Surviving the Terrible Twos

Yesterday I vented about toddler meltdowns.  Today I'm sharing some tips I found when I googled "How to not sell my 2-year-old to the gypsies."

1.  Respect the nap. 
Okay, this is a tough one for me.  My kid doesn't always nap at the same time each day.  I try to keep him on a schedule during the weekends, but on weekdays when he's at daycare he plays hard with the other kids until he crashes.  Sometimes he'll nap before lunch, sometimes it's after.  On weekends, I try to plan outings or errands around nap time, when I know my kid is less likely to feel irritable.

2. Stick to a schedule with meals.
Another thing I don't do very well.  I have two older boys who are hungry at different times.  We're so busy on weekends that we eat on the go.  One thing I know can help is to  plan outings at times when the kids won’t be hungry. For longer trips, it may help if I pack healthy snacks and drinks so the toddler has something to keep him satisfied until we get home.

3. Talk through triggers ahead of time. 
The experts say that talking to your child about potential triggers before entering a store will help him understand what to expect. For example, letting him know he's not allowed to have a candy bar, but if he behaves at the store he can have a treat afterward.  Honestly, I'd prefer not to take kids the grocery store if I can help it.  My bill is always higher when I do!

4.  Don’t cave in. 
This is an easy one for me.  I'm the meanest mom ever because I don't cave at the checkout line.  If you give in when the kids throw a tantrum about the candy/toy/whatever-they-want, it will only be harder next time. Stand firm, Mom! (Or Dad!)

5. Cure boredom.
Instead of harping on a child who is acting up out of boredom, try to come up with creative, socially acceptable ways to keep them occupied.  We've been doing a lot of coloring lately, and as soon as the weather gets nicer, walks to the library will be part of our routine.

6. Be consistent and calm.
This is another struggle.  My blood pressure rises when my little guy is having an epic meltdown.  When we're at home, I try to ignore the tantrum and walk away.  He eventually stops crying when he's not getting attention.  However, in public I get more nervous.  I stop what I'm doing and remove my kiddo from the situation as quickly as possible. When he throws a fit I try to remember to take a deep breath, respond calmly and don’t give in to demands. 

7.  Redirect, redirect, redirect! 
When my kid misbehaves, it’s tempting to explain why the behavior isn’t OK. But he's two and has no idea what I'm saying.  Nix the lengthy explanation and try to redirect your child either verbally or physically to help him focus on something else.  I find it's easier to offer suggestions on what we can do if he stops crying or acting up.  It usually works!


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