By Jodie Lynn
Who knew? Who knew when your bundle of joy became a teasing silly toddler, whom quite truthfully, resembles a mimicking parrot, repeating everything he hears. Who knew that he would throw a temper tantrum, constantly say "no" and pull off his diaper running naked around the house, quickly leaping out of the door and streaking in the front door in front of jaw-dropped neighbors?
Well, guess what - we all go through it. However, don't let the little tike run you bananas. Here are a few parenting tips that will surely make life with your toddler a tad easier:
#1. Stop, Look and Listen - While your toddler may not be making sense to you, if you will "tune-in" to what he is trying to say, you might just get it. He is exhumed with energy in learning all about his newfound developmental abilities and is surely trying to move forward in his own interpretation of all of the incredible adventures in this big old world. When he gets excited, get motivated to speak his body language and play along. When things get too wacky, reel him back into the real world ever so slowly without labeling, yelling or screaming.
#2. Talk to your toddler - not at him. When talking to your toddler, interject some of his high-rolling emotions into the conversation between the two of you. If he does something that you totally approve, dance and clap your hands in joy while implementing the same reaction and energy into the tone of your voice: "WHOOHOO! Way to go Jacob! Good job!"
#3. Treat Children (yes, toddlers) the Way You Want to be Treated - Everyone wants to be heard, and toddlers are no different. As adults, we are usually taught to validate our friends' feelings, and those feelings of other significant importance, by repeating back to them what they have just conveyed to us. After doing so, the normal reaction will be that their feelings have been confirmed - they feel "heard." Now, you are ready to voice your own concerns. Sound too grown up - it's not. Toddlers learn by how others' react to everything that they experience throughout a day. It doesn't matter if it's an evoked positive or negative reaction to something that they have done or said, or to what someone else has done or said to a situation (including the pets!). Don't forget that; they are always listening and watching.
#4. Brief Conversations with your Toddler is Priceless - Keep conversational interaction brief. Toddlers learn best by repetition. Forget long-winded explanations and use short sentences, suggestions and commands for the very best tolerance, and understanding, by a toddler. There will be a time and place for more in-depth explanations as he gets older.
#5. Brag on Baby - When your toddler has done something great, (and has displayed acceptable behavior), go ahead and brag to others about what he has just accomplished. Call Daddy, Grandma, Aunt, or even tell some of his favorite objects: stuffed pals (his favorite bear, hand puppet, etc.), a family pet, like a real dog/cat, next door playmate's mom, or maybe his favorite online character, like Elmo, Big Bird, etc. Just let him hear and "see" you smiling.
Always remember, put yourself in your toddler's shoes and remind yourself that while he seems terribly smart, witty and capable of understanding everything you say, he's only been on this earth for a mere two-years or shorter and can't possibly fathom everything you think that he should.
Having a little patience will prove to be an amazingly smart parenting tool in helping you get through the demanding and ever-constant perplexing wacky world of toddlers.
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