For many parents, their children mean the world to them and they would do anything to make sure they have what’s needed or desired as they grow up.
But, as much as parents love their children – they must also discipline them from time to time – teaching them the difference between right and wrong. This can easily become frustrating. When your children become toddlers and start to answer back or misbehave in response to your discipline the fun really starts… (that, is sarcasm at its finest for those that didn’t get it).
When your toddlers start to know the difference between good and bad they’ll (hopefully) gain habits of a good nature as they grow and learn.
To help you out in this long, tiring journey, we’ve compiled 8 great tips to guide you with parenting your toddlers.
While it might sound obvious, watching your child when they don’t know you’re watching them (which can be quite a lot!) can teach you a tremendous amount as a parent. While you may think you are constantly watching them – you can, without realising, put yourself in autopilot mode where you are just watching that they don’t harm themselves or wander off somewhere and get lost.
Take 5 minutes to sit back and analyse as to what they like doing, what they are comfortable doing and what makes them smile or frown. Do they get frustrated with problems easily? Are they patient? Are they independent? You will be the person who knows your toddler more than anyone but observing can lead to having that little bit more information to stop tantrums, fits and misbehaviour.
Know when your child is going to misbehave
Even as adults we can get frustrated at the smallest of things such as forgetting to drink that cup of tea sat on our desk that we’ve been craving… (on that note – let me just go and pop the kettle back on…)
Toddlers also get frustrated and can show this through misbehaviour. It’s key to remember that when a child misbehaves it’s because they are upset or dislike something and it’s one of the only ways they know how they react. Knowing when this is going to happen or what triggers it can save your toddler tears and your frustration.
Decide which arguments you are going to let them win
Saying ‘no’ to your toddler can lead them to think you are unreasonable, unapproachable and unloving. As parents, we try to avoid the word ‘no’ as much as possible but sometimes it must be said – I wouldn’t want to try to think of another word when my 3-year-old is playing with a plug socket (don’t worry, all plug sockets have safety plugs inside them).
Let them win the little arguments such as a little extra TV time, a little extra play time or other minor things. You can remind them of the times you were reasonable when you want to win the big arguments and as we know, toddlers can argue like their life depends on it. They may win the battle but you will always win the war.
Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is a brilliant way for your child to feel rewarded and loved. Encourage the good things they do like finishing a meal, washing their hands and behave well. It is one of the basics of parenting but it can easily be forgotten.
This might be a challenge, especially when your toddler is misbehaving but instead of shaming them, join in. It might sound crazy but if they are running around the house screaming, joining in will allow you to shorten the phase and direct them to the proper time and place for such things like running around the house screaming (if there is one?).
Understand your toddler’s mind. Empathizing with things like pain, tiredness and hunger will allow them to put you on a level playing field. Associate yourself with the healing process or the resolve to the problems and they will start to associate you even more with being the solution creating more of a bond between parent and child.
Teach (and tickle)
Tell them why you are doing things. Tell them what it means. Teaching your toddler daily will work wonders for them. Eventually, as they start to understand what it is that you are doing and the reasons behind it they will start to cooperate.
Relate things they are learning at nursery/school with things at the home. Counting things on the dinner plate, spelling things around the house and teaching them new items can turn any time of day into a lesson without them realising. Every time they get something right, give them a tickle and they’ll strive to get it right every time (although we’d recommend caution when you try to mix feeding time and tickle time!).
Reward good behaviour
The phrase ‘because mummy/daddy says so’ might be a phrase you use often when questioned but don’t forget to let them know when they are doing well once they respond to your ‘demands’.
If they constantly behave and don’t get rewarded, they’ll start to think that there is no point in behaving well, become vengeful or misbehave for attention.
If you start to encourage your toddler to do things on their own, not only will it make life easier for you, but it will start to teach them at an early age that they should start to do things on their own.
Try to avoid doing the things for your toddler what they can do for themselves. Most toddlers can do the basics around the house like putting their own clothes away or put the dishes away from dinner. Giving them, some responsibility early on will give them that all-important independence early on.
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