The Terrible Twos

At around two years old, children typically undergo some significant changes to their intellectual, social and emotional abilities. During this time, a toddler’s growing need for independence may clash with their reliance on adults. As a result, children of this age can be prone to misbehaviour, outbursts and tantrums. Be sure to make clear what you expect from your child by consistently differentiating between good and bad behaviours. Time-outs—or quiet time—can be a useful disciplinary tool. Designate a quiet time-out area at home to send your child to when they misbehave.

Alternatively, parents can highlight a child’s bad behaviour by taking away privileges such as toys or time watching the television to help encourage good behaviour in the future.

During a tantrum, it is important to remain completely calm so as not to reinforce their conduct. The more attention a child receives, the more inclined they are to repeat a tantrum—ignoring them is often the best strategy.

Dealing with an outburst in public can be especially testing for parents. Removing your child from the situation is another effective strategy, as is diverting them with another task. Most outbursts occur as a result of tiredness, hunger or the inability to articulate their feelings, so try to work on preventative tactics. Circumvent tantrums in public by carrying snacks and distracting toys and ensure important errands are taken care of during their naptime. Above all, remember to keep encouraging good behaviour whenever possible—your example will ensure they learn valuable skills for the future.