A parent’s essential guide to surviving the Terrible Twos
Fact-checked by MFine | Last Updated : January 30th, 2020
Learning how to express themselves can be quite hard for your toddler. Here are some of the best ways parents can deal with the Terrible Twos!
The terrible twos are the transitional period from a baby to a kid, rather than just the second year of your child’s life. It is essentially the toddler years – from 18 months to 4 years – when your child goes through a growth spurt, both physically and mentally. The terrible twos are the most crucial period of your child’s development. This is the period when your child is first learning how to interpret and channel their emotions. Teaching them how to express their emotions in a healthy manner is one of the most essential life skills that parents need to teach their kids. Here's how you can deal with the terrible twos and support your child during this period.
What is so terrible about the twos?When a toddler throws a tantrum or a fit, it is mainly because they are unable to express themselves. By the time your child is two, they are big enough to know what needs to be done but too small to get things done. This often results in frustration and leads to toddler tantrums or outbursts, and hence the term “the terrible twos”. However, it is important for you to remember that this is a phase and your child will get more disciplined and well-mannered around the age of 4 – when they have better motor and language skills. While it is taxing for you to deal with toddler tantrums, you need to keep in mind that it is more taxing for them. Feeling overwhelmed and not being able to express it does take a toll on you, doesn’t it?
What to do when things go public?A public tantrum is probably the most “terrible” part of the “twos”. We’ve all experienced it – whether it is an embarrassing walk down the toy aisle or a cranky outburst at a family gathering. When things do go public, remind yourself that you are not alone. Most parents go through this period with their children and they understand your plight. Take your toddler away to a quiet place and hug it out instead of yelling back. You can always start a discussion about this with them at home when the mood is lighter and the surrounding is more comfortable.
Easy steps to make the terrible twos tolerableThough there is no one-stop solution for a smooth transition from baby to kid, the toddler years can be easy on both you and your child with the following guidelines.
1. Anticipate the outburstA cranky child is usually hungry, bored, tired or sleepy. As a parent, it is best for you to anticipate the outburst based on their past behavioural patterns. Be prepared on what to expect and have a solution handy – whether it is taking a walk and talking it out or distracting them with a treat.
2. Make sure they are well-restedDo not underestimate the power of nap time. A well-rested child is less irritable, keeping toddler tantrums at bay. If you have a social gathering coming up, make sure your child has taken a good nap for a happy and fresh mindset. Do not hesitate to wake them up earlier than usual in the morning to ensure they get a good dose of sleep before you step out.
3. Let them be fullToddlers are usually not too big on eating but a hungry child can get fussy. Make sure they are full at all times because they will not want to take a break from playtime to sit down and eat – leading to yet another tantrum. It is a good idea to always carry a snack especially in the form of finger foods so that they have something to munch on.
4. Speak to themNo matter how absurd it sounds, toddlers understand your language – both verbal and non-verbal. It is important to communicate with your child and let them know how you feel about their behaviour. Help them find an outlet for their frustration. Remember, your child needs to deal with his/her emotions from early on in their life to grow into strong individuals.
5. Distract themThis is the oldest trick in the book. The best way to put an end to toddler tantrums is to distract your kid. Take full advantage of their inquisitive minds by either showing them something completely new in the form of a toy, a book or simply just a weird noise. However, a distraction is just a quick fix. You can utilize these few seconds of silence to take them to a quieter place or offer them nutritious finger foods of their choice.
6. Practice what you preachYou need to be what you want your child to become. Small things go a long way in parenting like speaking in a low tone and using magic words like “please” and “thank you”. Even if your child does get into an outburst – which is completely normal – the way you deal with it plays a huge role in whether or not such an outburst happens again. The terrible twos are not terrible – it is just a phase in your child’s development. This is when you can create the base for a strong parent-child relationship. However, every good parent needs a great pediatrician for timely medical help. Consult the best doctors at mfine and ensure your family is hale and healthy at all times.
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