28 answers

2 Year Old Boy - Very Active and into Everything

My 2 year old son is always on the go and into everything he should not be into. Whether its climbing his highchair successfully and sitting in it, getting into the toilet, putting everything in his mouth, eating crayons, running away from me and I have to chase him all over (say at social functions or other people's houses), grabbing things off tables or things other kids are playing with, etc. He isn't much of a tantrum thrower (only when hungry or tired), but I have to repeatedly tell him to not do what he is doing or distract him. I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for what to do. My biggest issue is how to keep an eye on him at social functions, because we are in a new environment and the dangers are unknown or easily available (unlike home), I feel like I have to follow him everywhere and I don't get a minute to breath or talk to anyone. I feel like I am overly stressed about it too because I feel like I am the only one who watches him like a hawk, and when others are watching him that is when he gets into something he shouldn't. At a recent party he keep on going into the bathroom, trying to go open doors and go outside, standing by stairs that where left open by other kids (he can't walk down stairs on his own yet). It was a nightmare!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone for the great responses and advice!! It was also nice to hear that I am not alone! I started to try the time outs with my son and they do seem to calm him down at least. I hold him and count to 10 and by 10 he is calmer. I do not have stairs in my house (except for scary basement stairs) so that is why he hasn't mastered stairs yet. I am trying to work with him every chance I get at grandma's house and I am thinking about starting him on the basement stairs with total supervision. He has been going to gymboree since 13 months - so this is another place to practice climbing padded stairs or ladder stairs. It is also a great outlet for him to wear himself out. I still have him in the high chair but I put the tray on the high chair when he is not in it. Plus I bought a booster seat and have been letting him sit in it supervised. My next purchases are a toilet lock - so I can leave the bathroom door open and a travel gate - that I can use at other people's houses that do not have one. I also am trying to limit social functions unless totally necessary or I am asking people to come over our house. I do not go to functions by myself with the 2 kids and I always make sure my husband or mom can come with me. We do try to go out without the kids and have a grandparent watch them at our house. These challenges will continue and change so I am doing my best to work through them. This week it is the fascination of the christmas tree and taking off the ornaments (we put the ones he can't touch up much higher!).

Featured Answers

My second daughter was just like that and the only advice I have is breathe deeply, this too shall pass. It is a sign of an active intelligence and imagination, at least it was in my girl, who learned to deal with reason at about 4. And yes, I spent years dashing after her, watching like a hawk, setting and resetting boundaries, grinding my teeth and enforcing time outs for the truly outragous stuff. Social functions were a total drag unless I could enlist the help of others to give me a break. If you can't do that, then all you can do is wait it out and think of all the fun memories you are gathering that will seem amusing in a few years.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 2 and a half year old and can understand. My question is do you have anyone to watch him when you go to parties? Are these parties where he can go? If not try bringing him a bag of goodies. Things you know can keep hi occupied for a while. They do have short attention spans. It can be hard if he eats things. There are books that are geared for toddler's to keep them happy/busy. The busy todder and the wiggle and giggle big busy book. Many ideas to to for rainy days and whatever. Maybe something will work.

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My second daughter was just like that and the only advice I have is breathe deeply, this too shall pass. It is a sign of an active intelligence and imagination, at least it was in my girl, who learned to deal with reason at about 4. And yes, I spent years dashing after her, watching like a hawk, setting and resetting boundaries, grinding my teeth and enforcing time outs for the truly outragous stuff. Social functions were a total drag unless I could enlist the help of others to give me a break. If you can't do that, then all you can do is wait it out and think of all the fun memories you are gathering that will seem amusing in a few years.

1 mom found this helpful

C.,
Welcome to the "Terrible Twos"!!! I do know what you are going through, I had a girl and then 4 boys, my daughter would sit and watch T.V. or play with her toys for hours, my sons were always into everything. My second son, Jeffrey, was by far the worst because he slept for an hour or two a night from the time he was born until he hit 4 years old. Jeffrey was into everything and did everything way ahead of the norm, for instance he started riding a 2 wheel bike without training wheels at 3 1/2 years old. He got the bike on Christmas morning and was riding it within a few hours of taking it outside. It got to the point with him that I would not go to family functions because he was so hard to handle and I had to do it alone, my husband would watch the older 2. I wish I could give you a solution, but unfortunately their isn't one, except to know that the "Horrendous Threes" are coming next, but eventually he will grow out of all of this, he is just learning all these new things and is very excited about this world we live in. I don't know if this helps, but in May my Jeffrey will be graduating from the University of Hartford - Barney School of Business with his bachelors in Business Management and employers are already looking to hire him, he is still very curious but knows how to get things done and done right. So see there is a bright side to those "Terrible Twos."
Hugs,
T.

