It is not always fun to go shopping with a two-year-old, but it is even more challenging to go with twins. I haven’t figured it out yet why supermarkets always trigger this two-year-old syndrome. Their horizontal protests on the supermarket floor gave me the chance to practice my parenting skills. But when everything in theory failed, I also tried bribing with chocolate and lying next to them on the floor. But nothing worked; they were just glued to the floor like pink chewing gum.
On more than one occasion, I went home without any groceries and two children chatting happily to each other as if nothing had happened. What could have been a lovely dinner in a restaurant, turned out to be a disaster. When I explained to them that we can’t run around and have to use our inside voices in the restaurant, they think it’s totally okay to do the exact opposite. – I said, “please stop screaming! People want to enjoy their dinner here.” What they heard was “please scream at the top of your longs and run around like Tasmanian devils!”
There is not an exact date of when these mood swings start or end. My girls
started just before they turned two and even now they are four years old we have syndrome flashbacks. Every child is different and needs a different approach.
Here are some tips and strategies of how I dealt with terrible twos:
- Calm down one of the twins first
When they’re both lying on the floor screaming, I focus my attention on one of the twins first. (Usually the one I can convince the easiest at that time.) That already saves half the stress and after that, you have more time to calm down or distract your other child as well. Most of the time, her sister would control her meltdown quickly since they imitate each other in behavior and emotions very often.
- Show understanding
It sounds crazy but when I try to understand my toddlers’ emotions during a tantrum, they usually change their mood back to normal. I ask them questions like: “I see you are angry because you can’t have another ice cream.” And I also explain to them why not. Because two-year-olds think there’s no limit for the amount of ice cream, they can eat. After quite some time they somehow try to express their feelings in a normal way. Not immediately, it takes time. If this doesn’t work, I just wait until they calm down.
- Distract attention
Sometimes when I notice that they both get cranky, I try to distract them with toys or things to look at. “Look there’s a pink cat with blue dots crossing the street”! At least I get them occupied until we reach the supermarket. Always works. Well almost. And sometimes it is better to let your children rage instead of trying to prevent the tantrum because they can let go of their emotions. The great thing about this is that they don’t have to deal with these emotions at night and sleep better as a result.
My girls continuously compete with each other, and they try to get as much attention from me and their dad at the same time. So I found it more difficult to teach them rules than their older brother. Apparently, the need to be loved by the parents is less, after all, they have the unconditional love of each other.