Jump to content

Menu

How do/did YOU handle everyday toddler-ness?


medawyn
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had a strong suspicion pre-children that toddlers were not my bailiwick, and now having my very own 2 yo just confirms my suspicions. I find myself struggling most with the every day boundary pushing. Big issues (biting, hitting baby sister, etc) I find easier to deal with, in large part bc of their lack of frequency. It's easier for me to be firm, patient, and consistent if the behavior is not repeated every hour (or every five minutes!). He is generally well behaved, in the sense that tantrums are rare (for now, although we're experimenting with screaming this week), he's mostly sweet with his sister, and he's generally cheerful and easy going. I just feel like I'm failing as a parent in the little (constant) things that go on all day with toddlers.

 

Two common scenarios:

 

1) Running away and general silliness when getting dressed. Drives. Me. Nuts. In self defense, we spend as much time in our pjs as we can, but there are just times when I need to get him dressed and not feel like I'm attempting to dress an octopus, you know?

 

2) Infraction of "small rules" usually followed by him saying either "No, no, no" or stating the rule and giggling. Like throwing a toy and following it up by saying "throw balls."

 

So what do you do in these or similar situations? Where do you find that deep well of patience I'm pretty sure I lack? I'm envious of moms who seem always calm and cool with toddlers (or kids in general, but toddler antics seem to push my buttons more).

 

I'm looking for ideas here. I'm not looking for a right way or a magic wand, just tips for working on desired behaviors, parental patience, and basic survival.

 

(Because it will probably come up: he sleeps well and has a consistent bed and nap time/routine, is offered a balanced diet - although I can't promise he always consumes one - and we play outside a lot, at least an hour, often more, every day. He's newly two, and his sister is 4.5 months.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No expert here, although I had 3...

 

When I found myself more irritable than I wanted, my friend told me to "draw a bigger circle." IOW, stop the progression of irritating behaviors while you still have control. So, just off the cuff, could you--

 

Have him sleep in comfy clothes that would be ok to wear the next day if you needed to go somewhere and he fought you on getting dressed?

 

Could you make transitions easier (if these are a problem)?

 

Could you laugh with him and still be right there to help him do what he should (no speaking from across the room)?

 

Could you lessen the "small rules?" Are your expectations reasonable? A quick review of developmentals might help reassure you.

 

Is his play area rich enough without being overwhelming? Are there some areas where there are few rules and he can explore independently?

 

Is your self-care ok? I see he naps and sleeps well--do you? Your own nutrition/sleep/me-time stuff needs to be in line for you to be at your best.

 

:grouphug: It's challenging.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a strong suspicion pre-children that toddlers were not my bailiwick, and now having my very own 2 yo just confirms my suspicions. I find myself struggling most with the every day boundary pushing. Big issues (biting, hitting baby sister, etc) I find easier to deal with, in large part bc of their lack of frequency. It's easier for me to be firm, patient, and consistent if the behavior is not repeated every hour (or every five minutes!). He is generally well behaved, in the sense that tantrums are rare (for now, although we're experimenting with screaming this week), he's mostly sweet with his sister, and he's generally cheerful and easy going. I just feel like I'm failing as a parent in the little (constant) things that go on all day with toddlers.

 

Two common scenarios:

 

1) Running away and general silliness when getting dressed. Drives. Me. Nuts. In self defense, we spend as much time in our pjs as we can, but there are just times when I need to get him dressed and not feel like I'm attempting to dress an octopus, you know?

 

2) Infraction of "small rules" usually followed by him saying either "No, no, no" or stating the rule and giggling. Like throwing a toy and following it up by saying "throw balls."

 

So what do you do in these or similar situations? Where do you find that deep well of patience I'm pretty sure I lack? I'm envious of moms who seem always calm and cool with toddlers (or kids in general, but toddler antics seem to push my buttons more).

 

I'm looking for ideas here. I'm not looking for a right way or a magic wand, just tips for working on desired behaviors, parental patience, and basic survival.

 

(Because it will probably come up: he sleeps well and has a consistent bed and nap time/routine, is offered a balanced diet - although I can't promise he always consumes one - and we play outside a lot, at least an hour, often more, every day. He's newly two, and his sister is 4.5 months.)

The dressing thing is something he will grow out of in a year or so. If he's ready start teaching him to dress himself then he might take an interest. Also running away for mine was attention seeking behaviour. As long as I had enough time the best response was to go do something else and in a couple of minutes they'd come meekly back.

 

Doing something you've told them not to for me would mean logical consequences. Oh you threw the toy. I can't let you have toys if you throw them because that's not safe. Toy goes on the cupboard till tomorrow then we'll try again.

