However, it is the one time in my children’s lives that I remember the most vividly. In some ways it was the best of times; in some ways it was the worst of times. (Those of you with toddlers in the house know EXACTLY what I mean, right?)
It’s so exciting to see them learning so much so quickly. They can be funny… and smart… and so, so adorable.
They can also be stubborn… temperamental… and just plain maddening at times, too!
I remember one particularly challenging day when my kids were 5, 2, and 1. The 5-year old was crying because his “shoe felt weird,” the 2-year old was insisting that she get licorice for lunch, and the 1-year-old was in the process of trying to take off his own (dirty) diaper. My husband turned to me and said “I feel like the warden at an insane asylum!”
So here are four quick rules to remember when dealing with toddles:
1. You set the boundaries – they push them.
Toddlers are born boundary pushers. It’s part of how they develop a sense of autonomy. They are learning how to become independent little people, so giving them “controlled choice” can help them feel more independent — and avoid a lot of battles.
For example, a controlled choice would be to lay out two pairs of pajamas at night, and let your toddler pick which one he wants to wear, rather than giving him just one pair and having his start crying because he doesn’t like them.
2. They love structure and routine.
Toddlers do really well when they know what to expect. Think about the last couple of “meltdowns” your toddler had, and there’s a good chance they were the result of some kind of unpleasant surprise. Maybe they usually have macaroni for lunch, and you dared to serve spaghetti. :)
Whenever you can, stick to your routines. If you know that you’re going to have to break that routine, start mentioning it to your child well in advance.
3. Toddlers learn through repetition.
You know the old saying about “practice makes perfect?” It holds true for toddlers, too. This is why they’ll ask you the same question over and over and over again. Be patient, and just keep answering.
Same goes for things like putting their dishes in the dishwasher after dinner. As strange as it might seem, you really DO need to show a toddler 20 times in a row which way the plate goes!
4. You’re the boss.
I always think that one of the most important jobs we have as parents is making sure our children feel secure. Not just physically secure from danger, but also emotionally secure.
And with toddlers, a big part of that feeling of emotional security comes from knowing that YOU are the one who’s calling the shots. As much as it sometimes seems like your son or daughter wants to be “in charge” of things like when to go to bed, what to eat, and who to play with, those are decisions for you to make.
And remember that if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with your toddler’s behavior, I’m here to help! Since you’re already on my list, you’re entitled to an automatic discount on Kids: The Manual, which has already helped thousands of families deal with things like fighting, rude behavior, tantrums, not listening, and more!
You can find out more – and access your discount – using this link:
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