Home PARENTING “Keep calm”or how to survive to the terrible twos stage

“Keep calm”or how to survive to the terrible twos stage

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Next Sunday we are going to celebrate Andrea’s second birthday, however my partner and I have been already copying with his desire of independence for a while. The terrible twos stage has already started three months ago, when a big event in a toddler’s life happened: the arrival of a brother. Now I can say, Leonardo’s birth was for Andrea an explosive mixture.

Here you can read my thoughts about becoming a second time mum.

We have been warned about the terrible twos stage, but I think parents cannot be prepared until they face it. So we are now fully involved in this roller coaster phase, a day by day learning that I want to share with you. It is not a bible of course, I hope this vademecum could help someone or be of inspiration!

1) When a toddler says NO, he is not trying to challenge our parents’authority. It is a way to express his progresses, his growth, his independence. Repeat it as a mantra!

2) If he insists on doing exactly what you have told him not to do, you should try not to take things personally. I’m saying let’s try, even if it’s not easy! There is no harm in trying!

3) Tantrums, aka the anger inside your child that suddenly explodes: if he throw himself on the floor, the best thing to do is let him release his feelings and then give him a hug. When this happens at home, sometimes I go in another room, I take a breath and then I sit calm with him and I try to help him to express his feelings.

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4) A good glass of wine during a lunch let you be prepared to handle his changing food requests! He is likely asking for something that he doesn’t even really want to eat, so it’s better to remain firmly on the already fixed menu. Lunch times shouldn’t be a war, so he is allowed not to eat if he doesn’t want to and have a milk before going to bed. I guess, every now and then, the best is to be consistent with our decisions.

5) Obedience vs attitude. I think we shouldn’t expect 100% obedience during the day, because we can get mad over it. We need to adjust our expectations. For instance,  try to focus your attention on all positive attitudes he has during the day.


This is a reward chart play suggested from a mum friend. Every good action during the day deserves a star. At the end of the day, we look together at the stars on chart and give him a reward when he deserves it.

6) Public places are a good tester to measure our control’s level. I have learned (am I trying to convince myself?!) to repress my Italian instinct to shout everywhere we are. I usually give him an ultimatum, “if you continue to do like this we go home…” And most of the times we go home straight away. It’s not the best thing to do, I know, however the time we need to go home is necessary for both to reset and recharge.


7) A toddler needs to be committed to doing something. He can have endless energy and he cannot express that he is getting bored. So what do I do? When we go out I always have a Mary Poppins bag with a book, some cars or toys that he loves, a snack of course and water. In fact toddlers are not capable to express feelings. They can’t show properly they are angry , so you can easily solve a tantrum with a healthy snack. But even chips or a pastry can be perfect!

8) Don’t go shopping in evenings or try to avoid to go when they could be tired. Can you remember all the times your mother put you on a shopping cart? Was it fun? I don’t think so…

9) Time out, in Italian we call this “castigo”. But I really like this English word because like a game, it means a suspended time that your child need to understand what he did wrong. It is said that it should last one minute for each year of age. When there is no way out, I put Andrea in a time-out-spot at home where he has to stay seated until I authorize him to stand up. And when time out finishes, I explain him what he should do better or how to behave. I have to say, it is working until now .

10) There are good days and bad days, no matter what you try to do. If it is not getting better, raise your hand, ask for some help and go to recharge!

What do you think about? I hope this article will help you a little bit and if you have comments please share here.

With love



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