So #TheWorm is 2 years and 10 months old, and for the most part has been an angel. However since the start of 2017 he has gone through a Harry Enfield Kevin like change! He has developed selective hearing and defiance. So far it has been difficult, particularly when I’m at work and my wife has had to cope with him and our 7 months old.
We have found these steps do make coping with this developmental stage a little more stress free. Please look upon this post as suggestions rather than a cure for ‘The Terrible Twos’. It may work and may not work but when you are finding grey hairs on a daily basis anything is worth a try!
I have genuinely had it said to me that ‘There is no such thing as the terrible twos, just bad parenting!’ Let me assure you, there most definitely is! According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, ‘the terrible twos are a normal stage in a toddler’s development, characterized by mood changes, temper tantrums and use of the word “no.” The terrible twos typically occur when toddlers begin to struggle between their reliance on adults and their desire for independence’ This in mind once you accept that it is a stage within every child’s development, you can focus on how is best to address this defiant behaviour.
When I say punishment, by this I do not mean chastisement. Whilst we are not against legal chastisement and believe it has a place (this is a whole different blog post for another day). Like I mentioned this is a developmental stage there for I do not believe in this instance it is appropriate.The most effective way we find is if the behaviour is an act of defiance and something he knows is wrong, we will sit him in the corner of a room with a sand timer (Duration is 1 minute for every year, so at the moment we are on 2 minutes. a selection of sand timers can be found on Ebay) so that he can calm down. He knows that he is not to move until all the sand has gone. Whilst he is waiting we encourage him to think about what he has done and who he needs to say sorry too. This works 9 times out of 10!
We take a balanced approach, so we do attempt to award good behavior. We introduced a reward chart where #TheWorm can earn stickers, if he has earn’t 10 stars by Sunday we get him a treat. The treat doesn’t have to be anything expensive. In the past treats have been a magazine of his choice or my personal favorite is a trip to the pound shop where he can choose ANY toy he likes!
This may sound obvious but cannot be underestimated. Kids are like sponges and they need input. The phrase ‘The Devil makes work for idol thumbs’ is most defiantly true of 2 year olds! They want to be the center of attention, and whilst this is not always possible, acknowledging them through communication is key.
When we use ‘the naughty corner’ and sand timer we talk to him and make sure he knows why he is there, what he has done and why it is naughty. This needs to be made clear because otherwise he would become confused and feel he is getting mixed messages
As mentioned we have a 7 month old as well. We try to keep #WormBoy busy when he is not playing by getting him to help with caring for #CaptainCurly. Anything from getting equipment like baby wipes to more recently feeding his brother!
This feeds back to the acceptance. Understand that he is 2. There is no malice in the behaviour and it is purely them exploring there own boundaries as well as yours. Again it is a stage in every childs development and how we deal with it is best on our own understanding.
8) Gradual Change
When we decided to move #WormBoy from his Cotbed to a toddler bed is a good example of how important gradual change is. Living in a 2 bed roomed house, we knew when my wife became pregnant that #WormBoy would have to share his room, so we took him out of his cot into a bed on the other side of the room. He cried the whole night long and hardly had any sleep. The next night he was back in his cot. On hindsight we realized this was too much for him to cope with at once so we broke it down:
- Take off one side of cot bed
- Take off the second side of the cot bed
- Swap cot bed with bed
This was a very gradual change over a few months, fast forward to now. We have recently swapped the beds back so #WormBoy is sleeping on the other side of the room in the bed. Tonight we have also put #CaptainCurly in the same room so mission accomplished (fingers crossed)
9) Keep the upper hand
Again this may sound obvious but you are the parent! You have spent considerably more time on this planet than them. If I have asked Oliver to do something I will ensure he does it. An example of this is after we have eaten dinner at the table we insist he asks ‘can I get down now please’. Sometimes he finishes and is in the other room as soon as he has taken his last mouth full. When this happens, we will bring him all the way back and make him say it.
10) alcohol! adult time
Ok, disclaimer I’m not encouraging you to be an alcoholic! But make the most of the time at the end of the day when they go to bed. Have a drink if that is what relaxes you. Just try and set a little time aside for you and your partner.
Like I said these ideas or not ‘Life Hacks’ but hopefully our personal experience will go some way to helping fellow parents deal with this difficult developmental milestone! Please share anything missed…