Sanai is one month away from 2 years old and she has already entered the dreaded “terrible two’s” phase. Falling out when she can’t have apple juice for the third time in an hour. Screaming at the top of her lungs when I don’t let her open a bag of chips in the grocery store. Telling me “no!” when I ask her to clean up her toys because she isn’t done playing. My daughter has relentlessly marched into the this sassy toddler phase and I’m doing everything in my power to stay sane.Now let me be clear, I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. These are just a few things I do and I think they are slightly helping me get through the infamous terrible two phase. I hope some of these help you.
Have some form of a schedule. When Sanai was younger, our household was on a super strict schedule (all of my friends can attest to this). Anything after 7:30pm was a no go for me, because that was Sanai’s bedtime. Yes, I was that crazy mom. Thankfully Sanai is older now, and quite honestly, I could no longer be a slave to her schedule, so we’ve been much more lax. Even still, we keep some form of routine to help keep her functioning at her best. She wakes up no later than 7am everyday (8am on the weekends). She has breakfast, lunch, and dinner around the same time everyday. And trust me, she will tell you when it’s time to “eat eat“. She has her nap around the same time every day and usually goes down for bed around the same time unless we are out.
Having a schedule helps me because I know when I’ll have some uninterrupted free time. This helps her because her she is rarely over tired and is able to sleep well at night (yes, she still sleeps through the night in her own room). This also helps her understand the concept of time, helps establish expectations, and oddly enough, gives more independence. I know “independence” sounds silly for a two year old, but having even the smallest daily routine can help tremendously. Instead of whining and crying about things she wants, she’ll do it herself. For breakfast, Sanai will ask me to open the fridge in baby talk and she’ll grab a yogurt and an apple (I keep it low enough for her to reach). At lunch time, Sanai goes and gets her plate and spoon from the dishwasher. Nap time, she will try to stay up but as soon as she is in her bed, she’s out in two minutes. Lately, if we keep her up way past her bedtime, she’ll literally start walking up the stairs saying “night night”. She did this to her dad for the first time a few nights ago and he was so shocked. So here’s a small suggestion: try to implement some form of routine if you can and see if that works. If it doesn’t, don’t blame me.
Keep her busy. At this age, a lot of babies are busy bodies- Sanai is no different. She always wants to be on the go, doing something. I have to mentally prepare myself for all of her energy when I get out of bed on the weekends. She loves to go and ride her bike, but it’s gotten too small and she needs a bigger one, so that has been a struggle! Once we’re back inside, I find something for her to get into. Whether it’s reading books, playing with toys, or watching cartoons/ movies- we find something for her to do. When I need a break, I’ll pull her toys into the living room and just watch her play while I relax. A few months ago, I put these learning posters up on the wall in Sanai’s room and they are a lifesaver! We will go in her room to practice her letters, colors, ABCs, etc., and she loves it. So after we practice for a bit, I can sneak off into my room across the hall and she’ll stay there completely engaged with the posters. I get to help her learn the basics and distract her at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to me! Click here to purchase.
Time out. I know it sounds silly, but it works. Being as busy as Sanai is, having to sit still is like the bane of her existence. I usually give her the freedom to play as she pleases, but when she does something that she knows she shouldn’t, then I put her in time out. I will take here toys from out of her sight and tell her to sit down. Every time shes tries to get up, I ask her firmly to sit back down in time out. I out emphasis on the words “time out”. Her father is less nice than me about this. He will leave all the toys right in her eyesight, sit her on the couch and make her sit there and look at them. She’ll try to get up, she’ll reach for me, she’ll do everything she can, but her dad will not let her up until she gets it. She’s finally realized that this is a punishment, and although it doesn’t work perfectly every single time, it definitely improves her behavior.
Tell her no, and mean it. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s really hard to say no to that face, right? Trust me, I get it. We want to give our babies everything they want and never hear them cry. The reality is, that’s not realistic. I’ve learned that giving Sanai everything she wants just to not hear her cry has spoiled her quite a bit. She would scream and yell until she got what she wanted and I fell for it every time. We were in Publix one day and she wanted an an apple, so I gave it to her. About half way through eating the apple, she dropped it. Of course, she wanted another one and I said no. She whined, I still said no. Minutes later, Sanai was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs as if I was killing her. I was so embarrassed, I literally ran back over to the produce aisle and gave her the apple as quickly as I could. Her tears conveniently dried up and she stopped crying. We got home and she pulled the same trick with a Capri Sun after I told her no. I knew then that my almost two year old daughter was finessing me. From that day forward, when I tell her no, it means no. Since then, she’s learned that no means no and she has way less tantrums.
Now I’m sure there are a million and one other ways to handle children, since they are all so different. I know none of these tips are the end all be all, but it helps me, so I wanted to share. What are some of the things you did with your toddler when they were at the stage? I’m all ears! I may not take all the advice, but i’ll certainly listen. That’s fair, right? Drop some comments below.