 

As far as being calm I don't think it's always possible. I do find it easier if we all get outside time most days.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

_Playful Parenting_ was very helpful. The platitude that the days are long but the years are short is very true. Toddlers are not my thing either, and I have a crazy one right now. Looking forward to preschool in the fall. We have done Montessori primary then homeschooled after that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chocolate and alcohol.

 

....

 

.....

 

On a more serious note, lots of exercise and getting out of the house everyday.  An hour outside wouldn't be enough for mine.  On days we go to the park, we're usually there for 1-2 hours, but if we're home I know he needs to be outside and actively moving for more like 2-3 hours.  I'm not sure if the weather where you are allows that easily with a 5 month old, but there's always mall playgrounds or memberships to indoor play areas, too.

 

In regards to dressing, my kid's gotten worlds better now that he's almost 2.5.  I let him pick out his shirt, pants and socks, which leads to some interesting combinations, and most of the time I still change him on top of his changing table so he can't run away.  He's mostly responsible for putting on his clothes with a little help from me.  It does take twice as long as if I just did it myself, but he usually cooperates.  He's also usually more wiling to stop playing and put on clothes if I explain that we need real clothes to go the park.

 

For small things, like throwing toys, I usually remind him of the rule once, and if he continues, I remove him from the situation.  For throwing toys, I remind him "No, we don't throw Legos, we throw balls".  If he keeps throwing the toy, I ask him if he wants to go outside and throw a ball, and he usually grab a ball and run to the door.  My kid has a speech delay, so sometimes when he's misbehaving it's because he's tired/hungry/wants to do something else and he just doesn't have the words to tell me.

 

When I start losing my patience, we go outside.  He'll happily ignore me for at least 5 minutes, so it gives me time to decompress.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) We talk about the plan for the day.  This plan is recited several times a day.
 

2) No tv until dd is dressed and all the other "morning" stuff is done (teeth, hair, socks, potty).
 

3) If child runs away from me while getting dressed, I get up and go do one thing to get myself ready.  We are not playing the "run away" game right now.  We are playing the "getting ready" game right now.  It's no fun to play the "run away" game by yourself if mom walks away to go pack the bag.
 

4) Give a choice of what is next to get ready: What do you want to do first?  Potty, clothes, hair, teeth, or socks?
 

5) Clothes are laid out the night before.  I put the clothes in the dryer.  If you want WARM clothes, you need to come and get dressed NOW.

 

6) Understanding of why a child may be breaking a rule.  What is it like from his/her point of view?
--Is it okay to do a certain action at some times, but not others? 
--Is it okay for older sibling to do a certain action, but when toddler does it, there is a big mess? 
--Is the child bored, and needs you to arrange an extra activity? 
--Is the child lonely and needs to be with you?
--Does the child say, "no, no, no" because they know it will get attention from you?

--Does the child say, "no, no, no" because he/she doesn't have the right words to say, "Mommy, I need some cozy time with you.  Will you snuggle with me?  Or color with me? Or read me my favorite book?  Or give me a snack? Or roll the ball on the floor with me?  Or do a puzzle with me?  Or tell me again how much you love me and how special I am?

This too:

 

Ausmumof3 says:
Doing something you've told them not to for me would mean logical consequences. Oh you threw the toy. I can't let you have toys if you throw them because that's not safe. Toy goes on the cupboard till tomorrow then we'll try again.

--------------------------------------------------------
 

On the lighter side, if you have a toddler in the house, you MUST read The Honest Toddler.

Check the library for a copy.

 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wine and chocolate here, too! I am VERY MUCH a "baby person" and very much not  a "toddler person."  I love having school-aged child now. It was just that age range of about 18 months-4ish that really is hard for me personally. 

 

Giving two choices that don't matter--empowers them. (Ie, blue shirt or brown shirt? that kind of thing.) 

 

Setting firm but kind boundaries.

 

As much outside time as you can handle w/ a baby in the house. 

 

And mostly just trying to take the long view and remain calm and patient and happy. And getting some time to myself, a hot bath, and a book helped too.

 

Hang in there!!  (The new baby adjustment period was tough on my son, who was 3 at the time.)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am on my 5th 2 year old.  My boys have needed significantly more exercise to stay happy. We have to be very proactive in staying two steps ahead of the game.  Running away is a safety issue. I keep toddlers by my side, or I assign a sibling to them. They are flat out not allowed to run away because if they do it at home, it can happen at a parking lot or in a busy place.

