We are not toddler experts. Mr. Not so crafty didn’t have much child experience at all before our daughter was born and while I have a lot of experience caring for other peoples children in an educational setting, I have also encountered a lot of surprises on my own parenting journey. As our daughter has settled into the toddler stage, we have noticed a lot of wonderful changes in her personality, but there have also been a few struggles that were not there in the infant stage. It can get frustrating at times. We would like to share a few tips and tricks we have that we hope will help you (and us) survive the toddler years.
Evaluate Your Expectations
Toddlers are still getting used to the world. They will cry and they will scream. Try not to stress everyone involved out by expecting behaviors or skills that are not age appropriate. Every child develops differently, so just because the three year old down the street has an advanced skill, do not get upset if your three year old can not do the same thing.
Provide Your Toddler a Lot of Exercise
This will not surprise you in any way, but small children have a lot of energy. In order to keep everyone sane, help the little person in your life get the exercise they need to burn off that energy. We try to go away to a park or a museum to let that energy burn several days a week, but on days that is not possible, a fenced in yard or a toddler proofed play room can be a big help too!
Remember, Messes Will Happen
It does not matter how good of a house keeper you are, your toddler will make messes. They are learning so many new skills and unfortunately, messes and mistakes will happen before those skills are perfected. In our house, we do not scold or punish accidental messes. We do try to discourage food throwing, but do not acknowledge food messes that are made in the process of working towards using silverware proficiently.
Try not to Rush
Toddlers move on a whole different time table than adults do. They do not yet have the concept of time. You may find that you save yourself some frustration by leaving extra time in your schedule. Our daughter loves to help get herself dressed and sometimes even try to put on her own shoes. These are important skills we can not encourage if we are in a big hurry to leave the house.
We are all perfect parents, but then we actually become parents, and real children can be a lot more difficult than hypothetical children. We each enter parenthood with ideas of what our parenting style will be like, but sometimes that style does not match up with our children’s personality and ability level. Do not be afraid to change things around a little bit.
We hope this brief guide will help make the toddler stage just a tiny bit easier. We also suggest you consider checking out these tips for a happy toddler by Simply Sweet Momma and these parenting strategies from The Professional Mom Project. As always, we would love to hear from you! Do you have a great toddler tip or would you like to share a struggle you have with your toddler? Please leave it below!