To the Parents of Toddlers
Many of us heard people say, “oh the terrible twos;” however, some might argue that it starts a lot sooner. The tantrums, running around, exploring in unsafe places, curiosity of everything, picky eating (unless its dog poop at the park or an old cracker off the ground), shortening of naps, brushing teeth (oh the drama), and the development of their strong will without the verbal skills to communicate or reason. Parent, you’ve been thrown into a whole new world of chaos; but also, fun and magical learning.
If you haven’t learned by now, patience is an attribute that you’ll need not just for this toddler stage, but the rest of your and their life. Patience not only for your little wee one, but for yourself. If you’re like most parents, you may catch yourself blaming yourself or your partner for your toddler’s behaviors. While we parents are indeed responsible for shaping, teaching, guiding, and disciplining our children– we also need to accept that toddlerhood is simply wild for almost everyone.
We may also be comparing our child to other children their age and wonder, “why is my child not doing this or why are they doing that?” All children are individuals and grow at different speeds. If you are concerned, talk to your pediatrician about developmental milestones. There are various apps and websites that list the appropriate developmental milestones for you child’s age and activities to help them reach those milestones.
Toddlerhood is a difficult time because they have this new physical strength and lung power to throw these cosmic tantrums; but, they lack the mental and cognitive ability to reason with or process in full, the consequences of their actions. So, what do we do?! Many of us feel limited to time-outs, spanking, or yelling. Many of us also feel so guilty the first time we put them on time-out or swat their bum. You may feel like your toddler is still a baby, and they are! Though you need to find your own parenting style and do what is best for you and your child, know that there is so much more to disciplining than those three options of: time-out, spanking, and yelling.
There’s a great suggestion from the book, “No Drama Discipline” by Dan Siegel and Tina Bryson. In this book, one of the suggestions was to connect and redirect. Connect with your child, take the time to understand what the problem is. Sometimes, it’s a quick fix. Maybe your child threw their water bottle at the ground not because they were defiant and ungrateful, but because the suction wasn’t working and they weren’t getting any water. That could be a quick and easy fix if you connect with your little one.
Other times, we need to redirect. If the problem cannot be fixed immediately, try to redirect their attention to something else. Fortunately, our little toddlers have short attention spans and are often easily distracted by shiny, spinning, glittering, or musical things. Know your toddler and often it’s easier to redirect their attention than trying to debate and argue with a non-verbal kiddo.
Hang in there parent! Feel free to look up “No Drama Discipline” or “The Whole Brain Child” for more understanding of not just your toddler, but children in general.
If you would like some extra guidance and support focused on your own personal experience with your child, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a trained professional who can provide some expert suggestions.