 

As far as the throw balls scenario goes, I would say, "It's fun to throw balls, huh. You throw me two balls and then we will clean up and go (start laundry, load the dishwasher, get siblings started on the next school subject."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No expert here, although I had 3...

 

When I found myself more irritable than I wanted, my friend told me to "draw a bigger circle." IOW, stop the progression of irritating behaviors while you still have control. So, just off the cuff, could you--

 

Have him sleep in comfy clothes that would be ok to wear the next day if you needed to go somewhere and he fought you on getting dressed?

 

Could you make transitions easier (if these are a problem)?

 

Could you laugh with him and still be right there to help him do what he should (no speaking from across the room)?

 

Could you lessen the "small rules?" Are your expectations reasonable? A quick review of developmentals might help reassure you.

 

Is his play area rich enough without being overwhelming? Are there some areas where there are few rules and he can explore independently?

 

Is your self-care ok? I see he naps and sleeps well--do you? Your own nutrition/sleep/me-time stuff needs to be in line for you to be at your best.

 

:grouphug: It's challenging.

 

These are all great questions for me to ask myself... and remember on a daily basis.  I like the concept of "draw a bigger circle" to help with my frustration.  Honestly, he's a pretty good kid; most of my problem is me.  I have a feeling that I'm just going to have to accept not loving the toddler stage and acknowledge that it's ok to love my kids and not love a particular phase.  And that there is always wine at the end of the day.

 

As for my self-care, it's improving.  Me-time has been in short supply, but we're finally emerging from the newborn fog.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dressing thing is something he will grow out of in a year or so. If he's ready start teaching him to dress himself then he might take an interest. Also running away for mine was attention seeking behaviour. As long as I had enough time the best response was to go do something else and in a couple of minutes they'd come meekly back.

 

Doing something you've told them not to for me would mean logical consequences. Oh you threw the toy. I can't let you have toys if you throw them because that's not safe. Toy goes on the cupboard till tomorrow then we'll try again.

 

As far as being calm I don't think it's always possible. I do find it easier if we all get outside time most days.

 

 

Chocolate and alcohol.

 

....

 

.....

 

On a more serious note, lots of exercise and getting out of the house everyday.  An hour outside wouldn't be enough for mine.  On days we go to the park, we're usually there for 1-2 hours, but if we're home I know he needs to be outside and actively moving for more like 2-3 hours.  I'm not sure if the weather where you are allows that easily with a 5 month old, but there's always mall playgrounds or memberships to indoor play areas, too.

 

In regards to dressing, my kid's gotten worlds better now that he's almost 2.5.  I let him pick out his shirt, pants and socks, which leads to some interesting combinations, and most of the time I still change him on top of his changing table so he can't run away.  He's mostly responsible for putting on his clothes with a little help from me.  It does take twice as long as if I just did it myself, but he usually cooperates.  He's also usually more wiling to stop playing and put on clothes if I explain that we need real clothes to go the park.

 

For small things, like throwing toys, I usually remind him of the rule once, and if he continues, I remove him from the situation.  For throwing toys, I remind him "No, we don't throw Legos, we throw balls".  If he keeps throwing the toy, I ask him if he wants to go outside and throw a ball, and he usually grab a ball and run to the door.  My kid has a speech delay, so sometimes when he's misbehaving it's because he's tired/hungry/wants to do something else and he just doesn't have the words to tell me.

 

When I start losing my patience, we go outside.  He'll happily ignore me for at least 5 minutes, so it gives me time to decompress.

 

My head knows that he should grow out of it, but my patience does not!  It's certainly reassuring to hear that it does happen for sure.  So far, telling him WHY we need to get dressed doesn't provided any motivation, but I'm assuming that'll happen eventually.  Or I might just let him run around naked for the next five years.

 

And thanks for reminding me about the importance of consistency, immediate logical consequences, and taking a break/change of scenery for everyone.  Yesterday I may or may not have closed the nursery door to nurse for five minutes and get the less irritated me back.  

Wine and chocolate?

 

One thing to remember is "when crabby, put in water." Bathtub, shower, playing in a sink full of water. Spray bottles and buckets outside.

 

Eta:

I had a huge post to add to this but it disappeared in cyberspace. Too tired to write it again, sorry.

 

Wine and chocolate seems to be the universal suggestion!  We had water play all the time last summer... but he wasn't walking yet, so it was easy to contain.  He does love it, though, so I have a feeling that the mess will probably be worth regaining everyone's equilibrium.  Sigh.

 

And I lost a huge post yesterday, and I'm still pouting about it.  I understand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't remember. I think I've blocked it out! Although there are behaviours in my kids that I do wish we would have addressed more firmly and definitively in the toddler years - like obedience, etc. we're seeing the fruits of that now.

