Life with toddlers is difficult isn’t it? The precious little babe you once had is now a tantrum-filled toddler that seems to rage at what seems like nothing. Each day is new, beautiful, and a little bit scary. And maybe what worked yesterday is falling flat today so you feel like you’re troubleshooting toddlerhood and its challenges. Because you are. We all are!
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I sat in the chair over by the sunny window that I sit in every morning. I had my cup of hot tea and I was in my daily reading and devotional. That’s when my youngest daughter woke up and trotted into the room.
With glee she looked at me using those precious 14-month-old eyes almost as if to say “I got out of bed myself and what a great way to start my day!”
I told her good morning and went to pick her up as I saw her arms outstretched high above her head begging for some momma time.
But she cried.
So I tried to calm her.
But she reared back and busted my lip, throwing herself on the floor.
Despite any effort I made, she continue to melt down. In fact it was almost as if she melted into a little puddle on the floor. And every moment that she started to get calm again, something else would trigger her.
Like, no, she doesn’t fit under the cedar chest, no there’s no more water in this cup, and I don’t really want you mom!
These are the days when troubleshooting toddlerhood is truly tricky. Especially with the really young, non-verbal tots that struggle to even express themselves.
But through the years of raising my own kids, nannying, babysitting, and teaching, I have developed a system of working through these parenting issues in a peaceful manner. Let’s discuss a few ways to be a mindful and intentional parent to your toddlers and preschoolers…
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How to Troubleshoot Toddlerhood like a Pro.
Know there will be changes.
It’s part of having kids. Whether they change their favorite color on you, physically grow, or learn behavior from the crazy next door kids… there will always be changes.
And it’s easy to become frustrated. In fact, I talk about it in the book. There are ways to overcome being a frustrated parent and most of them aren’t trying to get your kids to conform to your ideas and your plans.
Just having an open mind and embracing both little and big changes make a huge difference in how you handle any situation.
Be Cognizant of Developmental markers.
There are times when I am trying to interact with my oldest and she just isn’t answering me like I think she should or know she could. And I wind up trying to convince her that all she needs to do is “use your words”. But the reality is, she’s growing and not all in ways we can see.
I have found the times when my kids are developming mentally and intellectually, they regress in other areas. And vice versa. So vocabulary and emotional stability tend to decline a bit the days she experiencing a growth spurt.
Sometimes taking a step back is all I need to realize this is why she’s not so resilient or easy to deal with.
Know you’re not alone.
Every single person has been a toddler before meaning that forever and ever there have been parents raising toddlers. But it also means there are others living parallel lives to you.
If you can find a community of people whether in person or virtually that can help you through your troubles and struggles, it makes the fight to keep your own sanity easier. In fact, if you don’t have a village or want to join a larger online community, we are building a parenting hideout for those with kids ages 0-5 in association with my new podcast that’s launching soon.
Learn that communication isn’t all in the words.
Again, many times when we’re frustrated and fed up, it boils down to communication. It could be that your toddler isn’t using their words or you don’t feel like you can get through to them.
But in fact there are 5 channels of communication and verbal dialogue is only one of them.
We can actually work on changing a situation just by the way we say something. Such as using a slow soft voice instead of a fast harsh one.
As parents, it’s also possible to change how we communicate by adjusting our body language, getting on their level, and being aware of our facial expressions. Our tone of voice also matters. There has actually been research showing that very young babies emotionally understand a change in tone of voice.
Read more about how to get kids to stop hitting from Kori at Home.
Do your best to go for a peaceful approach.
One of your best tools in your handy-dandy parenting toolbox is the ability to regulate your own emotions and feelings. Thus, you are more likely to remain peaceful in a situation versus your child.
And while some people have overblown peaceful parenting ideas, just shifting your thinking a bit to align more with “how can I be the parent my child needs” today is a powerful tool in troubleshooting toddlerhood and beyond.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!