1 mom found this helpful

Welcome to parenthood! And to the terrible two's!
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear C.,

If I have to sum up my advice to you in three words, they would be: HANG IN THERE! I know of what I speak.

My son, the youngest of three children, was very much like your boy. In fact, my parental goal for him was to keep him alive! I too had to keep my eyes on him everywhere we went. I got those disaproving looks from other parents, as if his behavior was due to my failure as a parent. Upon the advice of his school, I had him "diagnosed" by those in that profession. They wanted to put him on those "calming drugs".

I refused to drug him and instead found teachers that would work with a very bright, probabaly bored, precocious (sp?) little boy.

Today my "baby boy" is 23 yrs. old. He is graduating from college and, due to his creativity, is writing a novel that his professors say is publishable. He is about to "pop the question" to his soul mate - his girlfriend of seven years. He lives in, and very responsibly takes care of, my deceased father's home.

In short: I am VERY PROUD of this young man. His older brother and sister now joke and tell stories about how he could never sit still. You would never know it today!

So again, I say "hang in there". I know it is hard. On one of those days when you think you can't take it any more, try to picture him in the future - calm, accomplished, and happy!

All my best ---

As a mother of 4 young kids, it sounds to me like you are doing just what you need to do - staying on him like white on rice! Carefully select where you will bring him and decline invitations where you know it will be too stressful to have him along if you can not get a babysitter. This stage will not last forever and it is extremely difficult to go anywhere with 2 year olds! My twins turned 3 in August and they have been much more reasonable since then. Wearing the infant in a front or back pack may help free you up to stay as close to your 2 year old as is necessary. In addition to gates, I found it helpful to have a child proof knob on a door at home that I did not want my little ones going through alone. Good luck, and try to appreciate his cuteness even when he is driving you nuts!

My son is 16 months old and doing the same things! My parent's house is NOT childproof and this past weekend (holiday visit) was exhausting for me! My husband and I prefer to have friends here, or visit friends with kids so we are at homes that are also pretty childproof. Let me know if you hear anything good!

He's 2 and curious and normal. But YOU have to learn to control him. Not all kids are the same, but you have to figure out a consequence and then do it right away. At first it will seem like he is always in the corner or quiet chair or even in his high chair. For really active toddlers the high chair is a good way to make them be still for a couple of minutes. He MUST learn to listen to you when it is serious. I count, I find that works great, it gives them a little chance to think about what you want. For dangers you count real quick, but if its to come and get dressed you can count slower, but be consistent. Tell him come here ONE, if you dont come here you are going in time out TWO, dont make me get to three, come quick, if I say three you WILL go in time out..THREE!!!! then put him in time out immediately. At first he wont get it, but in a week you will see him come running on 3. No good..he has to learn to move before you say 3. You can count as slow as you like but you must put him in time out if you say THREE.

I feel for you--my son went through phases like this, but they didn't seem to last more than a few months. I don't have much advice, but I will tell you that it helped me to toddler proof as much of my house as I could. I got rid of my high chair, and bought my son a little table and chairs for himself (from Craigslist). He loves them, and eats breakfast and lunch there, as well as snacks. He also sits there to do puzzles, play with playdoh, etc. Mine is in our kitchen, so I can keep him there while I cook or clean (busy with something of course). I also almost always play music for him while he eats or plays, because he really enjoys it, and it keeps him wanting to sit at the table. For dinner, he eats with us at the table, but he kneels on a regular chair (never would sit in a booster). Also, I helped him with the stairs early on, because I wanted him to be safe, and the gate was left open or somehow jiggered open by him on more than one occasion! It didn't take him long to learn how to go up and down the stairs himself. You will have to be the judge of these things though--not every mother wants her child to go up and down stairs--I was afraid at first, but he was pretty cautious, and didn't try to jump or ride down or anything :) As for the public situations, you have probably already done this, but make sure you always have a toy and a snack and drink with you, something you know he'll like and something that won't be eaten too quickly! (My son loves those mini boxes of raisins, and packs of Quaker granola bites) For those times when I ABSOLUTELY need him to behave (like the time I was at the midwife's office and he started getting into the speculums!) I started bringing little lollipops in my purse. And if it will help, get one of those leashes. I never tried it, because I think my son would just flop to the floor and throw a tantrum, but it seems to work for many moms. Last piece of advice, make sure you try to wear your son out when you can--we go to the park when we can, and I have a small slide in my basement. Good luck. P.S. There's a book by Dr. Sears, I think it's called something like, "The Discipline Book." It helped me, gave lots of ideas for avoiding trouble, and may help you--check and see if your local library has it.

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