What to DO about the TERRIBLE TWO’s

My third child is almost 2 years old and he has already started the “terrible  two’s” stage.  For the past couple weeks (since school started) he has been out of control.  It may have something to do with the fact that he has lost his playmates during the day because my 2 older children are now in school full time.  But even when they are home, he still acts pretty bad.  He gets into EVERYTHING.

Over the past 2 days, he has done the following:

  • Dumped baby powder all over the baby’s back and the floor.  And I don’t just mean a little sprinkle.   I mean everything was white – carpet, table, and baby.
  • Climbed on top of the toilet and got my hair oil stuff off the top of the shelf.  He took the bottle into my bedroom and unscrewed the top.  He then proceeded to dump the entire bottle of oil onto the carpet.
  • And the worst one happened this morning… he went into my purse and took out a bottle of Kanka.  I use this for canker sores that I get in my mouth on occasion.  He unscrewed that bottle and dumped it out on the floor, onto his shoes, and on the baby’s head!  Oh my goodness!  I freaked!  Kanka is a thick, sticky substance that cannot be cleaned with water.  I had to throw away his shoes, his clothes that he was wearing, and my pants.  Oh, and get this… he did this 5 minutes before we had to be out the door to get my son to the bus.  I did a quick sponge wash on the carpet, changed his clothes and wound up leaving the stuff on the baby’s head until I got home from dropping the kids off.  You are probably wondering why I would leave it like that, but I actually did not REALIZE that it was even on the baby until we were driving in the car.

So, those are just a FEW things that I have been dealing with.  I’ll tell ya, my 2 older ones did not have much of a terrible 2 stage, so this was not expected at all.

Oh, and I forgot to mention how my son has been obsessed with taking ALL of his clothes off, including the diaper.  And did I mention that he likes to do this when he has a poopy diaper???  Yeah, you can imagine what that has been like.  LOL

Well, you all know me and the fact that I like to google everything, so I decided to Google “How to Deal with the Terrible Twos”.  And wow, I found lots of great info! Here are some things we can do as parents to help them go through this normal stage in their lives.

  • Assist with Speach Development – At this age children are beginning to develop their speech and the way they communicate.  My son is a little delayed in this area, so I can see WHY he may be a bit tougher on communicating what he wants.  He gets frustrated and in turn acts out on that frustration.
  • Give Choices – Toddlers like power and authority just like any adult does.  But forcing your will on a child is not always the best choice, especially in the smaller areas.  Children need the opportunity to make decisions about things.  For instance, I have been asking my son what he wants to eat for lunch.  I give him a couple options and let him choose.  I have also been doing this with videos and letting him choose what he wants to watch.  This helps them develop their skills instead of making all the decisions for them.
  • Praise – Praising a child when they do good is a great thing.  I was actually watching 19 Kids and Counting the other day and the mom said something that really had an impact on me.  She said that we should praise out children 10 times more each day than we punish them.  Praise doesn’t always come easy either.  I often have to LOOK for things to praise my children about.   But praising a toddler gives them positive attention as opposed to the negative attention that they get when they do something bad.
  • Plan Ahead – Terrible two episodes often happen in public places, so it is important to be prepared when going out anywhere.  I have a big bag of “emergency toys” that I keep in the car.  I also never leave the house without juice and snacks and a change of clothes for each child (just in case).
  • Sleep – make sure your child is getting enough sleep (nighttime and naptime).  It is said that toddlers need 13 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period.  A lack of sleep can cause irritability.
  • Stick to a Routine – This is me all the way.  I have a pretty strict schedule when it comes to daily activity.  And now that school has started, we are finally getting adjusted to a NEW schedule.  I make sure mealtimes, naptime, tv time, playtime, and bedtime are pretty much at the same time each day.  Weekends are an exception because of church and other activities.
  • Stay Organized – Have you ever watched that show “Hoarding”?  The people live in complete chaos.  And I have watched the stories of the children that have been affected by hoarding and it is really horrible.  That is definitely an extreme, but there are some people who are just NOT organized.  But it is very important that you keep your living space in order because disorder can have a negative affect on a child for obvious reasons.  If they are already out of control, then they could very well become MORE out of control.

Those are all excellent points and I do follow all of them, but I STILL have a child who is turning two and is acting pretty terrible.  So, what can I do when these things happen?

  • Childproof the House Better – There are still some things I can do to keep things out of reach of my curious son.  I am going to re-evaluate this and see what else I can do.
  • Be patient & Stay Calm – There are times when I am able to do that more so than others.   This morning I was NOT patient, I can tell you that much.
  • Get Some Eyes Behind My Head – Well, since that is not exactly possible, I think I may need to watch my son a little better from here on out.  I really only turned my back for a minute, but anything can happen in a minute.  So I will work on this.
  • Love Love Love my Toddler – who can resist this face?