 

I am concerned about this.  Especially since toddler just wear me down, I might find myself perpetually ignoring behaviors that I really should be addressing (and conversely, harping on behaviors that he will ultimately grow out of with less prompting simply because they bug me).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

on a more serious note, lots of exercise and getting out of the house everyday.  An hour outside wouldn't be enough for mine.  On days we go to the park, we're usually there for 1-2 hours, but if we're home I know he needs to be outside and actively moving for more like 2-3 hours.  I'm not sure if the weather where you are allows that easily with a 5 month old, but there's always mall playgrounds or memberships to indoor play areas, too.

 

 

 

Just coming back to say that we usually spend lots of time outside, but it's an hour minimum on any given day.  Usually we play in the backyard (kicking balls - we love balls here) during baby's morning nap and almost always spend the afternoon between nap and dinner at the park.  Exercise does help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wine and chocolate here, too! I am VERY MUCH a "baby person" and very much not  a "toddler person."  I love having school-aged child now. It was just that age range of about 18 months-4ish that really is hard for me personally. 

 

Giving two choices that don't matter--empowers them. (Ie, blue shirt or brown shirt? that kind of thing.) 

 

Setting firm but kind boundaries.

 

As much outside time as you can handle w/ a baby in the house. 

 

And mostly just trying to take the long view and remain calm and patient and happy. And getting some time to myself, a hot bath, and a book helped too.

 

Hang in there!!  (The new baby adjustment period was tough on my son, who was 3 at the time.)

 

I just like knowing I'm not alone.  I love the baby year, and I'm so looking forward to 4+.  It's just the in between!  I've known that home schooling is most likely the right choice since before I was married, but I'm seriously considering preschool just to have 3 year olds out of the house for a few hours a week.  We probably won't, but it's tempting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you've already gotten some good suggestions with dealing with specific behaviors, but in a more general sense I find laughing--a lot--helps us survive things that otherwise might push our buttons. I mean, toddlers are wholly irrational creatures, right? And it's hilarious. For example, my toddler got a huge splinter in his hand recently. He sat very still and watched interestedly for several minutes while I worked it out with tweezers. No tears, no fuss. Until it was out--then he lost it. Screaming, wailing, throwing himself on the floor. Why? Because I wouldn't put the splinter back IN.

 

O_o

 

Obviously throwing toys and hitting babies isn't funny, but there are so many other things that, by sheer ridiculousness, can either be frustrating or absolutely hilarious. I make it a point to find the comedy in those situations whenever possible.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Avoid saying "don't do xyz."  Tots hear the "do xyz" part and even though they understand "don't," they just have to try it.  It's like they have to act it out in order to comprehend what it is you don't want them to do.  Instead, say what you want them to do instead.  For example, I used to say "keep it on the table" when I really wanted to say "don't knock it on the floor."

 

As for getting dressed, don't wait until you are in a time crunch to do it.  Include it as part of the daily routine and do it when it's easiest.  For example, dress him in the next day's clothes after his bath, or when he's sitting on the potty.  Or, some people do this when their tots are engrossed in the TV and too distracted to fuss about being dressed.  Also, at 2 he could probably dress himself with a little help.  Perhaps he would be more cooperative if he could do it mostly himself.  Worth a try, anyway.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just coming back to say that we usually spend lots of time outside, but it's an hour minimum on any given day.  Usually we play in the backyard (kicking balls - we love balls here) during baby's morning nap and almost always spend the afternoon between nap and dinner at the park.  Exercise does help.

 

Hah, no worries.  It's just the first thing I always think of because when I let that slide (like when I was sick last week), I end up with a half-wild monster who wants to climb on the kitchen table and jump off, and he forgets any word that isn't "NOOOOOOOO!"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just here to say that this thread is full of really excellent advice.  I'm on my 4th toddler and I *love* toddlers and this thread has still given me about 10 reminders of ways to improve the toddlerhood years (for me and them!).  

 

What irritates me is from about 5 until about 8.  It was a fairly traumatic period in my relatively-perfect childhood, maybe that is why.

 

Also if possible my best advice is to tailor the environment to the kid.  Probably this goes without saying, but try not to own anything valuable for a few years.  If you do, put it in storage somewhere.  If you have a climber, get rid of things that make climbing dangerous.  We put up the kitchen table and chairs for 2 years with my second - he just had this insane compulsion to climb up on it and jump off/fall off, and to push the chairs around the house and use them to climb on counters, etc.  We converted to eating at a low, round-edged coffee table for a few years.  We've never kept anything except non-dangerous pots and pans in the bottom cabinets in the kitchen; we don't own any plates or cups that you can break, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing worked that well.

