Being a mom of four kids, all ages 5 and under, is nuts. Literally, it is craziness in our house every day. Is it worth it? Without a doubt. But, some days it is hard. All of my kids are in different phases right now. We have twins in the terrible twos, a three-year-old who is trying to figure out her life right now, and a five-year-old who thinks she’s a pre-teen. I was thinking about this the other day, and I really want to share these tips for surviving the terrible twos, and beyond, that work for my family and I hope will work for yours.

Our twins are the hardest, and terrible twos is REAL people. My son is all boy, and he gets into everything he isn’t supposed to. Climbing, eating random, non-edible, items is his forte. Our twin girl is our little monster. Her screams are the craziest thing I have ever heard, and she throws some serious meltdown fits! They are experimenting with hitting and fighting right now, because they try to battle their two older sisters for toys. My 3YO has classic middle-child symptoms, and my oldest has turned into “little miss bossy” around all of her siblings. None of that is going to fly in my house… at least, not all of the time 🙂

*Some links in this post are affiliate links. That means that I may make a small commission if you choose to buy through them. Some items listed in this post may have also been sent to me for review. Anything that I recommend is done so because I have used and love it myself. Thank you for your continued support of Motherhood and Merlot. 

5 Tips For Surviving The Terrible Twos… and Threes… and Beyond

  1. Find punishments/conversations/other options that work for you. No parent WANTS to yell at their children all of the time, but sometimes we lose our tempers and then we feel guilty. It’s a vicious cycle, that’s hard to break when you have kids in the terrible twos or when they are 5 and full of attitude. Finding a means of getting through to them, whether that be time-outs, taking away privileges, etc… is something that is very specific to your family and your children. For instance, my 2YO’s climb out of timeout, or if one is in, the other goes in for fun. So, I have to sit there with them and I try to explain to them why they are in trouble and try to show them what the right way would have been. Check out this article from Parenting From The Heart about “Time INs“. You may think “they’re only two, they just don’t get it.” Don’t let them fool you, their little brains are soaking everything in and they KNOW.
  2. Don’t give in. I know… sometimes it is way easier just to give them what they want when they are pitching a fit but I promise you, the only thing that will do is give them the confidence to act up again and get what they want. If you reward their negative behavior, it will only continue. Our twin girl thinks she is the boss in our house. She has more attitude than any child I have ever seen! Sometimes she can be super sweet, and others she can break glass with her ear-piercing scream. It is hard not to give her what she wants, but I have made that mistake before and am now paying for it because she thinks she can do whatever she wants. Hence, the “boss” t-shirt.

    If anyone tells you that the terrible twos aren't real, they are lying to you! Here are some tips for surviving the terrible twos, & beyond

    Photo by Kirk Photo Co

  3. Try to Stick With Schedules: I know that sometimes life gets crazy, and you can’t always keep your kids on the exact same schedule every day. But, I have found it to be extremely beneficial for our kids, and my sanity, to try and keep them as close to their schedules as possible. They eat around the same time everyday, they take naps around the same time every day, and their bedtime is the same. Changing it up (like when you’re traveling) really throws them off and it can worsen behavior. If they’re younger, like my 2YO twins, this is ALWAYS the case. Sleep is key for growing kids, and when they don’t get their naps in or enough sleep at night, then the terrible twos come out in full force! Let’s be honest and just say that nap times can sometimes be the best times for parents.
  4. Be Patient: I always prided myself on having patience when I had one and two kids. When the twins came along, my patience level decreased dramatically, especially with the phases they are in right now. Patience is key if you want your children to respect you and desire to listen to you, rather than just be afraid of you. There are some days where I feel like I am not cut out to be a mom of four (i wrote about it)… but thankfully, I have a village around me who share in the pains of motherhood with me and remind me that everyone loses their patience with their kids. It’s making sure you get it back that is key. I could also add in “have wine” with this, because I feel like sometimes wine=patience.
  5. Acknowledging the Good: One thing that has worked really well for my oldest two is coming up with a reward system for continually good and positive behavior. Ignoring the bad is always an option as well, but there are two sides to that. Positive reinforcement has been shown to have great results with young children. Check out this article on Livestrong for some great info about positive reinforcement. For my children, have a chart for them (you can find a similar Magnetic Reward / Behavior Chart here), and we use it all throughout the month for different things. Most recently, our 3YO and 5YO have been struggling with things that deal with bedtime. Our 3YO has bed-wetting problems, mostly because she doesn’t like to be bothered to get up and go when she’s sleeping. She LOVES her sleep. Our 5YO has always loved to come into our bed at night. Mom and Dad don’t love that so much… So, we put on the chart that if they slept in their bed for 10 days straight, and didn’t have any accidents, that they would get a toy. We had some set backs, and they restarted willingly because they really wanted that toy. Well, they reached it! I decided that Lottie Dolls would be perfect for my girls, because they love dolls and little figurines, and smaller toys that they can pretend with.

You can find Lottie dolls on Amazon (click the photo below) or the Lottie Dolls website. The two we have are shown below.

This is the Spring Ballet Lottie Doll and Persian Cat.

And then there is the Pony Club Lottie Doll Set.


What are some other tips for surviving the terrible twos and other stages that work in your house? 

*Cheers to raising sweet, and crazy, kids of all ages and phases

joanna at motherhood and merlot