We are fully fledged members of the terrible twos club and my god do we know it. To say life with Ava has been difficult just lately is a bit of an understatement. If you are a regular reader of mine you will know that Ava has always been a bit of a wild child, she is fiercely independent and knows her own mind. I love all that about her but the terrible twos have bought something else along, she is now an emotional wreck. I expected there to be tantrums heading my way, after all she’s been throwing hissy fits since she was one, more about that here. What I wasn’t prepared for though was the sheer amount of crying and whinging that has started over the last few months.
I sometimes feel like a failure
I know the crying is just a toddler thing as they are struggling to process everything going on in their little minds but when the crying becomes all day everyday you can’t help but start wondering if it’s you that’s making them so unhappy. It’s a silly thought I know, watching someone you love so upset is just hard though and emotionally draining. There are times when I feel like tearing my hair out, in fact if it wasn’t falling out at an alarming rate anyway I would, I’m going to need Advanced Tricho Pigmentation Treatment if it carries on, my hair is receding more than my dads!
How To Get Through The Terrible Twos
Buckle up because there is no magic solution I’m afraid, you just have to ride it out. This will all be a distant memory when the age of the threenager kicks in, sorry!
We have been doing a few things to help Ava and minimise the meltdowns. Parenting is very much trial and error, what works for one child may not work for the other as they are all so different. My approach is a lot gentler with Ava than it was with Jack as she seems to be a bit more sensitive.
Don’t lose your shit (attempt not to anyway)
This is something I always need to remind myself because let’s face it, Ava is me, I am just as much of a hot head as she is. Shouting isn’t going to get you anywhere, imagine being really upset and frustrated and then someone comes and shouts at you, it wouldn’t be very nice would it? I found myself shouting at Ava all the time and feeling really angry towards her so now I try to stay in control and not shout. I’m not saying psycho mum doesn’t make an appearance every now and again, she does but it’s definitely less often and in turn Ava isn’t quite so shouty.
Offer cuddles or give them space
That sounds a bit contradictory but from experience Jack much preferred to be given space and ignored until the tantrum was over, Ava on the other hand benefits from cuddles and talking it out. I usually offer her a cuddle then try and talk to her about what is making her sad. This usually calms her down, obviously if she is just whinging for no reason then I try to ignore her until she wants to talk to me properly.
Remain positive in the face of a tiny dictator
Dealing with toddler is exhausting and so draining, it’s all too easy to develop a negative attitude when the constant tantrums start wearing you down. One thing I have noticed though is that kids pick up on our attitude and start copying. I have definitely found when I am in a bad mood Ava seems to be extra naughty. I try to my best to make our days full of laughter and talk to her in an overly positive way. Yes it’s over the top but she seems to respond well to it.
The most powerful tool in minimising tantrums is distraction, not just during the tantrum either. I find Ava starts playing up a lot if she is bored. I try to get outside with her as much as possible, somewhere safe that she can run free and explore without me barking orders at her all the time. At home if she is getting stroppy I will bring out the big guns, and by big guns I mean the craft box, playdoh is always a winner.
The days may be tough but remember they go by so quickly, try and make the most of them.
Do you have any tips for dealing with toddler tantrums?