 

Reducing down to the minimum rules just meant my kids learned to negotiate when we really, really, really, REALLY, had no wiggle room.

 

That was one thing I'd do differently. They never got to win because I did not have any limits except health and safety. So to them, I never compromised, although to me, I compromised 99% of the time. In retrospect, this was an absolutely terrible idea and was not at all suited to the personalities of my children or myself. I felt I was a total martyr, giving up all sanity, and they felt I was horrible because I never, ever gave in. It never occurred to them (of course, as they were just babies) that their entire life patterns, from nursing to bath time to all that was a compromise on my part, and buckling the seat belt was my only "win".

 

I let my kids dress themselves from 1.5 on (they were early with motor control). Whatever they wore, they wore. I seriously don't care. They still dress themselves. They look ridiculous sometimes. I don't care. Just get dressed.

 

One thing that did help was going outside every day, rain, shine, snow or burning heat (up to a point- 25 F or below, 100 or above) with weather-appropriate clothing and sunscreen, for minimum one hour, no maximum, was essential. We did that every single day until my little one was three. Every day. Outside. At the park. Sandwiches for dinner or soup from lunch. I can't deal otherwise.

 

If soemone brings margaritas to the park, say, if you are living overseas, that's even better.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It helps to realize that newly-two is still really young. Most people feel/treat the oldest like they are older than they are. My littlest is 2 in 12 days and we are still working on lots of things. His receptive and expressive language are behind where I think they should be, but his behavior is right where it should be. We do a lot of hand-over-hand obedience. "Get your shoes," give two seconds, then "help" him obey. It can be exhausting. Some kids are more compliant than others. Some are more active than others. Some are more prone to anxiety. And on and on...

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 year olds are really young. They are getting some bigger kid skills but are still babies on many ways. And I think it can be especially hard for a baby who has a newborn in the house. As well as that making it harder for the parent. My DS at 2 just needed to get out each and every day to burn off some steam. It was good for all of us. I would also say that kid developed good social skills from early on. But the other thing I was going to say is make sure you are having positive mom toddler time every day. Cuddle him, play with him, find a way to connect with him. I think kids this age can feed off a parent's stress.

 

I would also say both my homeschooled kids went to sweet private preschool for a couple years like 3 mornings a week. It was great in many ways.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think handling toddlers is a lot easier when you don't also have a young baby. My last toddler just turned 3 and I enjoyed him so much more than I did the others. I think I expected the others to act older than they were because they were no longer the baby.

 

I think, if you can, try to laugh. Toddlers really are funny. And, remember that he is very young and will outgrow most of this stuff really soon.

 

Hang in there. Having young kids is exhausting.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 is still a baby.  You have 2 babies.  3 is really still a baby in a big kid's body.  It's a tough season.

 

 

If you set a morning routine that includes getting dressed, it will become habit.  Habit = no extra thought = fights move to another topic.  Don't let him stay in PJs past breakfast on any day, and he won't even think of the possibility.

 

While building the habit, tie getting dressed to going to the park (or something fun).  We have to get dressed before we go today!  (said in your Calliou-iest voice you can muster)

 

 

Pretend that it doesn't bother you when he tries to run off, but hold him close and don't let him run.  Have everything needed to get dressed all set before starting and make the process as fast as possible.  Ditch any clothes that are fussy.  Elastic waist bands are your friend.  

 

As soon as he's able, have him start doing what he can for himself. If he can dress himself while you dress the baby-baby, things will get easier. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. I make as many things routine as possible.  At 7am when their clocks turn green, everyone (including the 20 month old) tidies their bed, chooses their clothes for the day and does their pre-meal chore.  After breakfast everyone does their after-meal chore, goes potty, brushes their teeth and gets dressed.  If we take a day off from the routine then I get whining and push back about it for the next several days, so 99% of the time we stick to the routine.

 

2. I accept that toddlers are still very immature (rightfully so) and I set them up for success.  We don't store balls anywhere they are not allowed to be thrown.  I only allow the toddler near the baby when I can be right there and intercept his hand before he hits - if the toddler does manage to hit the baby I ultimately view it as my fault for inadequately supervising when I know he does not yet have the self control to reliably restrain himself.

 

3. Distract, distract, distract.  A toddler who doesn't want to get dressed often forgets his objections when I slip his socks on his hands or pull his pajama shirt over my head to see if I can dress him without looking.  Warnings around having to leave the park may be met with a tantrum or running away, but if I just meet him at the bottom of the slide, take his hand and start walking home while talking about what we are going to eat for lunch or how many elephants we are going to see on our way home, then we can often get through the transition without him really noticing.  A hour-long grocery shopping trip is manageable (even when I was doing it with a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler in tow) as long as my attention was always split between the actual shopping and distracting the troops from their boredom. 

