Ahh, if only toddlers had the language and developmental capacity to say ‘no thank you that doesn’t suit me at the moment’ or ‘I really would like it now, but I can wait until it is a better time for you’… but they don’t.
Toddlers are a bundle of evolution just busting at the seams. What sweeter sound is there than a toddler giggling, or that look of awe and wonder at a new discovery. However wee toddlers can be exhausting and take the word patience to a whole new level!
A way to help toddlers with behaviours can be as simple as not letting them get famished; offer nutritious food, not toddler milk but food, regularly. Pack healthy snacks and have them at hand and try try try to keep sleep needs as a priority.
Toddlers often resist sleep, but the longer they resist the more tired (and less able to reason) they become. Even down time helps. Sit with them and read a book, to help your little one wind down. If you have a baby as well, dedicate baby sleep times to some toddler time, the washing can wait a little longer. Get your toddler playing with flour and water while you cook – be creative to survive.
Toddlers are often a little more alert to their environment than we give them credit for so when YOU start to get tired and snitchy, they are onto it in a flash. Just when you need some space, they cling on like superglue.
When you sense your nerves getting a tad frayed, try some happy dance music for your toddler, some outdoors play time or grab the play dough.
If your are constantly exhausted, set up some activities that you have covered up, or in a cupboard, and at that moment when you really see them needing more than you can give, ta-da you bring out something you prepared earlier!
It can be so tricky, but being one step ahead can minimise the number of meltdowns for everyone. The old saying ‘pick your battles’ rings true for toddlers. Try to notice the great things they do, and if they do something that is not major, either prevent it from happening again by being ahead of the game, or just let it slide.
It is so hard, but the more positive feedback toddlers experience, the more they work towards it.
Have you ever tried to not say NO (unless it is a matter of safety) for a day and replace it with earlier intervention focussed on noticing the amazing abilities your toddler has? Give it a go; it is often what releases you from that unhappy conflict cycle that tired parents and toddlers can get stuck in.
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There are some common themes when it comes to managing our children’s sleep. And although every baby and toddler is an individual, parents tend to share similar responses to sleeping problems. One is hoping that things will get better with time, the other is finding it difficult to ask for help.