Effectively parenting the terrible 2s

“Yeah? Fine, try out these things that I told you, and it should be fine! Hmm?… Of course, it would take some time, but gradually it will all be good! Yeah, okay… let me know if you get stuck somewhere; I will try to help you out! Okay, bye!”

Phew, today was a tiring day for me! Standing on a leg, multitasking is not so superb as it seems. On top of it all, half an hour ago, I got a call from one of my friends, and without much delay, she jumped straight to the point: Parenting tips for two year olds.

Being a single dad, he finds it challenging to manage the toddler but tries his best to do everything for the child. While he mentioned his difficulties, I remembered those days when Miko, my daughter, was a toddler herself. It was, of course, difficult to manage her but at the same time, I missed those moments because transitioning from childhood to adulthood is an irreversible process… once gone, it never comes back! 

 So, to help him forge a better and loving relationship with his child, he requested some tips. And also, since you are here reading this, it is apparent that you, too, were searching for the same topic! Don’t worry; since we are here, let us first discuss what kind of growth a two year old goes through.

By the age of two, kids undergo several developments, which can be classified into

  • Physical Development
  • Social and Emotional Development
  •  Cognitive Development

Now, let us discuss these in detail!

  1. Physical Development: by this age, kids develop a considerable amount of physical skills. They start:
  •  Walking, running, climbing and jumping,
  • They can carry around small items like toys,
  •   Can do small chores on their own like brushing their teeth, having their meals on their own from the plate (It would be messy, of course!)
  •  Their appearance also starts changing. They start losing their baby fat, grow taller by inches, and bones get stronger as time passes.
  1. Social and Emotional: for a two year old, feeling and understanding all the emotions but unable to express them through words due to lack of many vocabularies can be very frustrating. Social and emotional development always holds an important place in terms of child development. During this time:
  • They start talking and understand your language,
  • Throw tantrums when things don’t go their way and will never take no for an answer (one of the prime reasons why they throw tantrums!).
  • They try to gain more independence by trying to do things on their own,
  • And, of course, become copycats, trying to copy adults whenever they find it interesting or amusing.
  1. Cognitive Development: intense research has been done on cognitive development, which deals with development in terms of their thinking capabilities and information processing. During this time:
  • The toddler starts recognizing their surroundings and belongings,
  •   Follow basic things that are taught to them,
  •   Can remember people or animals with their names,
  •  Play on their own, like, pretend games, building blocks, etc.

So now you’ve understood the stages of child development, we will move on to some tips that can help you understand and take care of your toddler. So, let’s go ahead!

  1. Time for a change in their surroundings! : kids, especially two years old, tend to show lots of emotions. Sometimes they can be moody, sometimes over-enthusiastic about things and most commonly, can be very keen on exploring their surroundings! While it is good that they explore some things on their own… sharp and dangerous things can wait for their turn. So, the very first step is changing the surroundings around them, keeping them within a safe environment. Put away everything that seems dangerous.
  2. Empathize with them: this is the key to understanding your child better. For two year old, it gets difficult for them to channel their emotions to you. They may be angry, sad or happy about something which you might not be able to understand. Here, you’ll have to understand from their point of view. Try asking them what is getting them these feelings. Sometimes, they will point at the things that are hurting them or try to word them. Listen and be vigilant! Once you get what it is, you can sort it out for them.
  1. Understand that they are not grownups yet: this is something which you should keep in mind always! They do not understand things the way you do and also take time to learn things. Slow down; things take time. They have their own pace of learning and understanding things. As a parent, you must facilitate them in the process. Be patient with them; they can sense the slightest behaviour change and can hang on to it.
  2. Be funny and forge a bond with them : Being funny can lighten their hearts as well as yours too. It can help you form a healthy bond with them! We all know that laughter is the best medicine, so why not try the formula here as well? Dress up as some funny cartoon character they like or make situations funny enough for them. Crack some jokes, watch funny movies together, tickle them. Sometimes, funny situations arise naturally. Learn to laugh with them. 

 Attachment theory, a research done by John Bowbly, throws light on the fact that child development and future relationships depend on the relationships which are formed during early childhood. Bond is the important part of parenting, and if it is healthy, then it always reflects in the child’s behaviour and attitude.