 

4. I pick my battles very carefully and give relatively few "commands", but when I do tell a child what to do or not do, I follow through - disobeying is never an option.  So I might say, "Pick up the book you threw".  Then I pause for several moments to give the toddler a chance to process the words and decide his course of action; during that time I don't stare him down, but rather look busy nearby sending the message that I have faith that he will make a good choice, and also giving him the chance to "surrender with dignity".  I give him as long as he needs to contemplate his options, but the moment he makes it clear that he will not be complying, then I step in, "Oh, my.  You are having a hard time listening.  I will help."  And I help him pick up the book hand over hand.  I don't hold it against him that he was unable to comply any more than I hold it against him that he is not developmentally ready to take responsibility for his own hygiene or can't be trusted to not run into the street.  He is where he is, and that it the point at which I will meet him and help him learn and grow.

 

Wendy

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first two were 22 months apart. It. Was. Hard. Very. Hard. My third came along 6 years later. Piece of cake.

 

As for getting dressed either get dressed every day. I had a rule my kids couldn't cone downstairs until they were dressed for the day. For any reason, no breakfast, no stories etc until you were dressed. The other option is, don't worry about getting dressed. With my 3rd I didnt (and still don't at 7) care if he gets out of his pj's. Some days he will declare a pajama day but most days he will get dressed as soon as he gets up.

 

I was very high strung and stressed with my older two. I wish I would have just relaxed and realized it would pass. I tell everyone my 3rd is like an only child but it was so easy because I was experienced.

 

Two is just a baby. It's easy to forget because they understand a lot. They just don't always know how to process the input.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't get to read the whole thread but the advice I read was good. I'm on my 3rd two year old now but found the first was the most challenging.

 

When I really find my frustration level going up we either go for a walk (exercise for me) or get a change of scenery. That might be a 10 minute drive, going to the park, playing at the mall, going to the library. Sometimes you just need a reset.

 

The behaviors you mentioned specifically sound like a normal child testing the boundaries. It sounds like he's trying to figure out if the rules are really the rules. Just keep enforcing them. If you aren't 100% consistent don't beat yourself up, just do your best. This age can be exhausting. You may want to focus on the two behaviors that drive you the most batty and then work on smaller ones later just so you don't feel like you are constantly correctling him.

 

My third child is probably my most challenging child personality wise but I'm more relaxed now too because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there I promise it gets easier!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The b est tip I have for you is to confine the toddler. I would make my bed and straighten my room and bathroom first thing in the morning and then I would SHUT THE DOOR. Knowing that there was ONE area of the house that wasn't completely trashed at the end of the day was SO soothing to me. I could also retreat there at naptime and rest in the neatness.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Distraction is awesome, try not to let situations disintegrate into a power struggle. We will often turn things into a game. For example, my 3 year old will try to run away when it is time to use the bathroom or get dressed. So we'll say, "You can't find me!" or "I'm going to get to the bathroom before you do!" He always falls for the challenge and forgets to resist once he's there. I second the recommendation of the book Playful Parenting. Sometimes I feel like it takes too much time and energy to parent like this, but in the long run it saves so much time and stress.

 

Really, this is a lesson that I am still learning with my older kids. For example, I can grump at them for being crazy in the grocery store or I can involve them in the shopping process which keeps them calm and engaged instead of distracted and whiney. My worst parenting days are when I get stuck in a rut of saying "no" and I stop being creative in how I interact with my kids.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember that new moms do NOT come home from the hospital with a well of patience!!!  It is something that grows with time, and seems to be not enough most of the time.  So as you learn to deal with your little darlings, remember that you are new at this and love them and yourself alot!!  You will encounter this newness at every stage ( or at least I did ) your experience will grow along with your children. Go easy on yourself. :hurray: :confused1: :grouphug:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Toddlers are exhausting for me. They just GO GO GO. It's hard to be rational after hours of that, especially if you have a little baby as well.

 

I control my kids via silly stupid songs. If they try to run away while getting dressed, I sing a stupid song about it, they laugh and stay put while I shove the clothes on. It is amazing what a song can accomplish. I will sing for anything, no matter how silly, if it gets them doing what I want. Today's song included a line like "pens don't go in your belly button, pens go in the drawer. Keep the pen outta the belly button or your belly might fall out." Whatever it takes. 

