Raising a little human is like finger painting, beautiful yet messy. As a parent we want to be the best for our children learning to navigate small bodies with big emotions can be challenging at times, regardless of your parenting strategies. Here we will talk about ways to help your child through the terrible twos without losing yourself in the process.
Toddlers love to test their independence so getting them to bed in the first place can be challenging. Create a Sleep routine, small children thrive on patterns.
Spot your child’s signs of tiredness, this way you’ll be able to start your child’s night routine before the grumpiness sets in. Most toddlers are ready for bed between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm. This is a great time to start your sleep routine because they sleep the deepest between 8 pm and midnight. It is important to keep it consistent on weekdays as well as weekends.
- 6:30-7 pm: Bath, Teeth, Diaper change/potty
- 7:15 pm: Quiet time – Read a book, or tell a story.
- 8:00 pm: Tuck into bed, Hugs, and kisses. Turn on the night light.
Always remember to refrain from using bedtime as a consequence or punishment, keep sleep positive and rewarding. Lots of cuddles, love, and soothing rituals. Keep in mind that a sleep routine takes more than a day to stick, keep it consistent for a week, and tweak the schedule to fit your child as you go.
Tantrums and mealtime
Toddlers and meals can be a battlefield. Figuring out how to break the cycle and bring your child to the table without the tantrum can get frustrating and sometimes draining.
Getting your child involved with dinner time prep is often a winner, give your child an “all-in experience”, let them season the chicken with you, or pour the sauce on the pasta. Give your child the daily chore of setting the table this way they feel important and they acknowledge that it’s mealtime without you having to pressure them to come to the table, they already know and feel like it was their choice vs your demand. For some children the feeling of control in their lives goes a long way so give them choices, for example, let them pick what color spoon they want to use today, the green or the purple. Make mealtime their idea, but most importantly have patience remember that children want structure and to be involved.
Trips without tantrums
Parenting a tantrum outside of your home can be overwhelming, for you and your toddler. While dressing your child for your outing, have a short talk about where you’re going and what to expect. For example “ Today we are going to the grocery store, we need some of our essential foods. What foods do you think we need on our list that are essential? When we get to the store, can you help me find our items? Maybe we can find a good summer treat for us as well. Getting your child involved in your outing sets a tone for the day it gives them a sense of importance and reason for going. Toddlers admire helping, that’s one note to always keep in mind. On the way set your boundaries for the outing before arriving at your destination. Hearing no at the moment of the request or action can start an unwanted reaction from your toddler. Letting your toddler know ahead of time your expectations and have them acknowledge and understand why before they get there prevents the NO outburst later. For instance, if you’re going to the store for socks, in particular, let your toddler be aware that you might bump into toys in the store, they are fine to look at but we won’t be buying toys today. The mission is to make it out of the store with socks. It is important to keep your toddler ahead of the tantrum. Being in the know keeps your toddler from being bombarded with no’s and rules on the spot. Be prepared Pack a “Mary Poppins bag” by this I mean pack snacks, a favorite small toy, downloaded iPad videos. Packing these things will prevent a tantrum when you find yourself out and about for longer than expected. When you are pushing into nap time or your toddler hits their breaking point of patience your packed bag will come in handy.
Keep yourself calm and collected
Parenting a toddler is about trial and error, what works and what doesn’t. Give yourself room to breathe. Take a time out if you feel like your patience is running low, go to the bathroom and sit for 5 minutes inhale and exhale and come back to your mommy role calm and collected. Don’t invite your frustrations into your toddler’s atmosphere. Take every parenting moment as a learning curve. Children follow by example if you’re calm they will follow. You are doing amazing, know that much and everything else will fall into place.
Below I’ve added some great links for Parenting the tantrums and coping with the toddler years.