It's the terrible twos — children at this age are curious as ever and it manifests itself when every item you own is turned upside down and drawers are pulled out and all their contents are strewn about the floor. Add these activities to your daily routine to help your 2-year-old learn more independence without destroying your home and your sanity in the process.
One Terrible Two has enough energy to power a locomotive as it runs through your home destroying everything in its path.
The solution to all this energy is to keep those Twos moving with you. Play a game of chase around the house. Run around the kitchen, climb those stairs and chase around the yard. If you aren't moving with him, he'll be moving without you and finding ways to stir up mischief.
While you're moving, don't forget to add sensory play. Put on some music and dance with your little one. Show him how to clap along to the rhythm. Catch bubbles, pillow fight or wrestle. Build a fort or tunnel for him to crawl through. Toss her gently onto the sofa or bed. A little roughhousing can help build trust between you and your Two and teach boundaries as you say, "Play soft," "No biting," etc.
Twos like to play with things other than their same old toys. Get a big cardboard "Box of Mystery" and go through the house collecting things that your Two normally doesn't get to play with. I like to get out the silicone spatula, whisk and soup ladle and let my Twos feel the different shapes and textures; your Two will love to sit with you as you pull out each item and show and tell about it.
During the Terrible Twos it is critical to teach vocabulary. Teach your Two words that he needs to know, such as hungry, thirsty, sleepy, play, etc. and during a meltdown, invite him to use his words. This will help you to understand what he wants. Learn those nursery rhymes again and sing them with him or her. Teach him how sing and do the actions along with you. The more senses involved, the more learning that takes place.
Bath time is a great time for Twos to learn. There are so many fun bath toys, squirters and bath crayons. Talk to your Two about the different colors of the toys. Tell her the water is warm and when she gets out of the tub say, "Brrrr, it's cold out of the tub! Let's dress you so you can be warm again." Play a game of Peek-a-Boo with the towel. He will look forward to taking a bath knowing how much fun it can be when you are there.
Thought you had your baby sleep trained? In some cases, think again when it comes to a Two. During this phase, Twos start to feel separation anxiety if they haven't already. The best way to ensure a good night's rest for everybody is to keep naps not too long and to make sure your Two gets lots of activity throughout the day.
You may want to reassess your Two's bedroom. Does she have blackout curtains to filter out noise and light from outside? Some circumstances may require you to get a noise machine to block out traffic or other noise. Is it too hot or too cold in her room? If everything is in order and your child is still not sleeping through the night without you there, try to remember that this phase will pass and you will get sleep again eventually. Enjoy your Two while he is just two.
Alicia is a mother to four children, including identical twin boys. She is also a former high school English teacher. She writes about family and home on her blog. She enjoys the funny things her children do and say and is the author of Motherhood or The Widening Gap Between Showers (available on Amazon).