 

I also have a completely baby safe room. It's pretty empty. It has a mattress on the floor. I will put them in there when needed. Often I am "resting" on the mattress with them. Other times I'm taking a 10 minute coffee break with no hands touching me. I don't think I could survive without that safe space.

 

 

They never got to win because I did not have any limits except health and safety. So to them, I never compromised, although to me, I compromised 99% of the time. In retrospect, this was an absolutely terrible idea and was not at all suited to the personalities of my children or myself. I felt I was a total martyr, giving up all sanity, and they felt I was horrible because I never, ever gave in. It never occurred to them (of course, as they were just babies) that their entire life patterns, from nursing to bath time to all that was a compromise on my part, and buckling the seat belt was my only "win".

Wow...this is eye opening for me. I never considered this perspective, but it makes so much sense. I'm going to be rethinking how I handle some things with my 5yo given this.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Toddlers put me in a dissociative state.  Seriously.  And where one at a time traumatized me, I have almost zero memories from when I had TWO toddlers at once!

 

Babies are my heaven.  Preschoolers and up are my dream.  I love being a parent.  I adore raising children.  But toddlers are my kryptonite.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my experience with a very active boy limiting screen time helped greatly and finding ways to spend more time with him. I remember those days when trying to get ready to go and getting no cooperation and just crying in frustration. Just remember that this to will pass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Toddlers put me in a dissociative state.  Seriously.  And where one at a time traumatized me, I have almost zero memories from when I had TWO toddlers at once!

 

Babies are my heaven.  Preschoolers and up are my dream.  I love being a parent.  I adore raising children.  But toddlers are my kryptonite.

 

Can I like this twice?  I have, obviously, zero parenting experience beyond age 2, but I'm longing for 4+ or an endless stream of babies, even if they don't sleep through the night, if I could just skip toddlers.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the advice and commiseration!  I spent yesterday and today soaking it in and trying to watch myself through the day.  I'm finding places where I'm letting frustration get to me and realizing that I could turn to humor instead (even if I'm just laughing at him inside).  Humor and consistency are probably as close to a magic wand as I'm going to get!

 

I also realize that our morning routine is sadly lacking; we had a great schedule pre-baby, but it's been topsy-turvy since little sister arrived.  I'm still giving myself not-sleeping-through-the-night baby grace, but I know now that's a huge area to work on if dressing/morning routine is going to push my buttons.  As a contrast, I worked really hard to keep night routine the same and predictable, because I wasn't willing to mess around with toddler sleep during new baby transition.  That's still going (mostly) smoothly, so clearly routines DO work for this kiddo.

 

And thank you for the reminders that he is still just a baby.  I AM trying to treasure the little cuddles and baby cheeks and chubby fingers, because I know he'll grow up faster than I want.  I appreciate the perspective, both in terms of keeping my expectations appropriate and for looking past the frustrations to the moments I am going to miss.  

 

ETA: In a completely TMI confession, my first postpartum period started yesterday (I was keeping my fingers crossed for at least 6 months without, but no luck this time around either), which makes me feel a little bit better about feeling overwhelmed this weekend.  Darn hormones!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've gotten great advice.  I remember those days well because I had mine later in life and had never been around little kids much.  I went from work 15 years after college and being an executive in a government agency to home with a colicy baby.  And DH worked long, long hours and weekends for most of that period.

 

The key for me was to have a basic schedule for every day.  Of course there were exceptions and meltdowns, but they always did better when things were predictable.  We also walked/played outside A LOT.  That helped everyone.

 

And I saved a video or show for every day during dinner prep.  My oldest really got into Bob Villa, and I have memories of him watching that as a toddler with the baby in the high chair chasing Cheerios.

 

Oldest graduates from high school next month, and the next one isn't far behind.  So we survived!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I saved a video or show for every day during dinner prep.  My oldest really got into Bob Villa, and I have memories of him watching that as a toddler with the baby in the high chair chasing Cheerios.

 

 

Too funny!  My kids were Bob Villa fans as toddlers too!

 

For years, my kids would sit with Grandma on the couch and watch Murder She Wrote every night while DH and I were getting dinner pulled together.  Barney saved our mornings when they were little as I could get the baby fed and dressed while the toddlers were occupied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Toddlers put me in a dissociative state. Seriously. And where one at a time traumatized me, I have almost zero memories from when I had TWO toddlers at once!

 

Babies are my heaven. Preschoolers and up are my dream. I love being a parent. I adore raising children. But toddlers are my kryptonite.

