The Terrible – No, Make That Terrific – Twos! {Sponsored by The Parenting Center}

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by The Parenting Center. If you have (or will have) a two year old in your home, you will absolutely relate to this post … plus we’re offering the chance to win a spot in one of The Parenting Center’s upcoming classes.

The Notoriously Terrible Twos

I’m sure we have all heard the saying “the terrible twos.” While I’ve related to this saying on more than one occasion, I like to refer to this stage as “the trying twos” because I feel like this is when my sons mary famhave left their baby ways and became full fledged toddlers. They get into everything and create messes, all while learning to become their own little independent people. They have for sure tried my patience.

What about the time that my oldest son flushed my new iPhone down the toilet? Oh yeah, that’s one of the “momnesia” moments I have experienced. Momnesia: I forget how upset I was and all the crazy phone tactics I googled on how to save my iPhone (rice in a bowl, anyone?). Or what about the time that my toddling 2-year-old grabbed a wine cooler out of the fridge and threw it down the hallway, shattering it into a million pieces? Yeah, that tried my patience for sure, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to smell a peach wine cooler again and not cringe.

Or do you ever have that screaming child at Target? That was me this week as my youngest decided he didn’t want to sit in the cart anymore, and he repeatedly threw his shoes down the aisle while standing up in the cart. You know the scene: you are trying to look like you are keeping your cool while you are pleading to your son in the softest whisper in hopes of looking like you can keep it all together while inside you feel the eyes of fellow Target shoppers secretly judging your EVERY move? Yeah, that tried my patience as well and was absolutely terrible.

But The Twos Can Be Terrific!

I was thrilled to participate in the “Terrific Twos” class offered by our sponsors at The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital. I was crossing my fingers that I would discover ways to better understand my son and hoping to become a more patient parent. I was lucky enough to not only get help with both of those, but also to speak to other parents going through the same stages as me Parenting Center Collageand breathe that long sigh of relief that I’m not the only one! While we all shared our own specific questions and situations about our unique children, there was something to take away with each and every scenario. Throughout the classes, I constantly took notes on how to apply new strategies to my own terrific two-year-old.

I learned how to power share, that threats don’t work and how to prepare for accidents and temper tantrums with some prevention tactics. We touched on the topics of crib transitioning and potty training, and we were assured that it’s alright to back pedal. If something doesn’t work out the first day or so, it’s more than fine to put on the brakes and try again at a later date.

I loved the Parenting Center’s labeling of this class as the Terrific Twos because they are just that: terrific! Sure, when my son decided to wipe his own poop all over his outfit seconds before a news crew arrived to our house, it was quite terrible! However, I learned through this class how to turn unfortunate situations into terrific ones.

Alternatives to “No” and the Importance of Routine

One of the things I learned was how to use alternatives to the word “no.” I’m sure I say the word “no” waaaaaaaay too many times in a day, and I realized my son wouldn’t change his actions, so I decided this was a tactic to implement in our home. While in Target, instead of pleading to him to just stop and repeatedly telling him “no,” I should have responded, “I know you’d really like for me to pick you up and let you walk around right now. I need to get some shopping done. I will let you down once we finish shopping.” By using this strategy, I am acknowledging my toddler’s wants and feelings (thereby teaching empathy) instead of just blurting out a “no.” Through this process, I am teaching my 2-year-old to accept situations that he can’t control by acknowledging that I understand him. With this approach, he feels heard (isn’t that something we all want?), and he is more likely to cooperate and calm down quicker.

Routine was also a repetitive theme in this class. I’m the first one to admit that I am not an avid routine follower with my second son. He basically rules the roost. Our schedule isn’t the same every day because he attends weekly therapy sessions, so it’s a bit harder to make a set routine. However, since hearing how much toddlers thrive on routine I have now added more of a routine to our schedules. I’ve now noticed that having a more structured day has made nap time and bed time much easier, and that’s a huge plus in this household!

Parenting Resources for Infancy and Beyond

When I was pregnant, I took advantage of the classes offered at my hospital. I wanted to learn everything and anything about labor, delivery and becoming a new mother. As my children have aged, I’m looking up resources online for potty training, discipline and how to cope as my children enter school. We have a great resource here in New Orleans in the Parenting Center; they offer not only fantastic classes, but they are also ready to answer any questions related to parenting. If you haven’t checked out this gem in the Crescent City, don’t waste any more time!

