Infants are born with instincts. Some will disappear in a few months, but some will stay. What may be frustrating to a parent is simply the infant’s way of expression. Crying is normal and so is turning away from kisses or grasping onto items. As a parent to be, it is a good idea to read up. You too were a toddler once and that you are not maladjusted is because your parents did a good job of it. How to be a good parent to a toddler? Follow their footsteps
Ways to Be a Better Parent to a Toddler
Parental engagement encourages the infant. Breaking it down, a child needs food, rest and ways of satisfying that curiosity. Here are a few pointers on parenting tips for toddlers, which means anything from 15 to 36 months of age.
Keep the Mealtime Simple
toddlers need 5 to 6 small meals a day. Healthy eating habits, no junk or sugar, from early on inculcates a good relationship with food. A nice rule-of-thumb is you choose what he gets to eat. He decides how much and how to eat. How much to eat is deeply ingrained in every child. Toddlers don’t need much. Be sensible about food. Offer a variety and leave the child to it. Toddlers can get picky about food. Without yelling, understand that the reason is innate programming which signals to the child that the unfamiliar may not be right.
Walk The Talk
Children watch your every move as parental behavior is a powerfully ingrained instinct. The toddler is not sizing you up, just imbibing the lessons you passing on intentionally or otherwise. The little one is actually learning from you how to respond be it greeting someone at the door or handling a crisis. You will many a time catch your toddler emulating you. A girl will be mothering her doll and a boy enacting a charade.
Mistakes Are Good for Your Toddler
Mistakes are sometimes the best teachers provided they are not harmful. For example, you and your family are at the beach and your toddler is trying to build a sandcastle. You can see that the sandcastle will collapse at any time. Do not jump in and explain to the child. Instead, it is far more fruitful for the collapse to occur. The child will reason out, cause and effect. More importantly, he will feel the disappointment and early in the formative years, this teaches him the lesson that sometimes things can be negative. Drinking from a cup for the first time is a test. After some initial gagging, use words of encouragement like ‘let’s do it again’ without panicking and aborting. Sure enough, with some trial and effort and soaking, the deed would be accomplished. When poised on the boundary of failure, the challenge is greatest and the scope for growth maximum. You don’t have to babysit your child all the time. Toddlers need the chance to discover what they like to do. He might stroll out on a tour of front yard discovery or sit down with a pencil to draw something. This kind of activity is self-directed and leads to self-discovery.
Rewards Are a No-No
When a child cries after a fall or behaves adorably, do not turn it into a comfort or reward situation. For a toddler, a parent’s attention means the world. Attaching a deal to this alters the perception. You are signaling that over a hug, a treat has greater value. You can use it once in a while and there is little chance of an association being drawn by the toddler. Like in a mall, to hush his crying.
Bad Behavior Has a Reason
Toddlers, unlike babies, cannot be distracted. They are more assertive. They see themselves as substantial in the world and therefore the defiance. Being determined, they are also obstinate. They are insatiable explorers. They don’t come with an off switch and will crash when their bodies say so.
A tantrum is not bad behavior. They feel passionate about things but the capacity to control themselves when upset overcomes them. It usually comes up when they are tired or hungry. Only you can calm him down so that he can start to re-regulate. If it is a power struggle, pay no attention, just turn your other cheek.
Aggressive behavior such as punching and scratching are the most difficult for a parent to handle. Punching, biting, scratching, believe it or not, is normal behavior. That this is not acceptable is what has to be enforced. Don’t yell, keep calm. Rember he is watching your move too. By staying calm, you are encouraging him to also. Yelling will only rile him more. Respond immediately by removing the child, taking a time-out.
Good Behavior Gets an Extra Cuddle
There are three means of instilling discipline; preventive, supportive and corrective. Reinforce, encouraging good behavior by an extra cuddle. He wants a go at the swing. Don’t push the child already on it. Instead, praise your tot for being kind and asking. As a reward, you can push the swing. If you catch him throwing balls at the other kids, remove him from the ball pit, the time-out technique. Discipline constantly. The child will realize that there are consequences. Encourage apologizing.
The Pitfalls of Comparisons
Good parenting means instilling good manners, behavior, and habits. Good parenting is a reactive on-the-spot action and the timing of your actions and reactions should be such that your child learns and grows effectively.
Labels besides being unfair can tend to deeper problems in later years. Among siblings, there are bound to be differences and by praising one as ‘our little champ,’ the other is felt let down. And he will most probably avoid any kind of sport as he may not measure up. Understand that he is probably a terrific artist for his age and pick on that.
Go with Your Gut Instinct
The problem with advice is there’s too much of it out there and mostly conflicting. Trust your intuition. If he is upset with something, you should be the first to recognize that he finds it detestable and is not throwing a tantrum or an attention-seeking demonstration. Understand that activity he much liked before, does not hold as much in it anymore for him. It is a part of growing up.
Bits and Bobs About Parenting
Potty Training – It is a natural progression from diapers so make the changeover as easy and effortless as possible. Children love to watch modeling. So as the mother, when you are in the bathroom, you can take him along. Or an older sibling could help.
Caring for Teeth – Teeth care is crucial from the word go. Gently, using a soft baby toothbrush or a clean cloth with a smear of fluoridated paste, massage gums, and teeth both in the morning and before sleeping at night.
Sleep Schedules – Toddlers just crash when they need rest. But a routine must be established. A single mother is in more of a quandary especially if she is working. It is desirable that toddlers and preschoolers are taught to put themselves to sleep.
And Some More Tips
- Sidestep power struggles
- Avoid separation anxiety. Foster bonding with babysitter or caregiver
- American Academy of Pediatricians encourages no TV up to 2 years. After that limit to 1 hour.
- Set expectations
- Avoid negative language
- Choose your battles
- Give two options, both having the same outcome
- Choose natural and logical sequences
- If it’s not negotiable, don’t enter into it
- Hug it out
Yes, you got that right, it’s quite a handful bringing up a child and the toddler stage is the most asking. But armed with these few but important tips will make you better equipped. Your little ‘champ’ is calling, so off you go.