Friday, October 14, 2011

Toddler Tips

I'm not one to give out parenting advice, for sure, but I do know after three kids what has worked for me. I'm not by nature a patient person by any means, and I think that's why I strongly dislike working with groups of children. There's always so much noise and confusion, and they, frankly, get on my nerves! God has done a great deal of work with me, though, and I've learned a fair amount over the years about how to handle little ones. You'll notice most of my solutions involve laughter or taking a break. It works for me!

Picky, Picky - A toddler who suddenly becomes picky may not be as picky as you think! Instead of immediately offering different foods until something strikes their fancy, leave them alone with it. Give them the proper utensil, the food, their cup, and walk away to the sink to wash dishes. Or wipe down the counters. Or clean out the fridge. My little ones have always responded to that. Sometimes they just want a little independence. As long as they're not throwing food, let them make a mess! It will clean up.

Cranky Pants? - You know how it is - one minute they're playing happily and the next second they're clinging to the moving target of your legs, whining and fussing, nothing makes them happy! You try reading a book only to have it tossed on the floor. You try to snuggle them only to have them fight their way back down. If they are well-fed and have already napped, then I have the never-fail solution! Lay down on the floor. Yes, you. There is not a baby/toddler/child alive who can resist a parent lying on the floor. Selah goes from snit to smiles in 0.2 seconds flat. She rushes over an climbs on my belly/back to bounce and hear Mommy grunt every time!

Hyperactive? - Sometimes toddlers just have to burn off some excess energy! If at all possible, let them go outside! (Supervised, of course.) Even if it's cold or the weather isn't perfect, it's nice to get out of the house to get some fresh air now and then. While you're out there, play chase, toss a ball back and forth! If you're inside, get down on all fours and chase them. For a bonus, capture all the shrieks and giggles with a recording device!

Flat getting on your nerves? - Walk away. It's better to take a time-out for yourself than to speak or act out of anger or frustration. If you have older children, maybe it's time they spent 30 minutes to an hour supervising the little one. Leave the little one in their crib with toys/books for a bit. Put a baby gate in their doorway and let them play safely in their room alone. Trust me, you'll be a better mom if you take the time to keep calm. While in "time-out", have a quick snack, pray for patience, call your husband or a friend and chat for a few minutes, put on praise music, read a psalm, text someone to pray for you, or go for a short, brisk walk outside around the house.

"This too, shall pass." - What you're dealing with is a stage. They will not be this way, act this way, forever. Consistently discipline, love, love, love, "fight the good fight, keep the faith", "do not grow weary in well-doing", persevere. 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, a month from now life will be different than it is now, with old struggles simply a memory ... and new challenges taking their place! It truly helps to keep things in perspective.

1 comment:

Leah F said...

Love these tips, Jeni! Many are ones you have given me over the years as I have struggled with toddler stages :-) I particularly like the get on the floor tip. It works for children of a variety of ages-G, B and E all love it. I just can't have all three of them pile on me at once! Love you!