How to stay zen through the terrible twos

Got a toddler who's driving you bonkers? Us too! Here's how we're staying sane during this trying time...

It screams…it hits…it kicks…it bites…it’s the toddler going through the terrible twos! Everyone’s heard of the dreaded terrible twos. People who aren’t even parents know about the terrible twos and sometimes this makes them not want to be parents. In fact, a certain mum (who may or may not have written this story) has a child who woke up with a sore throat this morning from screaming all night long…

If this sounds familiar, take yourself a virtual hug and pour a glass of wine. Staying zen through this horrible phase isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you a) have the whole world staring at you with accusing eyes when the toddler is throwing the mother of all tantrums, b) are tired from running around after your toddler the whole day, and c) have a splitting headache from the aforementioned. Here’s how to stay calm when your toddler is going through a full-blown meltdown:

Count to 10

Times like these, why not heed the famous words of Thomas Jefferson (and your mum): “When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, count to 100.” Yes, this age old saying really works because it distracts you from whatever’s causing you frustration. Did your toddler really bite a helpless seven month-old sibling? Count to 10 (or 100!) and you’ll find yourself considerably calmer than in the exact heat of the moment. 


Take a mum-time moment

It isn’t always easy to get time to do stuff just for us. With pickups and drop offs, work, cooking dinner and trying to play referee between the kids, we’re left with very little time to do much else. But for your peace of mind (and everyone else’s), why not take a quick breather from what’s bothering you and give one of these 52 things a go?  Remember, your well-being is important too! Take a time out to enjoy and pamper yourself – you deserve it!  


Remember that they will eventually nap

All good and bad things must come to an end, including your toddler’s tantrum. All that screaming and kicking will eventually tire them (and us) out and may even lull them into a nice long nap (we’re crossing our fingers for you). 

Yay for meltdowns (said no parent ever)! Photo credit: Jana Blanco

They won’t be little forever

You probably hear this all the time: “They’ll grow out of it” or “One day they won’t be so little anymore.” As cliche as it may sound, you know it’s true. Terrible twos are FRUSTRATING, but like all phases, this too shall pass. Next time you’re ready to yell, remember that it was only two years ago you gave birth, that it was only yesterday that they stopped breastfeeding, and just a few months since they started saying “Mummy.” 


Turn that frown upside down

One of the best ways to distract both you and your toddler from a tense situation is a good dose of laughter. Why not grab them for a tickle or try singing a silly song together? If that doesn’t work, you can always make a funny face (we’re sure you know your kid’s favourite) or ask them to play a game. Soon enough, you’ll feel those frustrated feelings melt away. 


Avoid fussy moments

If you’ve been out at the park all day and your little one’s worked up a good sweat, chances are, that two-year-old will probably be tired and want to nap. If you’re expecting your tot to sit through a grocery shopping expedition, you’re also inviting the possibility of a tantrum. Got a hungry kid but don’t have any snacks on hand? Yup, you’re brewing for a storm. Try to avoid trigger situations for a meltdown on both ends. Send the helper or husband to the supermarket, or order online!

Welcome to the Terrible Two’s! Photo by Arwan Sutanto on Unsplash

Vent your frustrations to your mum-group

No matter how much you try to reason with your two year-old, there’s a very big chance your words will fall on deaf ears. Understand that your toddler is still trying to find the words to express themselves and that negotiating with them probably won’t get you anywhere. That’s why you have a mum-group – they’re there to listen to your frustrations and the bonus is that they perfectly understand what you’re going through. 


Master the art of the silent scream  (or a grab a pillow if you can’t)

We can’t stress enough how important it is to control your temper around your toddler. At this age, your toddler looks to you for security and imitates everything that you do. If you must scream, leave the room and scream into a pillow. It’s probably one of the most cathartic things you can do.  


Think of how smart they’re becoming

Studies show that two year-olds who are all about defiance are actually learning to be more independent! Unfortunately, they aren’t at the stage where they can reason or voice their feelings so they become frustrated when you don’t understand what they want.

Our conclusion

Tantrums are inevitable. Next time your little one throws a fit, ignore it. Do not make eye contact and remember to give them a nice warm hug after it’s done. Tell your little one that you understand the frustrations and your love is unshakeable. Don’t give in, parents. You’ve got this. 


Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

How to prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby
6 tips to develop your baby’s language skills
What really works when you’re trying to potty train?
5 tips to getting the kids to sleep in their ‘big bed’

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Top image credit: Jana Blanco