Is Your Toddler Driving You Crazy?
If you answered, "Yes!", then congratulations, you're a normal parent. The fact is that most toddler's are difficult because they are entering a time in their life when they are trying to gain some independence. That's not to say they don't need discipline as well. Children may seem like they want to run loose, but they actually thrive on reinforcement whether be positive or negative. Keep the reinforcement positive and follow the ten guidelines below to help you keep your sanity when dealing with your toddler.
1. Keep them busy. There is nothing more scary than a bored toddler. Coloring, reading, painting, listening to music and dancing are just a few things they can do with or without you.
2. Get them outside. Even the weather is unappealing to you, there is nothing better to a toddler than jumping in puddles and getting dirty. Suck it up, Mom, and get out your rain boots! You don't have to stay outside for hours, go out in twenty-minute intervals to make it more manageable for you.
3. Assign chores. It's never too late for your child to learn responsibility, just don't expect them to do it exactly like you would. Start with something simple like putting their dishes in the sink and build up to feeding the family pet.
4. Let them be. Sometimes children, just like adults, need alone time. If they are content to pick at their toes for ten minutes let them do it.
5. Listen. Treat your child as an equal member of the family. Acknowledge when they are talking, even if they are telling you the sky is blue. We all want to feel important.
6. Let them decide. A couple nights a week let your child decide what the family will have for dinner. Unless it's something you're allergic to, just go with it. One of our families best meals consisted of soy beans, olives, cheese and crackers, and hummus and carrots.
7. Cook together. There are so many things a child can do in the kitchen. Measure out the ingredients beforehand and allow them to mix, pour and even crack the eggs.
8. Play games. To a toddler almost anything can be considered a game. Write the letter 'A' on five different index cards and hide them in your living room. Have your toddler find them and reward them with a prize. They don't know they're learning, take advantage of that!
9. Laundry anyone? Who doesn't like to stuff clothes in the washer and then in the dryer? It's rare to find a toddler who won't help with that.
10. Laugh...so that you don't cry. There's just some days when you can't win. Realize that you're child will grow out of this stage and you'll never get it back. Appreciate even the most difficult times because soon they'll be a teenager and will pretend they don't know you.