Tell the truth now… before you had kids, did you look at parents of toddlers and wonder why they couldn’t make the little varmint behave? Did you look smugly at a parent struggling with their child in the grocery store and know that your child, once you had a child, wouldn’t act that way? Maybe the line, “feed it or beat it”, sounded in your head as you rolled your eyes.
Well now that you are a parent of a toddler, you take back everything you ever thought about other parents because you can see how frustrating parenting can be! Welcome to a different universe… a time warp called the Terrible Twos.
Homeschooling is hard enough as it is, but throw the terrible twos into the mix and you have a whole new ballgame! Don’t chicken out, though, or use this as an excuse not to try. Homeschooling during the terrible twos can be done.
Why is this time called the Terrible Twos anyway?
I have never understood why it is called the terrible TWOS. Just like “morning sickness” didn’t happen only in the morning for me, the “terrible twos” didn’t rear it’s ugly head on any of my kids second birthday and disappear on their third. It can start earlier than two and last even longer…. It’s the period where your child has increased mobility, some communication skills, and the desire to figure stuff out and be independent. You probably guessed that already.
For the first time you might see mood swings, tantrums, negativity, battles of will, hitting, biting, major food dislikes, mismatched clothing, shoes on the wrong feet, and lots of “No, No, No!”
How do I survive the terrible twos?
When your child is going through the Terrible Twos, it’s important to realize they are screaming for some independence, although they don’t necessarily have all the skills they need yet to do so. This is normal development – a positive thing really – although it sure doesn’t feel that way to you because it’s making you crazy. Keep in mind they are not trying to hurt you, be rebellious, and make your life miserable; they are frustrated and a bit overwhelmed. “I want to dress myself!” can end in a meltdown when they’re not able to get the shirt over their head or a dress buttoned up.
Understanding what is going on is the first step to managing the problems that will crop up during this trying time. Next, you will have to make some decisions about setting some limits/boundaries. You should offer a fairly consistent routine and take steps to help empower your child. Decide now how you will handle tantrums or other unacceptable behavior and how you will discipline. Just like homeschooling is a full time job, battling a two year old can be too unless you put into place strategies to help your little one grow and mature.
So don’t take the Terrible Twos personally, but do rise to the occasion and learn some parenting skills that will help you help your child through this particularly frustrating period. Here is a really cool (and free) audio lesson that teaches you 3 quick tricks to improve your communication with your toddlers. It’s only a few minutes long and it’s really good. Talking To Toddlers: Dealing With the Terrible Twos and Beyond is a key resource to have as it deals with the problems you and your toddler are having in a positive manner and sets you up for handling the issues you’ll see when they’re past the toddler years. I wish I had had this resource when I began homeschooling with three kids under five!