Making the "Terrible Twos" Terrific!

Posted by Emily Sadlow on

If you’re in the midst of your child’s second year, you may be pulling out your hair, thinking (or maybe even screaming), “When is this stage going to be over?” Well, as you’ve probably already realized, there are many stages of childhood and they all definitely have their ups and downs. So how about we reevaluate these so called “terrible twos”, and see how “terrific” we can make them! I know what you may be thinking, “easy to say for someone who may not have a two-year-old terror,” but wait - I do!

With time and patience, I’m slowly beginning to change my fixed mindset to an open one - one that is noticing the beautiful world and surroundings she is taking in, one tantrum at a time. ;) And I’ve come up with 20 reasons the “two-year-old stage” just might be one to enjoy!

  1. Developmentally, their language and vocabulary is exploding! Write down all the new words and phrases they come up with!
  2. Humor is making more sense to them. They can actually laugh when it is appropriate! Tell them a funny short story, and see how silly they think it is.
  3. Hand/eye coordination is increasingly improving. Rolling balls, picking up toys, and even throwing objects (preferably not your crystal champagne flute) are new things they can do!
  4. Finding their voice - sometimes loudly! They are learning to repeat inflection, memorize rhymes and songs, and explore the different sounds their little voice box can make.
  5. Embrace their new-found independence. Give them simple tasks like putting a toy in the toy basket, folding a blanket, or putting their cup or plate in the sink.
  6. Their ability to independently play is also increasing. A dollhouse, a baby doll, or a fire truck with people are all great toys that can spark independent play and imagination.
  7. They can help - and sometimes they even like it! Between the independence and hand/eye coordination, your toddler can be a great little helper around the house. Finding objects and items around your home is a great activity that they (and you) will appreciate.
  8. Reading books! Ok, maybe not “reading”, but they are now able to flip pages, open and shut the books, look at pictures, and if they know the book well, even recite a few words on a page or two.
  9. Problem solving. Their little minds are developing at a rapid pace. If a book falls off a shelf, instead of you rushing to pick it up….say “uh oh”, and see if they can “fix” the mistake. Give them a chance to mess up and then make it right.
  10. Heightened sensitivity and sympathy. You may notice your two-year-old tot paying attention if you show sadness or pain. They can be quite compassionate if you let them express and navigate those feelings.
  11. Along the same lines as hand/eye coordination, their bodies are growing and so is their physical activity ability! Whether it’s on a swing set or at a playground at the park, they are able to climb, step up, step down, slide, and so much more, all by themselves!
  12. Buy your tot some crayons and a notepad of plain white paper. They are learning how to hold colors and create their own "masterpieces"! This is a great new activity to keep them happy and content when you go out for dinner.
  13. Crafts, too! There are about 21,457 crafts on Pinterest designed for two-year-olds that revolve around their creativity level, imagination, physical ability, and mental capacity. Water colors, Playdough, marble art, and stamping are a few of our favorites.
  14. Teach them shapes. They can really retain simple shapes when shown repeatedly, just like colors. Have a week where you just draw hearts, use a heart cookie cutter for sandwiches/pancakes, and do heart crafts.
  15. Sleeping through the night - finally! For the most part, your house is probably very quiet from about 7pm-7am, at least it's probably free from toddler noises! Celebrate the fact that you’re not getting up through the night with your baby anymore. Toddlers require about 10-14 hours of sleep a day, including a midday nap.
  16. Because their memory is developing, they may be able to express excitement about an activity they did at school or the day before. Ask questions and watch their wheels turn!
  17. Start introducing new foods to your toddler. Their palate is starting to grow and their taste buds may be changing. Re-introduce some favorite baby foods but in solid form like peas, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.
  18. If you have a local zoo or wildlife park, take your toddler for a visit. They love picking up animals sounds and giving them a try themselves. A puzzle or book with animal sounds is a great teaching tool to reinforce what you see.
  19. Let them organize. Whether it’s arranging blocks by color, shoes by sizes (“Are these Mommy’s shoes or baby’s shoes?”), or organizing books in a basket, they are starting to understand what things go together and what things are alike.
  20. And the biggest reason to find this stage terrific - personality plus! Watch their little personality grow and grow during this stage. Their curiosity, bravery, humor, spunk, sass, and spirit can really come through! Embrace their unique characteristics and watch them thrive!

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