The Terrible Twos (They Really Aren’t So Bad!)
Author: Jeannie Fleming-Gifford
Remember that first year? You snuggled with your little one in your arms. You plopped them down and you sat and admired them. Most often, they sat there like a pumpkin. In a blink of an eye, it seems that they are now up and running. They are babbling, even saying a few words. They tell you when they don’t want something, but because their language is still developing, it’s a challenge to find out what they do want.
Welcome to toddlerhood. For the reasons above, the toddler years have been fondly referred to as the terrible twos. However, understanding them and their development will help you understand that the terrible twos aren’t so terrible at all.
Toddlers are just beginning to understand they are a separate little person. With this new-found identity, toddlers are striving to gain independence. They want to do it themselves, even if sometimes it is a struggle. If you’ve done any sign language, or even if you haven’t, this is the time where the word or sign for “help” can be a lifesaver. In order to sign “help,” make a fist with one hand, pointing the thumb up and then put your fist onto the palm of your other hand while saying “help.” Providing a toddler with a way to ask for assistance before they reach the point of frustration and meltdown will save you both a few tears.
Try to see the world from your child’s point of view. It’s easy to think they have it made. You love them, they play, you read, and they eat. However, as all this is taking place, they may be struggling to find independence. Begin with letting them make some simple decisions like choosing between two types of appropriate food choices or two shirts. Follow through with the choice they have made.
Be sure to keep perspective. Is it really a big deal if your little one insists on wearing the fuzzy red hat even though it is 70 degrees? Yes, keep an eye out for any safety concerns, but other than that, if they look silly, so be it. It will probably cause you, her, and many people to smile that day.
With a little bit of patience, a lot of flexibility, and a daily dose of love, toddlerhood will be just another fun step in the journey of parenthood.