I did think I would share a few things I have learned about surviving toddlerhood. Not that I am an expert in any way...even after four kids, each day is a new surprise. And some days can be heavenly. Others...well, a bit trying. :) Afterwards, feel free to share your own "survival" tips. I always welcome seasoned advice and tried true tips...
- Humor. We have to laugh. Even when there are times I have to hide my smile, I have to laugh. Like when someone is unhappy at the restaurant and suddenly a hush puppy goes flying across the table...you just have to smile (secretly). Otherwise, the tears may come. :)
- Choices. Toddlers love to have choices. I have figured out that so many of the "tantrums" (which I use loosely...that can be a cry of disapproval or a throwdown, kicking fit) are related to the feeling of helplessness. When I give choices, I am MUCH more likely to get compliance. Right now our todr is really big on wanting to walk...everywhere! So when he is being a bit of a turkey, my question is usually, "Walk or be carried?" More often than not, he goes for the "walk" and gets up to do it, forgetting whatever he was protesting in the first place. The key is to have few choices. Toddlers also get overwhelmed with too many choices.
- Routine, routine, routine. We have a fairly structured bedtime routine (among many others). That routine may sound rigid (though it is always subject to change) but it gives him a little power. He "knows" what is coming next. There is some comfort in that.
- Pick your battles carefully. If you choose every battle, you will live in a warzone. It is hard not to battle each and every thing. After all, we want long term character building. It is hard not to think, "He shouldn't get away with that..." However, character building is a block at a time. So some things we just have to deal with now, some later.
- Have a "support group". I am so fortunate to have a mom, a sister, and co-workers and friends to turn to when I am not sure how to handle things. Or to encourage me when I feel like a failure (hence yesterday's post...though that happens with all the kids, not just the toddler). They are also the ones I go to with the joys and funny adventures.
- Remember the good times. Really, the good is MUCH more than the bad. (Right now for us the bad is any change in routine, like having clothes changed or stopping for a bath) Our toddler is the sunshine of our house. He literally lights up our lives with his infectious giggle, his silliness, his quick wit. Why do I let a two minute tantrum cloud the whole day?
- Make them feel powerful. I think I mentioned this in Toddler Truths. Toddlers feel like they are losing all of the time. They are never old enough, never big enough, never going to "win". So sometimes I have to give him chances to "win" whether it is by carrying toilet paper from the store or letting him have just "one more" horsie ride.
I want to say a little more but must get some sleep. However, this is a good start. Please feel free to add to the list!