Have you ever feel like your baby has grown overnight? Your little baby, who you used to carry effortlessly in your arms, is now a toddler and is too fast for you to chase around. Kids ages one to three years are considered toddlers. And once our children have reached this age, you also have to step up your parenting game.
Raising a toddler is different from raising a baby. You can’t help but question yourself if you’re doing your best and if you’re raising your little one right. I wrote below some parenting hacks that I think will help you in raising a toddler, without you wanting to throw a tantrum yourself.
What Milestones Should You Expect?
Before I discuss some hacks, it is important that you have an idea of the things that you should expect once your baby becomes a toddler. You will notice milestones that are typical to a preschooler and some other changes physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
For example, your child will no longer be as limited in physical movements compared to when he/she was just a baby. Toddlers are so-called because they toddle, so expect a lot of times guiding and watching your child like a hawk when he/she investigates around in a place.
You might also notice him/her being more showy of his/her emotions and making physical gestures like waving or smiling. It is also during this age where they have an increased desire to be independent and to explore more, so changes in their behavior and demeanor are normal.
However, we want to say that not all children are the same, so don’t compare your child’s milestones to the ones from another toddler. Nonetheless, if something is bothering you, do not hesitate to consult his/her doctor about it.
Turn Off Tantrums
I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest worries when my baby reaches toddlerhood is tantrums. Don’t pretend, I know you’ve seen these scenes firsthand in a grocery aisle or in the middle of the park. A kid is having a meltdown and a stressed-out mom trying to convince him/her that it’s time to go. But before you get overwhelmed, let me reassure you that tantrums are preventable.
I listed this first because I feel like it’s one of those subjects that everyone wants to nail in parenthood. How proud would you feel when you are that mom who has their kid under control. You can start by merely avoiding situations that can trigger frustration. For example, I notice that my daughter gets extra fussy when she is hungry, so for road trips, we always pack snacks for her to munch on.
I already know that it will take some time before we get to the next gas station to buy some snacks, so I just brought ones myself. Speaking of road trips, toddlers are very energetic, so it’s only right that they need to use their energy. Otherwise, you have to expect a lot of “Are we there yet?” and other constant questions.
If you know that your toddler will be sitting unstimulated for a long time, make sure you bring toys and activities for him/her. Toddlers are less likely to throw tantrums if they are tired, so it’s important to help them drain that excess energy.
Another tip that I want to share is that avoid going out of your daily schedule. If your toddler knows what to expect, he/she will be less likely to get frustrated. If you want to encourage your child to wake up early, wake him/her at a specific time, so he/she will get used to it even if he/she hates it the first time.
New Age, New Rules
A common mistake that some parents make when raising toddlers is that they think they’re too young to understand the concept of obedience. And before you know it, your child will be too hard-headed to discipline.
However, do not overwhelm your child with a lot of rules. Chances are he/she won’t follow any of them to challenge you. You can gradually add rules over time, while also rewarding him/her every time he/she follows your rules.
When setting rules, make sure that you’re setting your little one for success. Don’t make the rules to difficult and explain how he/she can follow it. For example, toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep, but it can be hard to get them to go to bed. Perhaps a simple request won’t get them walking to their bed, and you might feel frustrated after hearing “no” from your child.
But before you react, remember to stay calm and repeat your request. Sometimes, distraction also works, and you can make these simple requests more fun for them. For example, this source mentioned how sleep sacks also work not just for babies but also for toddlers. You can make bedtime more appealing if it promises activities like stories and items like a toy or a pajama-like sleep sack.
What happens if your toddler breaks the rules? The first thing that you can do is to let your child notice the consequences of his/her action. For example, does he/she broke his/her toy despite you warning him/her over and over not to hold it a certain way? Let him/her realize that because of wanting to hold it the way he/she wants, it got broken, and he/she won’t have a toy to play with anymore.
Another disciplining method that you can do is by doing the consequence itself. If your toddler does not keep his/her toys neatly in the box after playing, then you have to take them for a day. It might seem too cruel for a toddler, but this helps them understand basic concepts like cause and effect.
If you happen to need to put your child in a timeout, make sure that you will explain to him/her afterward why you needed to do that. Be consistent in enforcing rules, and don’t skip the reassurance that you love your toddler afterward.
The Choice is Yours
Lastly, a parenting hack that I want to share with you is how you can make your toddler choose what you want him/her too. You don’t have to force him/her to follow you, but in a way, you are passively guiding your little one in choosing the best and appropriate decisions.
Instead of giving open-ended questions, offer the choices already. Toddlers will eventually ask you multiple questions, so you’ll be better off with yes or no questions instead. It will also help you to get him/her in the direction you want to, instead of him/her giving suggestions that will lead to frustrations when you’re the one who says no.