The 2 year old child is in effect still a toddler. Toddler-hood, lasts till their 4th birthday.
Being a toddler is definitely not easy! They are learning speech and especially at 2 years, it can be very frustrating for them that they do not have the words to express themselves. This can lead to temper tantrums. When that happens, just give words to their needs: ” I see you are really frustrated. Did you wish to go the other way on our walk? Did you wish to play with the green car rather than the blue one? Did you want to stop and look at the flower? Once they see we are listening and understanding, the tantrum usually stops quite quickly.
Also toddlers need A LOT of movement. Being a parent of a toddler means you are on the go all the time. Parenting a toddler can not happen from a sitting position. These children are discovering the world around them, they are all the time trying new things to do, they are discovering boundaries. The 2 year old, needs constant supervision (yes I know it is tiring!) and reasoning as well. A simple “No, you can’t do that”, is not enough for them; reason with them and you will not need to do anything else – although they might test the boundary and try it again and again.
In fact going out both morning and afternoon is not too much for a 2 year old. When we say going out, we do mean that at least half that time they are running around rather than in a pushchair or being worn. They do need to get that energy out!
Another way to help move that energy is through helping you. The 2 year old child, loves helping with chores. Working with you, despite meaning it will take double or triple the time to finish, gives them a sense of accomplishment, that they are needed, you are starting training them in house keeping. It is a way children feel part of a family and a wonderful way to give them movement.
Also toddlers need big doses of love! Yes, we do love our children but for some reason, after our children hit 2 years we seem to hug them less, carry them less, say we love them less. All children need these things and the 2 year old is no except, they are still very tiny.
When we are facing challenges with the 2 year old, it is best to review the basics:
- A strong rhythm is important. Preparing and giving out meals at approximately the same time, having a morning and evening routine. Making sure adequate work, play, rest, nutrition and love is provided.
- Check that sleep, hunger, rest and play are good. I can not emphasis enough how important these basics are!
- Protect them from the world! We do not realise, that children in general need protection from the world at large. They get easily stimulated and hence overwhelmed. The house is their best friend; Quiet environments for free play is the second best friend for them.
When we are sure these are in place than we can be creative with our children.
- toddlers listen better when a command is given through songs and movement. Make up songs or find songs about meal times, putting on jackets, bed time, bath time etc
- toddlers prefer to make everything a game. Let us jump like a kangaroo to the bus stop; let us see who puts the most yellow blocks in the box; let us crawl like a bug to the bathtub etc
- Think of strategies that can help before an actual tantrum happens. Distraction is a big one, as well as redirection. If the need arises a time in is acceptable. A time in is usually sitting down with your melting down toddler and holding them/talking to them etc as accepted by the child themselves. Big emotions are frightening to them and being with them and telling them its OK is very reassuring to the children.