If your two year olds behaviour is getting worse then you need to lay down some foundational rules. Children are very smart and can find constructive and sneaky ways to get what they want when they want it.
You must lay a foundation of rules that are strong enough to last the test of time but also have enough flexibility in them to allow for some spillovers.
Children aren’t perfect and even with the best structure in place, they can still have there ‘off’ days. This learning process directly connected to more healthier and happier children.
Related: Two Year Olds Hitting
If you think your two year olds behaviour is on the brink of destruction then here are some 3 Action strategies to get them back on the straight and narrow fast.
Strategies To Handle Two Year Olds Behaviour
You need to have more patience with a two year old then you do with a one year old and more then you would have for a three year old.
Why? Well at two years old your child is going through some of the hardest developmental milestones they will ever go through.
They are old enough to communicate with you but have been learning more then they can express. This puts them at an expression crossroad.
They understand what they can, but aren’t yet able to communicate that to you. This is the recipe for aggression, frustration and tantrums and is why the comically named ‘terrible two’s’ come into play.
You must show patience with your child and remember to put yourself in their shoes when you can.
2 year old behavior problems can be severely limited if you are able to show more patience and empathy.
2. Structure & Discipline
With the right structure most 2 year olds can flourish. In this framework, there are rules that you set and consequences for breaking them. Many parents fall short as they have 101 things to do and can sometimes give in.
Instead, be rigid with your rules but polite in your deliver.
‘Please put your toys away as it’s dinner time, I’m hungry and I’ve asked you twice already. If I have to ask again you’ll spend 1 minute in time-out’
This provides a clear structure and is to the point. There is an element of empathy and you are not pushing your child to eat his dinner, but reminding him that you are hungry and he should stop his playtime so you can eat.
It’s subtle yet very effective and when used with repetition can work very well with two year olds behaviour.
Most 2 year olds respond better to commands that give show them why you want something done. A lot of toddler behavior management strategies fall to recognise that the simplest way to discipline a toddler is effective communication.
3. Repetition is KEY
The last key strategy to affect your two year olds behaviour is Repetition
This is the one tool you have at your disposal. Although it can, and probably will, drive you crazy it is scientifically proven to work.
At 2 years old your child’s brain is at it’s most repetitive stage. Have you ever notice that they copy exactly what you do, how you do it and can do it with very precise accuracy?
You can use this as your weapon too!
Be clear with your instructions and repeat as many times as necessary.
‘Please stop opening the fridge door as food may fall out and then you will hurt yourself. You don’t want to hurt yourself do you?’
Again, this is a subtle way to enforce your rules, be repetitive and also helps to show that they can get hurt if they don’t listen to instructions correctly.
Overall, your 2 year old behavior expectations shouldn’t be too high. Allow your toddler to explore and learn from you and their surroundings. Keeping your instructions clear and to the point will help your toddler understand the importance of your commands.
You can even create a 2 year old behavior chart. This will help to reinforce positive behavior and provide a small reward when they comply.