A guest post by Sarah Joseph
Toddlers- they are so darn cute! BUT, toddler behavior can also be frustrating, irritating and downright defeating at times. The emotional rollercoaster ride of a day with a toddler can be joyous, exhausting and thrilling. There are wonderful infectious giggles, exciting firsts, complete meltdowns, impatient screams and stubborn refusals all before noon. Thank goodness for Mommy sanity breaks – AKA naps.
Many of the challenges we face as parents of toddlers can be eased by understanding toddler development. By understanding what is normal developmental behavior as opposed to misbehavior we are able to respond more thoughtfully instead of reacting. The behavior is understood and therefore less frustrating. Once understood it is less likely to push our buttons, meaning we can stay calm and choose ways to respond. When our buttons get pushed we lose access to the logical, problem solving part of our brain and respond with our emotional, primitive side of the brain. That’s why we call it “flipping our lid” or “going ape”.
Another way to face the common challenges of parenting a toddler is by having a large laundry bag of parenting tools. This way we have tried and tested ideas for making our days run a bit smoother, for easing the hassles and quenching the toddler’s never-ending thirst for learning. As not all tools work every time, having a wide array of tools to choose from is helpful. This way when something doesn’t work we can simply grab another idea from the laundry bag until we find one that works for our child in that moment.
Here is a tip from my Terrific Toddlers Workshop. Not only does this tip make parenting less frustrating, irritating and relieve feelings of negativity but it also helps toddlers learn acceptable behaviors.
Terrific Toddler Tip:
Try showing kids what TO do instead of what NOT to do. You see our brains process information in images. So when we tell our children “don’t stand on the chair” they see an image in their head of standing on a chair. Kids do not understand No and Don’t the way we think they do. Instead try saying things like “chairs are for sitting” or “bum on the chair”. Surprisingly kids listen a lot better with this method and it actually improves our mood because we aren’t speaking in negatives all the time.
Not buying it? Try this little exercise with yourself or a friend: Clear your mind; you can think of anything you want but whatever you do DON’T THINK OF A PINK COW! Go ahead, think of anything. JUST DON’T THINK ABOUT A PINK COW! Now, was anyone able to not think of a pink cow?
Give this tip a try for a week and let me know how it felt and how your toddler responded.
Register now for our Terrific Toddlers workshop on April 23 at Cactus Club Southpoint.
Photo credit: Deb Brown Photography