How to Be a Great Hands On Parent to Your Toddlerby Katlyn Joy | August 25, 2014 9:04 AM
Toddlerhood is a parenting challenge. You still chubby baby cheeks and cherubic expressions. But your little one is no longer a baby, but not yet a big kid. It's time to transition into childhood from babyhood, and that process isn't easy on anyone.
To make the most of this time, you need to be prepared. Understand that toddlers are a lot like very short teenagers. They are demanding, whiny, silly and prone to tantrums. They are also headstrong and impulsive.
Yes, those things are difficult to deal with, but this is the time when you begin to introduce the idea of discipline to your child. So hopefully, by the time you get to those teen years, they will be less stormy!
Sometimes toddlers get a bad rap for things beyond their control. If your little one is grumpy, go through a checklist. Does she need a nap? Is he hungry or thirsty? Too much activity going on?
To keep your toddler on an even keel, try to maintain a regular schedule as much as you can. Naps are a necessity, and make sure the tummy doesn't get empty. Have plenty of run and go healthy snacks on hands for busy toddlers.
Discipline isn't a Negative Word
Discipline isn't about punishment and a heavy hand. It's about limits and consequences, and keeping your little ones safe, respectful and in the end, happy. Discipline for toddlers is pretty straight forward, and likely exhausting.
Keep your rules simple.
We don't hit! Use your quiet voice. Don't throw peas at your father. If your toddler has gotten in the habit of this behavior, try these tips.
Remind your child once of the rules, when they know what's expected.
Do not repeat warnings over and over, because you only teach your child not to listen the first time, because you don't mean it.
Have clear consequences that fit the deed and the child.
Have a time out chair, a thinking spot or such for time outs. If it's a toy that's being used as a hammer, take the toy away for a set time. If he won't stop coloring on the walls, take the crayons.
Model the behavior you want to see in your toddler.
You can't very well expect your toddler to have good table manners, speak respectfully to others, or be patient if you and your spouse don't show the right way every day.
Praise and reward all that your child does right.
Catch them being good, have a sticker chart, a reward system or just give loads of high fives and hugs. Reinforce good behavior by noticing it.
Have a Positive Relationship with Your Toddler
So much of what gets said between toddler parent and child is "No!" To avoid the negative trap, go out of your way to build positive moments with your little one.
Get on your toddler's level.
Sit down and talk with your toddler and maintain genuine eye contact. This goes a long way to hold your child's attention and show that you are honestly listening to what is said.
Have special routines.
Bedtime is a great time for special routines, but you can find other ones as well. Always sing a certain song while she brushes her teeth. Read a special story at naptime. Play a game of I Spy when stuck in traffic.
Have fun every day with your toddler.
Try to have at least one fun moment in each day. Do some art project, from coloring together, to making fingerpaint out of KoolAid. Go to the park and kick a soccer ball, or go down the slides. Make a tent under your dining room table and read by flashlight.
Appreciate who you're toddler is.
You don't have to give empty praise or flattery. Tell her she's smart, that he is a good problem-solver, or how much you love the smiles they give.
Don't worry so much about the messes or mistakes.
Do not fret over little things, and try to keep the big picture forever in front of you. You are building a future adult here, and it takes many small steps to get there.
As a wise mother once told me, "The years go by fast, but some days last forever." That is never truer than when raising a toddler. Hang in there, because the rewards are immense and it is over so fast.
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