Toddlers get bad press. When your little one approaches age two, it’s common to hear other parents telling you to brace yourself for the dreaded terrible twos. But what is it about age two that makes us think of this age as being so terrible?
How to Embrace the Terrible Twos
There’s no denying the fact that the toddler years are busy . . . like really busy. Suddenly your child goes from a baby to a tiny toddler human overnight. If your kiddo is anything like my oldest, they have bigger personalities than you ever thought possible. It can be tiring, even downright exhausting, at times. But over the last three years since becoming a mama, I shifted my focus on looking at these toddler years, especially age two, a bit differently. Now that my son is two and I get to appreciate this age all over again, here’s how I plan on enjoying the “terrible” or not-so-terrible twos.
1. Decode What’s Really Under the Behavior
My daughter would have what most of us know as “terrible two tantrums” nearly every day at age two. It was frustrating not only for me but visibly frustrating for her. I started to look at her meltdowns a bit differently, trying to uncover what was really behind these “tantrums.” I quickly realized she was just as frustrated as I was that she didn’t quite have the language development to tell me what she wanted.
When I shifted my view of these meltdowns, it became easier to remain calm and centered and breathe through the meltdown. This ultimately was helpful for my daughter too. Age two is hard for many reasons, but leaning into what may be underneath the tantrum in the first place allowed me to embrace the tantrums and help my little one work through them.
2. Be in Awe of Your Child
Age two can make it challenging to slow down and appreciate the moments amid what seems like tantrum city. But there is also SO much to be in awe of at this age — two-year-olds are genuinely amazing! I found it amazing to watch my daughter and now my two-year-old son pick up new skills and see their excitement for learning or trying something new. Seeing things through the eyes of a two-year-old is a fantastic way to appreciate this busy age.
3. Tune into Their Creativity
When my daughter turned two, she became increasingly interested in arts and crafts. She hasn’t stopped now that she is a little over three! It was so fun to see her creative side come out at age two, and it opened the doors for us to do even more 1:1 activities together. Plus, watching her creative side come out allowed me to dip my toes into my creative side too.
4. Utilize Positive Parenting Resources
Going through age two with my daughter as a first-time mom was uncharted territory. I felt very alone and confused. But this is when I started to get more involved in learning about positive parenting. Two of my then and even now favorite resources and positive parenting experts are:
- Janet Lansbury: Her books and podcast are incredibly inspiring!
- Suzanne Tucker — Founder of Generation Mindful: We use the Calming Corner in our home with my two and three-year-old, and it’s been a total game-changer.
The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short
If you are in the thick of toddler tantrums, take heart. From one toddler mama to another, here’s a reminder that we will miss these years one day! While it will be nice to have a sit-down dinner without a tantrum, the years are fleeting. So let’s try to enjoy the terrific twos even during the hard days.