossible at times. So go easy on yourself and just take it one day at a time. It does get better. (So I’m told!)