How Can You Get Involved NOW?

To start, you can join the Parenting Center! Becoming a member is surprisingly affordable. If you break down the cost membership comes out to just $8.33/month! Even if you are not interested inparenting center ad becoming a member there are many classes that are available to you. An entire schedule of summer activities will be coming out soon but classes in May that are available include: Growing Up for Girls (9-12) on May 20th, Focus on Children Divorce Program on May 14th, and Infant and Child CPR (newborn-8 yrs) on May 15th. Still looking to learn more? Check out the Parenting Center’s Open House on Friday, May 30, 5:30-7:30 pm. Parents are invited to pack a picnic dinner and come enjoy the entertainment and door prizes. The event is open to parents, grandparents and children of all ages. This year Johnette Downing will be playing!

If you would like to enter to win a session of classes of your choice (value varies based upon class chosen by the winner) at the Parenting Center please enter below. 

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Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


    • While biting is not an unusual occurrence among toddlers, it is understandably upsetting to parents! Biting is most common between ages one and 2 1/2 when young children have very limited self-control and ways of expressing themselves. Many parents call us at this stage to discuss how to prevent and manage biting. Please feel free to contact us at 504-896-9591 if you’d like some ideas on what might be helpful for your particular child.

    • Young children seem to dawdle when we want them to move, and dash like Olympians when we need them to stop! Developmentally, young children’s “brakes” are still under construction during the toddler/preschool years. Anticipating trouble spots, such as leaving an outing, can help (“We are leaving. Do you want to ride in the stroller or hold my hand?”), as can clarifying consequences (“I need you to stay close to me or you will have to ride in the stroller.”) and consistenly following through (having to listen to aforementioned LO wailing in stroller). While impulse control develops over time, playing fun games that encourage listening and waiting, such as Simon Says and Red Light/Green Light, depending on the age of your child, can help with these emerging skills.

      • Thanks! She does red light/green light but then she sometimes forgets to stop. It is when I forget to talk to her about what I expect and what consequences are that we have the most problems. She’s 3 and really developing her independent streak now. Appreciate the response. I think we’ll do more red light/green light stuff

    • Helping young children learn to manage their “big” feelings is one of the biggest parenting challenges during the early years. Two-year-olds often get overwhelmed by their frustrations, and their limited coping and language skills often create a “perfect storm” that results in meltdowns. Emotion coaching and other strategies for helping tantrumming twos are popular topics in our two-year-old classes. We’re also happy to talk one-on-one in person or by phone, so feel free to contact us.

    • Tantrums are not unusual in young children, especially among the under-three crowd, who are learning to self-regulate and are often easily overwhelmed. A little prevention can help manage the frequency of tantrums, so good routines around eating and sleeping are very important. Sometimes changing the timing of outings/activities, or ending them sooner, also works. Beyond that, consider your child’s individual temperament and needs: if he is very active, does he get enough exercise? If he needs help with transitions, could you give a warning or use a visual timer before switching activities? Are there sources of stress that could be addressed?
      Once a tantrum is rolling, try and stay calm yourself (easier said than done, of course!). Remove him from the situation, if possible, so he is safe and there is not an audience. Of course, if the tantrum is in response to something you’ve decided he should not do/get/have, it is important to stand your ground. Sometimes a little empathy goes a long way( “It’s really hard to leave the park when you’re having fun”), but trying to cajole him out of it probably will be futile. Once he settles, offer a hug and move on. An older preschooler can be taught some simple calming skills such as taking deep breaths, and you can encourage and model those skills during more peaceful moments.

  1. I would love to get some advice on how to get my LO to sleep in her room all night. As well as how to deal with a “thinks she can do whatever she wants and not get in trouble” toddler. (She gets in trouble, she just doesn’ t seem to care.

    • Sleep issues may be the most frequent topic of conversation here at The Parenting Center since a good night’s sleep sometimes seems elusive when you are raising young children. Establishing a consistent routine around bedtime and naptime to develop a conducive sleep environment is key. After that, you can try either sitting in her room at bedtime, or coming back and forth to her room with the promise of checking on her, as a way to encourage her to stay in her bed. Decide (with your spouse, if married) how you want to handle middle-of-the-night wakings in terms of bringing her back to her room or letting her stay in yours. Setting up a plan you know you can follow is almost more important than the plan itself! Please feel free to call us (896-9591) if you would like to brainstorm some more specific ideas.


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