The Terrible Twos is a time of extreme highs and lows as your little experiences this world for the first time!
As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want to make sure that they are learning, developing, and growing in a safe and nurturing environment. However, when the “terrible twos” hits, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. Unpredictable tantrums, picky eating habits and defiant behavior can make even the most seasoned parents feel at wit’s end. But don’t worry – we are here to help with the ultimate parenting hack guide for toddlers.
Terrible Twos – What are they?
The Terrible twos can be an especially trying time for parents. It is important to understand what’s going on with your toddler during this time. Terrible twos are characterized by toddlers wanting more independence and expressing themselves. They can get easily frustrated if they don’t get their way, leading to tantrums and outbursts.
Every day brings new experiences and emotions for toddlers. However, sometimes these emotions can be overwhelming for our little ones. As they are learning to navigate the world and their own feelings, it can be helpful for us as caregivers to recognize when they need help regulating these emotions. It can be easy to resort to punishment or simply ignoring a child’s behavior. But often times what they really need is a little bit of guidance and support. By helping our toddlers learn how to manage their feelings, we can set them up for a lifetime of healthy emotional regulation.
What are some emotional regulation examples for your toddler?
An Empowering Environment
The environment your toddler spends time in can play a huge role in their emotional regulation. A safe space with baby gates and cabinet locks is a simple way to start. This creates areas of the house or community where your child can freely run around, make noise, and be energetic without worry. But it’s not just about safety, it’s also about encouraging independence. As parents, we often want to step in and do everything for our children, but allowing them to try new tasks and learn through struggle can help build their confidence and self-esteem. Giving your child opportunities to help around the house or try something new on their own can be a great way to foster independence and growth. With some simple changes, you can create a safe and empowering environment for your child to thrive in.
Relating to your toddler on an emotional level can be powerful. Being silly is not just for kids, it’s for everyone! By channeling your inner-child, you can bring some much-needed joy, laughter, and silliness into your day. One way to do this is by chasing them around the room behaving like a loopy T-rex with tiny hands. But being silly isn’t just about having a good time; it can also be a great way to model alternative ways of expressing thoughts and feelings. For example, if your child is having a hard time verbalizing that her shoe is too tight or she needs one more hug, you can show her that there are alternative ways to communicate by being playful and using humor. So why not look for ways to turn boring or mundane tasks into a game and inject some laughter into your day? Your inner-child will thank you!
Watching toddlers explore and learn is a fascinating experience. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to discipline them for the messes they create, but taking a step back and acknowledging what happened can be much more effective. Responses such as, “Wow, you emptied the bag when you tipped it over!” or “You pulled all of the books off the shelf!” help toddlers understand cause and effect while still allowing them to explore their environment. This way their innocently intended actions are easily rectified and it doesn’t turn into World War 3.
As parents, it’s important to allow space for our toddlers emotions, even if we don’t always understand them. For instance, we may not care what colour cup they use. But to a toddler, it’s one of their first encounters with disappointment and so they’ll respond accordingly. Like it’s the end of the world, because to them they don’t have the experience or knowledge to know they’ll survive past this disappointment. By putting ourselves in their shoes and acknowledging their feelings, we let them know they are heard and validated.
Instead of using the word “no” as a go-to response, we can find alternative solutions. Redirection is a great way to get them to change their activity instead of flat out stopping the one they’re doing – which would have left them at a dead end and more likely to react negatively. Redirecting their attention to do another activity like when they want to play in the kitchen while you’re cooking, try redirecting them to see how fun it would be to play in the living room with their toys.
Setting conditions also helps to keep their emotions regulated. For instance, when it’s time to go home from the park instead of suddenly telling them it’s time to leave, you can let them know they can have one last play and then it’s time to leave. This gives them a heads up and let’s them know there are conditions that are being adhered to in this situation by both them and you. This approach not only helps to avoid power struggles but also fosters a positive relationship. So the next time a situation arises, let’s try to approach it with a nice and helpful tone of voice, keeping in mind our child’s perspective.
As parents, we know how important toddler meals are for the physical and mental development of our little ones. Introducing healthy and nutritious meals from an early age sets them up for a lifetime of good eating habits. However, it can be difficult to get toddlers to eat their meals. One way to make mealtimes more appealing is to make them visually interesting. Using different shaped cutters to create fun shapes with the food is a great way to capture their attention. Another great tip is to involve your toddler in meal prep. Kids love to help out in the kitchen, and it’s a fun way for them to learn about food. And if your little one is a picky eater, don’t worry. There are plenty of yummy yet simple toddler foods that are sure to be a hit. By serving them their favorites and slowly introducing new foods, you can help your toddler learn to love a variety of healthy foods.
As a parent, you’re probably familiar with the ever-changing appetites of toddlers! Some days, they seem to eat everything in sight, while other days they barely touch their food. It can be tough to figure out just how much they need to be eating. Plus what exactly they should be eating. Luckily, there are some suggested daily serves that can help guide you. Aim for 1 serve of fruit, 2½ serves of vegies, 1½ serves of dairy, 4 serves of grains, and 1 serve of lean meats, eggs, nut or seed pastes (like peanut butter, almond butter or tahini), or legumes. While this may not be the perfect formula for every child, it’s a good starting point to ensure they’re getting a well-rounded diet. And remember – every day is different, so don’t fret if they don’t finish everything on their plate!
Every parent wants their toddler thriving and developing properly. A great way to assist in their growth and development is through sensory play. Sensory play stimulates different senses such as touch, smell, and sight while also developing their fine motor skills. One way to incorporate sensory play is by creating sensory bins filled with rice, pasta, or water beads. This type of play allows them to use their senses to investigate and learn, all while having fun. Another great activity for toddlers is messy play with paint, clay, or play-dough. Although it may seem like your worst nightmare with the potential for a big mess, this type of play encourages your child’s creativity and imagination. Give it a try and watch as your little one grows and flourishes!
We all want the best for our little ones, and that means providing them with the right toys that aid in their development. Toddler toys that promote their cognitive abilities, hand-eye coordination, and reasoning skills can have a significant impact on their growth. Let’s not get carried away with expensive toys, as every parent can attest to the experience of having an amazing toy for a child, yet they end up playing with the box. So in saying this a great place to start is with simple puzzles, shape sorters, and blocks. These toys not only provide endless entertainment but offer opportunities for your child to learn and grow. Additionally, soft toys can be a great and inexpensive comfort to your toddler, providing them a sense of security and warmth that can aid in their overall development. By investing in the right toys for your child, you’re setting them up for success and growth in a fun and engaging way.
What comes after the toddler age? Your little one enters the preschool age, which is an exciting time as they start making more sense of the world around them. They are fascinated with learning new things and are eager to explore the world around them. Effective communication, boundary setting, and age-appropriate activities and learning experiences are all important facets in preparing your child for the next stage of development.
Parenting a toddler can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. The key is to approach it with patience, empathy, and a sense of humor. With the right mindset and approach, you can help your little one navigate through the terrible twos. This sets them up for success in life. Remember, toddlers are full of questions and wonder. There is much to learn and discover in the world around them. Keep the parenting hacks in mind and enjoy this exciting stage of growth and development with your little one.