The Terrible Twos: How to Tackle Your Toddler’s Tricky Behaviour

How to spot the signs of the terrible twos and tips for tackling your toddler’s tricky behaviour.

Ask any parent with older children and they’ll tell your their favourite stage of their babies growing up is when they can start to communicate clearly. There are endless laughs and memories made when your little ones start to show their individual personalities. However, in order to get to that stage, you’re going to need to pass a tricky transitional phase: the Terrible Twos.

For many mums and dads dealing with the terrible twos, tears and tantrums are part and parcel of everyday life. We caught up with potty training guru and children’s behavioural expert Amanda Jenner to talk us through the signs and how to overcome this difficult stage.

signs-of-terrible-twos
Credit: Caleb Woods via Unsplash

Signs of your toddler is going through the Terrible Two and how to overcome them

They love the word NO!

They will say this to almost everything which is very common, it could be from offering them a drink, or saying no to their food. They might not always understand that they are saying no to everything so a great tip of mine is to use different sentences of encouragement i.e. would you like some yummy food, or it will make mummy and daddy very happy.

Public Screaming & Tantrums

Little ones on the floor in the supermarket or even at home kicking and screaming, pick them up calmly, find a quiet spot away from everyone and put your arms around them to try and calm them down and speak gently to them. Use phrases like, why are you crying what is the matter? but keeping it all very calm.

Biting and Kicking

This usually starts at this age, it can be biting a sibling, biting someone at nursery or even mummy or daddy. Get down to their level and look them straight in the eye and say no we don’t bite or kick. Keep it firm but simple. If they continue Sit them on the sofa with the TV off and no toys for 10 minutes as this normally works as they do not like to miss out.

Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes, answers one reader’s question about her toddler who’s going through the terrible twos

Q.) My two year old is certainly going through the terrible twos at the moment and I just wondered if there is any advice you could give me with regards on how to handle his temper tantrums? I’ve tried the naughty step and that doesn’t seem to work when I do it. When my husband does it, it works a treat, but not with me. He knows what he’s doing wrong but is constantly pushing his boundaries.

A) Oh tantrums! They all go through them at some stage, pushing boundaries is a natural part of ‘growing up’.

The first thing I say to parents about tantrums is to try and identify why they happen. Many parents say it is when they hear the word: ‘No’. I suggest you find other ways of telling a child they cannot have something. An example could be: “We are going to have that later, after tea time”, or “Let’s come away from the TV and look at watering the plants in the garden.”

Of course one cannot always prevent a tantrum and when they do occur I simply bend down and say loud enough for them to hear “OK. It is OK to shout. I know you are cross. Shout here and when you have finished and are calm, come and find me in the kitchen.”

Confidently walk away so you are out of their sight and let them vent their anger.

I am a great believer in letting children express their frustrations. This is NOT wrong or naughty behaviour, it is life. Things don’t always go our way and we will get frustrated at times.

If you want to have a ‘shout spot’, the key is to continue to put them back on the spot until they stay there, even if it is only for 30 seconds. They need to feel the pain of sitting alone before they will think to not repeat their tantrum.

Consistency is the key with discipline and having a space in your home for your children to shout if they need to is the key. They can shout for as long as they like and come back into the kitchen where you are once the noise is over.

After three consecutive days of using the ‘shout spot’ your child believes you are going to be consistent and will start to think before having a tantrum.

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