I have made it no secret that the age two was very challenging for us, mostly me. I think it was a combination of having a newborn, lack of communication and my reactionary and impatient self. Placing blame on my son doesn’t seem fair. Because, knowing what I know now, I don’t think there was too much different we could do, except me having more patience. Something I have written about here
Two was hard. It goes without saying I love my son more than anything in this world but I dreaded a new day. Each day seemed so challenging. I would literally just count down the hours and look forward to days he was going to daycare. I felt like I lost my connection with him and he very quickly became a daddy’s best mate. Gradually things got better. I had to learn a lot in order for this to happen.
But we are getting through to the other side now. Even though people say ‘threenager’ is hard I would pick three over two any day. Each stage is always a learning curve and has it’s fun. I almost feel mentally and emotionally scarred from the age two. But, in all honesty, I think it’s mostly because of how I dealt with it. I found I never had patience, was always mad, yelled a lot more. I tried so hard to come down on his level and some days were easier than others. But as a whole I could have done better.
Now, Noah tells me I am his best friend and wants to kiss and cuddle me 50 times a day. It’s the best feeling ever!
So, thanks to hind-site and time, I have come up with some strategies on coping with a challenging two-year old (and all ages, really)
Have patience – It is still something I work on every single day but you need it. So find it, create it, learn it.
Don’t react – This is one I have gotten much better on. Breath, count to 10, walk away for a minute. Just don’t immediately react and yell or scold
One on one time – If you can make it happen it really helps. I would spend some extra time with Noah when Siena napped. Reading books, building blocks, playing games, just being silly. Anything to make them feel important and that you are listening.
Learn better ways to communicate – I would ask Noah to show me what he wants, or point. Something that seems so obvious but when you are fed up sometimes you just don’t think to ask.
Dont drill them – Something I was told recently by a speech pathologist is don’t sit down with flash cards and try to teach them or drill them with learning techniques. It gets you both frustrated. Not all kids want learn from their mothers. She said counting, colours, ABCs etc they are all things they will learn in school. Teaching them early is purely bragging rights to you mum friends! 😉 Your job as a parent while they are home is let them be kids and play! And I love that. Something I wish I had been told much earlier.
Don’t compare children – Comparison is the thief of joy. All children are different and learn different. Just because your friend’s child knows all the dinosaur names or another’s paints like Monet, doesn’t mean your child who can’t draw a circle and barely says their name, isn’t smart or where he is meant to be at their age.
Enjoy them – Easier said than done when they have been a pain in the bum! People tell you, but until you are living it you don’t realise that time really DOES go by so quick. You don’t want to think back on how you could have done everything different.
Just the other day I realized my boy isn’t really a toddler anymore. He is leaning out and although he still has some evidence of those chubby cheeks he once had, he is looking more and more like a little boy. Lately life is generally much easier now that we are out of the two’s. From home life to going out and about and doing things. Granted I do have another two-year phase fast approaching but this time around should be easier, with the aforementioned lessons I have learnt previously going through the second year. Two is just a speck of time in a lifetime you have with your children. Spend it the best way you can.