Toddlers are FUN! They are also a lot of work. In order to maximize the fun times with these little guys, it really helps to stick with some tried-and-true strategies.
If your little guy or gal could speak, these might be their 10 parenting tips for their weary parents:
1. The fun in parenting me is just beginning.
Mom and Dad, I’m just getting started. I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. It would probably help if you, as the wise and mature one in this relationship, remember these concepts on my behalf. I will make lots of mistakes and I’ll need lots of patience from you for a long, long time, so please don’t use it all up while I’m still only a toddler!
2. I like to know what’s going on. Because most the time I’m clueless.
You call it structure. It’s about naptimes and bath times, and stopping-playing times and cleaning-up times and getting-in-the-carseat times. All I know is it always comes at the wrong time when I’m doing something else. But I have noticed (a little) that it’s comforting to do the same things over and over again. Gives the world a little predictability, you know?
3. Tell me what I can…and can’t do.
I don’t know what’s safe, what’s okay, what hurts other people, what makes people smile at me. I’m learning about everything and you’re my teacher.
4. Stay calm.
One of us has to! I’ll tell you a little secret…I’m not very good at being calm some days. Things just start happening inside of me; it’s a little scary. So it helps me a lot to know I can depend on you to be calm, no matter how I feel.
5. I like to go.
To the store, to the library, to museums, to Grandma’s house, to the pet store. I need to see lots of people and places. But it does help if all these places are short visits. I get tired easily. And we all know what happens when I get tired….
6. Too much is too much.
When it comes to going places and doing things, I think I like to go and do everything, but the truth is I get over stimulated sort of easily. Just like the tired thing. I can’t tell you when it’s happening, of course, but a couple of hours are a long time for me. When I get overloaded, I definitely stop learning new things.
7. Fun is my favorite thing!
Can we play games? Can we tickle? Can we march around the house like soldiers? Can we bend over and peek between our legs? I would love to pick up my toys if you can show me how to make a game of it. If you need me to sit still, I can do that much longer if we can sing songs and do finger plays together.
8. Have you been outside?
It’s amazing out there! There’s grass and rocks and trees and sunshine and cars and people and bugs and once it even dripped water on me from the sky! You gotta take me outside!
9. Teach me to read.
Not words yet, of course. But you’ll want me to be able to explore a wide world some day and reading will do that for me, so I need to be practicing now. Everyday read a picture book to me. At first I won’t want to sit still, but I’ll get less wiggly over time. Reading is a great way to calm me down for nap and bed time, too. And it means sitting and cuddling with you, one of my favorite things to do.
10. Am I acting out?
There’s always a reason for why I’m doing what I’m doing. I just have no way to figure that out…that’s your job. I may only be tired and a good nap will cure me. But if there are things I don’t understand and that scare me going on in my family or environment, I will act out to try to tell you about my discomfort. I don’t know what else to do. It’s up to you to be a detective and figure out what I need.
Well, that’s my 10 parenting tips for toddlers. They make sense, huh? I just know they make me feel happy and safe inside.
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 27 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and grab another 10 parenting tips