Friday, May 24, 2013

The oh so terrible 2s

Whoever coined the phrase "the terrible 2s" was completely correct. My sweet girl turns into a little terror multiple times a day. If things don't go exactly how she wants them to go she freaks out and starts screaming, kicking, and hitting. It's bad. I wish I could say that I've figured out how to manage these tantrums, but right now I yell way more than I'd like to admit. She's probably one of the most stubborn toddlers I've ever seen and I never imagined that parenting could be this hard!

I have managed to find a few things that work and I wanted to share them here for anyone else who is trying to parent an extremely stubborn toddler. I've noticed several things that seem to trigger the tantrums:

1. Her mood is heavily affected by sleep and food. If she is over tired, our day is awful. She's a horrible napper so nap time isn't a solution for her like it is for most toddlers. If we keep her out past her bedtime, it's pretty much a sure thing that she's going to be grumpy the next day. If she hasn't eaten or has only eaten junk, she is noticeably irritable. Mike gets bad headaches when his blood sugar drops and we are wondering if she is having the same issue. So we have to ensure that she gets enough good nutrition frequently throughout the day. Routine is key for us to make sure that she is getting enough sleep and good food.

2. Jealousy is a huge issue right now. She wants me all to herself and if she doesn't get enough time with me before Connor wakes up or during his naps, I really notice an increase in tantrums. This is a struggle for me because those are the main times for me to get things done, but I am now making a conscious effort to give her tons of one on one time when he's asleep. If she's had her mommy time, she is pleasant and loves her brother.  If she hasn't, she whines when I'm holding him and begs me to put him back "night night."

3. The biggest factor in her moods that I have noticed is her boredom level. She is a kid that loves mental stimulation. She loves organizing and sorting things. She loves sensory activities and books. She gets bored quickly with her normal toys and loves going new places (as long as I'm with her.) I have been using the TV way too much to keep her entertained and I am really trying hard to do at least one different activity with her each day. As I am writing this, she is sitting next to me playing with dried rice and measuring spoons.  It doesn't have to be something grand, but she needs different activities to keep her mind active. If she gets bored, she throws massive tantrums.

Enjoying drawing with chalk. She decided to sort it.
Now I can try and say that focusing on these things has made her a perfect little angel, but that would be a total lie.  Even on the greatest of days, inevitably, something will set her off. It's taken some trial and error to figure out a disciplinary method that would work for her. First we tried traditional time outs. Yeah that was a joke. She screamed the entire time and would run away over and over. I kept at it because I thought that eventually she would give in. Nope, she would fight me for over an hour. If I didn't have to take care of Connor too, that wouldn't be a problem, but I really don't have the time to fight her like that.

One day out of jealousy, she hit Connor. I made her do a time out in her room. I didn't shut the door and the lights stayed on, but I sat her down and told her that she needed to stay in there for 2 minutes because she hit her brother. Much to my amazement, she stayed. And after two minutes, I went in to get her and she told Connor sorry and gave him a kiss. That has been our time out method ever since. For most things, she gets a warning and the "1-2-3" count before she gets a time out. It only took a few times of doing the counts for her to realize that I was serious, and now most of the time by the time I get to 2, she cooperates. For hitting or kicking someone, she gets an automatic time out and then must say sorry and give a kiss to whoever she hurt. For a few weeks it felt like she was in time out all the time, but it has really gotten better lately. Now that she is talking more, she is able to tell us what she wants instead of getting frustrated,

I keep hearing that age 3 is worse than 2 and I have no idea what I'm going to do if that is true! She is such a bossy little drama queen now, I don't know how it could get any worse!

What are your best tips for dealing with your toddler's tantrums?  I may need them!




1 comment:

  1. Ugh, we are right in the middle of it all. My son who just turned 3 is getting better. But my daughter who is now almost 18 months is in the very throes of tantrums. And it's terrible.

    We bought the book 1,2,3 Magic to help with the tantrums and to help us discipline better without resorting to physical discipline. It has worked A LOT better for my son.

    Wishing you luck! This too shall pass for us, eventually.

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