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Living with a toddler can often be exhilarating, exhausting and emotional and sometimes all at the same time!
Every toddler is of course different but if yours is particularly active and spirited, then you have an additional challenge.
Keep him in the picture
Although toddlers are starting to understand what you say to them, they become anxious when they don’t know what’s coming next so one of the best ways to diffuse potential problems is to let them know what lies ahead. He will understand more than you think
Be consistent and firm
Try to stick to the same routine and he will be more accepting. If he gets away with something one time, he will try to get away with it every time so you have to be firm.
If your toddler starts a temper tantrum, try to avoid bargaining. So don’t offer to give him something if he stops the tantrum. Be firm.
Your toddler has feelings too
But he cannot always express them. This may be when he resorts to temper tantrums.
Those temper tantrums
If you toddler has a temper tantrum then leave the room as he will soon stop if there is no one there to witness the tantrum.
Watch out for tantrum triggers
You will learn to know what triggers a tantrum such as boredom, frustration or even hunger. Be around so that you can step in before he even reaches the stage of throwing a tantrum. There may even be facial expressions or body language which could alert you to the onset of a tantrum.
Keep up the hugs and cuddles
Even though he is growing up fast, your toddler still likes to be babied from time to time. Take time to cuddle him, to play with him and to listen to him.
Your toddler may well have an emotional outburst when he is frustrated. You can help him with support and comfort while offering to show him how something is done.
Create a positive rather than a negative environment
And that means having a home that is child friendly with toys and activities at his level and if possible access to somewhere he can run and jump and shout. If he has plenty to do and explore, he is less likely to want to those things that belong to other members of the family.
Predict trouble ahead
If you know a particular place or activity is going to make your toddler very excitable, try to avoid it in the first place.
Choose soothing activities
Sometimes you need to help your toddler to wind down especially when you can see that he is starting to get very boisterous. Find an activity that involves water or other activities that have a calming effect such as finger painting, play dough or sand.
Reward good behavior but don’t punish bad behavior
When your toddler gets praise and attention for the good things he does, he is less likely to do the naughty things especially if you manage to ignore them.
Don’t expect the impossible
Give your toddler time to do all the things which need to be achieved every day – he is not an adult and cannot be expected to keep up with your pace. He needs extra time to cope with change and too may people and too much noise may well overwhelm him. You need to make allowances for this.
Be careful not to label
Always use positive labels when discussing your toddler with others and they will see him in a positive light too! Focusing on your child’s positive traits will change how you think and how your toddler behaves.
Don’t let meals become a battlefield
Toddlers have a natural ability to sense when they are hungry and when they are full so if you insist on something being finished, you are actually overriding this natural ability – even leading to future eating disorders and weight problems. Toddlers have small stomachs so everything your toddler eats should count towards his daily nutritional requirement. A good routine to follow is to offer breakfast, lunch and supper with a healthy snack mid morning and another mid afternoon.
Your toddler needs to run free
Exposing your toddler to the fun of exercise sets him up for a life of enjoying physical exercise. Apart from the health benefits, he will use up lots of his energy in the best possible way.
You will be promoting your toddler’s growing independence if you ensure he can explore and experiment in safe surroundings and if you allow him to make simple choices whenever the opportunity arises.
You are important too
Many mothers find the toddler years to be more tiring than a new baby. So make sure that you are eating and drinking healthily, getting sufficient sleep and rest and having some time just for yourself. If someone offers to look after your toddler for an hour or two to give you a break, then make sure you agree.
Take advantage of a support system
If friends and family are around, let them help you give your toddler plenty of new experiences. Outside of the home, play groups and classes and activities will all give you a bit of a break and provide extra stimulation and interest for your toddler.
You have a great adult in the making
Your toddler is like a sponge – everything you put in will be retained and squeezed out again at a later date! There are no guarantees of course but you have the chance to do your very best to produce a wonderful adult in years to come. Don’t let him down.