So my little happy baby has turned into a pouting, screaming, frustrated toddler. I was feeling completely helpless, because I had no idea what he wanted. Everything I did before didn’t work. It felt like I was spiralling out of control. I couldn’t take it anymore!
He changed and he needed me to change too. I couldn’t be the passive stay at home mom anymore. His little inquisitive mind was longing for more information. He had more energy and needed to be engaged on a one-on-one level.
Here are the mistakes I made and what I did to fix it.
He was cooped up in the house all day. I made a special play area for him in the garage and we go for walks regularly. He also plays in the yard with the dogs. This has strengthened the bonds between him and the dogs by leaps and bounds. This change has had the most impact on my son. He loves being outside. He has become calmer and more manageable.
He had no access to snacks between meals. I would give him snacks when he asked, but a hungry toddler is a grumpy toddler. I started putting out a few healthy snacks, which he has access to all day. He can choose to snack when he feels hungry. It also reinforced his sense of independence.
He would skip naptime. Some days he would nap, other days he wouldn’t. I noticed that he was so agitated, until I set a time for napping in the afternoon. He takes a nap every day, even on weekends. It was difficult to get him into the routine at first, but it’s a breeze now. Naptime is good for me too. It allows me to finish a few of my own daily tasks.
He had too many toys lying around. He had too many toys in his room. Either he wouldn’t play with any of them or he would play with all of them in one day. This led to frustration for both of us. I put most of the toys away and set out a few toys at a time (usually chosen according to our theme). This reduced clean up time for me and allowed him to play without feeling overwhelmed. *I rotate the toys every week.
He had no structured learning. He loves to learn new things and new words. I started implementing weekly themes like shapes, colours, alphabet, numbers and animals. We build puzzles daily and create art with paint, pencils and crayons. He is happier now and I enjoy teaching him.
He had no bedtime routine. Bedtime would range from nine o’ clock till twelve o’ clock. Now he is bathed, his teeth are brushed, a story is read and he’s asleep by eight.
He wasn’t praised for his positive behaviour. What a difference a “Good job” or a “Well done” and a high five or a hug has done. He loves to display positive behaviour, because he enjoys the reward.
I had a bad attitude. I was feeling negative and distressed. I have fun with my son now. I am blessed to be with him every day. He has learnt and grown so much in these past few years. I’m really lucky to be able to be home with him.
I really hope this post will help you or a loved one turn their terrible twos into terrific twos.