And how about you guys?  Do you have any tips or pointers that might help this exhausted mom deal with her Terrible (and Oh-So-Lovable) Two Year old?  Please comment!

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  1. says

    So care to share what your daily schedule is and what times you do what? I have three little ones three and under, and I think if I had a more set timeline of what we do when every day (including what little chores I get done and when everyday), it would really help everyone!
    leah (keller) hesterman´s last blog post ..Bedtime Conversation with Lily


    Painter Mommy Reply:

    OK, daily schedule is as follows:

    6:30am – wake up, bottle time for babies
    7:00am – breakfast
    7:30am – mama gets some quiet time to read my Bible and pray, while kids watch cartoons
    8:00am – mama gets ready then dresses kids
    8:30am – teeth get brushed, bathroom, get kids into the car
    9:00am – get 6 yr old to bus stop
    9:30am – get 4 yr old to kindergarten & talk to my mom on the way home in the car (9 month old takes short nap in the car)
    10:00am – wash the dishes, tidy up around house
    10:30am – play with 2 babies
    11:00am – prepare early lunch
    11:30am – put babies down for their nap (tidy up the house real quick)
    12:00am – My client work time begins (I work from home as a virtual assistant & graphic designer)
    2:30pm – babies usually wake up, feed them, and start preparing dinner
    3:00pm – let babies play or something watch cartoons, while I close up my client work before everyone gets home
    3:30pm – hubby and 2 older ones get home, discuss the day, do homework
    4:00pm – early dinner (hubby goes to work at 2am, so he goes to bed early and cannot eat late)
    4:30pm – clean up after dinner, dishes done, table & floor cleaned up
    5:00pm – kids go outside or downstairs in their playroom to play. If I am super busy with work, I will take this time to work a little more, otherwise hubby and I will join the kids and play, go for walks, etc)
    6:30pm – some nights we have bath / shower time, but usually at this time is when we start winding down. They can have a final snack & drink.
    7:00pm – jammies on, teeth brushed, and we allow them, to watch a cartoon. They usually pick Tom & Jerry.
    7:30pm – potty and then to bed

    That is pretty much how my new (back to school) schedule goes and it is finally working out pretty good. Of course there are always unexpected things that happen, so I try not to have too many expectations when it comes to schedule.

    But, sticking to a schedule really helps children to live a well balanced life. And remember that my schedule may not work for YOU, but you can come up with a schedule that works best for your family. And the best way to follow it, is to pay a little more attention to the clock.

    I wish you all the best!


  2. Shibani says

    Twitter: MrsScorpio2U
    I think the twos are the time to explore. They only get into mischive because they want to be noticed. Also being that u have a 9month old your son wants his mommy time 2. I would say park time. Just running in the grass time. Swimming classes. Reading a book. When ever u can make time let him know you are there for him too and have fun with him. You can buy play costume so he can use his imagination. You could get him into the train toys by Thomas and buy some tracks and train pieces so he can sit and build plus play. You can put on Word World for him to watch while u watch with him so he can learn and you can also sing along with him. Two aren’t that terrible but instead more a time of exploring.


  3. mom says

    Maybe somes gates would help for a while so he is in a smaller space.U can keep an eye on him better.Rotate toys he likes.Put some away for a wk. so they interest him again.Grow eyes on the back of ur head like my MOM ALWAYS told me she had. LOL! I’m proud of how well u deal with ur family issues.Don’t be too hard on urself ur doing a grt job!!! Luv U Mom


  4. mom says

    Forgot 2 tell u how cute the lil video of u & the kids is!! I LOVE IT! can’t believe they all sat for it.Did u bribe them? LOL luvya MoM


  5. Early Education says

    Oh my gosh! That face is so adorable. You’re right. I wouldn’t be able to resist him either 😀 I like the plan ahead idea. With my kid I made early education a priority. So while I don’t knock education to him all the time I do have educational books and educational games that I use occasionally to pass the time.


  6. Sam@terrible twos says

    Isn’t it just amazing all of the “terrible” things they need to learn every day?

    I like your:
    “Plan Ahead” tactic best because we have to remember that two year olds are always 100% focused on the thing that they want in the moment. Single mindedness.

    But of course a parent has a million distractions in a given second. So matching their energy seems impossible sometimes.
    Sam@terrible twos´s last blog post ..Dealing with two year old temper tantrums and hitting


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