  1. Let them learn: there are certain things that kids can do on their own. Spoon feeding them round the clock will stunt their growth. Let them learn basic things like how to eat with a spoon, tying their shoelaces, etc. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory proposes that children learn better through the experiences they undergo. To make learning fun for them. Use the expressions and language that they understand. Every child is different, so, therefore, their learning capabilities are also different. Break down whatever you are teaching into several segments. If you teach them how to use a spoon, teach them how to hold the spoon properly and explain with actions.
  2. Explain things their way: explaining things to kids can be challenging most of the times. So the next tip is, make your explanations simpler so that they can grasp them better. Even if it takes you to go to the basic level, do so because they cannot understand things independently!
  3. Scold them when it is necessary: sometimes kids can be a bit wild. They may hit back, throw tantrums, and try to destroy things. So the best way to deal with it is scolding them lightly, not for the sake of scolding but for them to understand why it is wrong. Being severely harsh on kids can affect them mentally, and of course, we don’t want that to happen. Light punishments can be helpful, like holding back that candy from them for a day so that they behave themselves would be a good option. Again, please don’t be too harsh on them.
  4. Time for potty training: we all know that people never forget whatever is taught to them during childhood. So why not start with potty training? It’s beneficial for them and you, too, since you don’t have to put much into buying diapers again and again.
  1. Nutritious diet and some exercise: at this age, for proper growth, a proper diet is a must. Home-cooked food is the best, and along with that, you can supplement their diet with some fruits like apple, orange, etc. Make sure to include protein, carbohydrates, calcium and vitamin-rich food on their plate. Some toddlers are lactose intolerant; for them, you can substitute regular milk with soy milk. Another point to be noted is that kids are always picky eaters. They’ll never touch that broccoli unless you make it fun for them. You can play pretend games with the food or make the food look fancy enough to grab their attention, like cutting the bread and veggies into animal or flower shapes.

Apart from their diet, exercise also plays a vital role! An hour of exercise daily in breaks can help with their bone and muscle developments.

  1. If your kid is not showing signs of any development, which have been mentioned previously, then you should meet a child doctor. Putting off such problems for another time can take a drastic turn for both the child and the parents. As a parent, always do your part in nurturing them. Always communicate with your child so that they develop communication skills and increase their vocab to communicate better. Popular Bandura’s social learning theory stresses that imitation, observation and similar factors help develop their behaviours. Therefore, always expose your child to new things which can help them grow. For example, helping them learn from picture books, recite poems, encourage them to ask questions, take them out to places like zoos and parks and help them learn names of new things or beings they see. 

Since we are done with some parenting tips, let us throw some light on another crucial aspect: time management.

We are talking about this topic because we are dealing with toddlers here, and of course, this whole process requires energy and the ability to manage your time well. Taking care of toddlers can take up a lot of time, and if you are a working parent, you’ll have to double the efforts, which often results in fatigue!

Therefore, now we will be discussing how parents can manage their time well.

  1. Inculcate the art of declining: practice saying ‘no’ whenever someone burdens you with some business which you won’t be unable to fulfil. Keeping a ‘yes’ all the time will burden you with responsibilities that can drain you of your time and energy, making it difficult for you to spend and take care of your child. 
  2. Plan way ahead: it is not that everything will go according to your plan, but having a basic outline of your plan will always keep you on a sure footing for whatever you do next. Planning your day, menu or week will always burden you with the headache of ‘what to do next?’.
  3. Decide what needs your time: Not everything that comes your way needs to have your time. If it is not that important, you can always decline it or keep it aside for later. It would be better to divert your attention and time to the requirement of the hour than simply nodding your head to everything in front of you. Make an executive decision for the sake of your energy and time.
  4. Always keep a To-Do list with you: listing your tasks will always help you be on time for all the work you got as it would lend you a hand in dividing the time among different chores and use your time efficiently.
  5. Say no to multitasking: keeping a ‘to-do’ list and deciding what needs your attention are the answers to this point. Multitasking does not always turn out to be successful. There are 90% chances of ruining all the things you do simultaneously, so better do one thing at a time.
  6. Have a timer, save time: allot time limits to whatever you are doing; in this way, you’ll have a track of time and save much more of it.
  7. Have a me-time: always squeeze out some time for yourself so that you regain your strength, which is a must for yourself as well as for healthy parenting. It will keep your mind fresh and lower your tensions so that you do not project it on your child and your work.

Finally, we are done with all the significant points about time management that will help you make use of your time efficiently and also create spaces for you and your child too.

Lastly, before winding up, there is something worth repeating, every child is different, be it any stage of life. Comparison between kids can always tamper with their growth. Each child is unique and precious; they have different capabilities and understanding levels, and child development occurs naturally. Judging them with the same scale will always result in failure and burden them with unnecessary expectations. While sometimes it is necessary to push a child to do tasks for their own sake, never overdo it.

So that was all for the topic of Parenting tips for two years old. Hope you got some insight into parenting and that it helps you and your child sail through this beautiful journey without many hurdles.

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