A toddler plays with a hosepipe

A Parenting Guide for the Terrible 2s: How to Survive


The terrible twos are the peak of toddlerhood, when children are fast approaching their third birthday and have so much to learn about the world around them. If you’re a parent of a toddler, then you know how challenging this phase can be. If your little one is in the terrible twos, it means that he or she will most likely test your patience regularly. They may throw unending tantrums whenever they don’t get what they want, whine and cry over small things, or throw a fit when you ask them to do something. It can feel as if your child has turned into a different person in just a few months.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to survive this phase while keeping your sanity intact. Read on for our parenting guide with tips to help you successfully tackle the terrible twos:

Photo by Arwan Sutanto on Unsplash

Establish Clear Boundaries

Toddlers don’t yet know how to control themselves, which means they need a lot of help from their parents. They also have a very limited ability to understand the concept of cause and effect, which means that when you try to set boundaries for them, they don’t always understand why you’re setting those limits. When you have a new toddler in the house, one of the best ways to tackle the terrible twos is to set clear boundaries. You need to tell your child what is and isn’t allowed, what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. You need to be consistent in your rules and apply them to both your child and any other children in your household.

Set Timers and Stay Calm

Toddlers are still learning how to regulate their emotions, how to calm themselves down when they’re upset or angry. When they’re in the terrible twos, they might not know how to calm themselves down as effectively as they did when they were younger. You may find that your child is more excitable and more prone to out-of-control emotions. When your child starts throwing a tantrum, you need to stay calm. You cannot let your emotions get the best of you and escalate the situation by letting your own anger get the better of you. Stay calm, set a timer, and try to divert your child’s attention to something else. If your child is throwing a tantrum in a public place, you should try to divert your child’s attention to something else. You don’t want to leave your child feeling embarrassed or ashamed, so you may want to try to find a quiet spot to calm down with your child.


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Use Positive Reinforcement

Toddlers are learning about the world around them and they’re desperately eager to try new things. They also don’t yet have the self-control to know when they’re doing something that isn’t acceptable. Even little children can understand positive reinforcement and, during the terrible twos, you need to use this to your advantage. When your child does something good, such as following a rule or having a good tantrum-free day, then you need to praise them. When your child is behaving appropriately, you need to praise them. This lets them know that they are doing the right thing, that they are behaving in an acceptable way. Praising your child for doing the right thing will help them associate good behavior with positive reinforcement.


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Find Out Why Your Child Is Behaving Badly

When your child is in the terrible twos, you may find that they are behaving badly. You might notice that your child is throwing tantrums over seemingly small things. You may discover that your child is engaging in negative behavior, like hitting, biting, or pushing other kids. When your child is behaving badly, you need to find out why. You need to figure out what is causing this sudden change in your child’s behavior. You can do this by keeping a journal, writing down a log of your child’s behavior, including when it happens and what your child was doing before it happened. You may notice a pattern in your child’s bad behavior, something that they’re doing before they act out. This can help you identify what may be triggering your child’s bad behavior and help you figure out a solution.

A toddler plays with a hosepipe

Photo by Phil Goodwin on Unsplash

Rule Out Any Physical Cause for the Behavior

When your child is behaving badly, you need to rule out any physical cause for their behavior. Toddlers are still growing and developing, which means they can be prone to an array of physical issues. There are many potential physical issues that could be causing your child’s bad behavior, such as teething, a cold, or an ear infection. If you suspect that your child may be ill, you need to take them to the doctor as soon as possible. You also need to rule out any developmental issues that may be causing your child’s behavioral issues. There are a number of common toddler developmental issues that could be causing your child’s bad behavior. You may want to speak to your doctor if you notice a sudden change in your child’s behavior, especially if the change isn’t explained by your child’s age.

The terrible twos are a challenging period in every parent’s life. However, if you know how to tackle the terrible twos, you can survive this challenging period. You need to establish clear boundaries for your child, set timers and stay calm, use positive reinforcement, find out why your child is behaving badly, and rule out any physical cause for the behavior. If you can do all of this you can successfully tame the terrible twos.

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