Yes! I have big gaps where a friend will mention something that happened and I have absolutely no recollection of it. I realized until #2 was about two my memories are fuzzy. Coincidentally that was when he finally started sleeping thru the night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes! I have big gaps where a friend will mention something that happened and I have absolutely no recollection of it. I realized until #2 was about two my memories are fuzzy. Coincidentally that was when he finally started sleeping thru the night.

I have this too. Only after no 3 and in a bad way. It really scared me when I first realised that there were huge chunks missing from my memory of that stage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In general I am calm and cool, but even I lose it from time to time.  It's usually when everyone is out of sorts which creates a little monster in my 3yo.  On a good day I do the following:

 

If he wants to throw things, give him appropriate toys and a spot to hit (usually a laundry basket).  High energy - get him bouncing on the exercise trampoline or he has a bouncing ball he can bounce on.  If he wants to hit (which is the big one we are dealing with now,) I have been trying to get him to hit a pillow.  His first instinct when mad is to hit and then throw a tantrum.  I hoping a pillow will give him that physical outlet and a soft place to fling himself (instead of the wall or table that usually comes out and bites his head.)

 

Lots and lots and lots of outside time.  This helps so much with his behavior.  Inside he is constantly bugging his sisters or getting into things.  Outside he is so content to run around, climb things, jump off things, and can sit for a long time digging a hole.  He comes in covered with dirt, but at least the mess gave me several hours of peace.  As opposed to inside messy things.

 

Oh, he also loves doing the dishes.  If I really need to distract him, I ask him to do dishes.  Mostly he just plays with the water and bubbles, but it's a good solid hour that he is occupied.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a strong suspicion pre-children that toddlers were not my bailiwick, and now having my very own 2 yo just confirms my suspicions. I find myself struggling most with the every day boundary pushing. Big issues (biting, hitting baby sister, etc) I find easier to deal with, in large part bc of their lack of frequency. It's easier for me to be firm, patient, and consistent if the behavior is not repeated every hour (or every five minutes!). He is generally well behaved, in the sense that tantrums are rare (for now, although we're experimenting with screaming this week), he's mostly sweet with his sister, and he's generally cheerful and easy going. I just feel like I'm failing as a parent in the little (constant) things that go on all day with toddlers.

 

Two common scenarios:

 

1) Running away and general silliness when getting dressed. Drives. Me. Nuts. In self defense, we spend as much time in our pjs as we can, but there are just times when I need to get him dressed and not feel like I'm attempting to dress an octopus, you know?

 

2) Infraction of "small rules" usually followed by him saying either "No, no, no" or stating the rule and giggling. Like throwing a toy and following it up by saying "throw balls."

 

So what do you do in these or similar situations? Where do you find that deep well of patience I'm pretty sure I lack? I'm envious of moms who seem always calm and cool with toddlers (or kids in general, but toddler antics seem to push my buttons more).

 

I'm looking for ideas here. I'm not looking for a right way or a magic wand, just tips for working on desired behaviors, parental patience, and basic survival.

 

(Because it will probably come up: he sleeps well and has a consistent bed and nap time/routine, is offered a balanced diet - although I can't promise he always consumes one - and we play outside a lot, at least an hour, often more, every day. He's newly two, and his sister is 4.5 months.)

 

 

I think, in general, you just lack experience and perspective.  :)  Perspective because you're too close to the situation and because you keep telling yourself, "I don't like toddlers" and experience because if you had oodles, you'd know the above was really quite normal.  If you knew, really knew, it was normal and he was actually a great kid, then you'd have more perspective - you'd rise above it, look down, smile, and say, "This too shall pass."  I think that's the biggest bonus of having experience -the knowledge that "big" things are little things and they pass.

 

 

So, to give perspective, - the "no, no, no" you're hearing or stating the rule - is him thinking aloud. He's learning boundaries.  He's repeating what you want him to do.  This isn't defiance, disobedience, naughtiness, or really even mischievousness, if I am thinking of the scenario correctly.  This is him reinforcing the message he's getting from you.

 

He's simply firming up the rules and double checking them.  You say, "That's right!  No."  Or, "That's right! We only throw balls!  Good boy.  Go get me a ball and we'll throw balls."  He's looking for confirmation.

 

As far as dressing, the best thing to do is have him be an active participant.  "William, come.  Let's put on your shirt.  Put in your head."  (He participates.)  "Okay, now one arm.  GOOD!  Now the other arm.   Nope, not that.  Stop wiggling.  Give mama that other arm."

 

Know that active TEACHING and perseverance will result in this phase passing.

 

Toddlers are not mind readers and even when they understand, they really NEED affirmation of what they think they understand.

 

My guess is that your love language is not words of affirmation but the little stinkers really need to have ongoing feedback.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...