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Managing toddler behavior as a mom has its challenges. It’s daunting, frustrating, and sad at the same time. You don’t know when you are overdoing it with discipline and need to apply more. You are transitioning from being a mom who did everything for your child to have to fall back a little and let your toddler explore.
As a mom, I get it. This is something that I have struggled with and still struggling with. I want to make sure that I give my toddler everything he needs to be successful and know that your toddler must follow the rules in the home and society.
I don’t want to repeat unhealthy patterns with me growing up, so I’ve decided to take a different approach when I want to manage my toddler’s behavior. Most of the time, the behavior is not bad, and this is something that I am careful about to make sure that I am being appropriate when asking my toddler to correct his behavior.
This post is about five ways to manage toddler behavior.
Stay Calm for Good Toddler Behavior
The first thing that you want to do is stay calm, toddlers. Toddler will try you and try your patience. Toddlers will try your life, and you have to remain calm. When dealing with toddlers, they are brand new to Earth and testing limits. Every time they do something, you don’t want to overreact or act like a psychopath. Remember that they’re doing this because of curiosity and not to make you angry.
Some of the actions that could result in you getting mad, frustrated, and exploding on them include:
- Throwing the flour all over the floor
- Drawing all over the wall
- Not doing what you have asked them to do in general.
You have to remember to stay calm. And do not want to react to your toddler out of frustration because that generates fear. You never want your child to be afraid of you. So always stay calm before any corrective action with your toddler. I know it’s tough, but you have to start by staying calm and remembering you got this; it’s not a power struggle. You are here to teach and guide.
Give Toddler Grace
Give your child a break. As adults and parents, we forget that children are brand new and don’t know anything about anything. We assume toddlers know more than they do, which is incorrect. With the young toddler age starting around 15-16 months, you have a long time of having to adjust and give your child grace. Often, when you start trying to provide corrections, we as parents sometimes begin with anger, and you forget to give them a break and give them grace.
Your toddler was born during a time much different than the time where we were born. I’m a Millennial Mom, which makes my toddler Generation Alpha. Millennials were born when we didn’t have a pandemic like our children have now. So a lot of our lives before they were born to have changed. You have to give them grace and understand that the world they were born into was not the world you were born into.
Know that not everything toddlers do is terrible and that it will allow them also to give him a chance to think about consequences. Just because they do something, it’s not always a corrective action that’s needed. Sometimes it’s just giving your toddler grace, saying things like, “we don’t do that “or” put that here.”
Be Consistent, Be Be Consistent
At this age, consistency is critical. It’s not only about building a routine, but it’s also about letting your toddler know that if they’re doing something incorrectly, you’re correcting the behavior every time they do it. This is going to be crucial, and I know that’s hard. If you’re consistent with corrective or directive, you will notice that it positively affects your toddler over time. You might think the actions of consistency have to be significant. However, small acts count as wins.
Being consistent is bedtime, reading books, or brushing their teeth. An example of this is whenever my son and I are getting ready to leave the house; I brush his hair. My son doesn’t like it when I brush his hair, but he knows we’re prepared to go. At that time, he will brush his teeth, and I’m doing his hair, and we can be randomly sitting somewhere, or he can be at daycare, and he will take a comb and mimic the action of combing his hair. This is a direct result of me being consistent with when, when, and how I push his hair to learn that brushing his hair is something we do daily.
Distraction is the Hidden Gem to Toddler Behavior
Becoming the queen of distraction is the gem that keeps on gemming. Not everything needs a response. If you see your toddler jumping all over the place, redirect them to do something else. You know, they’re acting up in the grocery store; give them the iPad.
Not everything requires discipline. Sometimes toddlers don’t know what to do, so they try things out to see what sticks. Sometimes the art of distraction will help get you to where you have to be. Also, you can get the result that you’re looking for it, and trust me; I get it.
I have a dog and a toddler. It’s like having two children, so I have to distract both of them simultaneously. If you have multiple children, trust me that you understand distractions. Distraction could mean you want them to sit in the chair, so you offer your toddler some chips or sing the Cocomelon song. You have to find a way to distract the toddler from accomplishing the task at hand and doing it in a way where you can keep the peace and finish the task without making everyone upset.
Don’t Put Yourself In Those Situations
Avoid stressful situations. You’re like, what is that? Avoiding stressful situations means that you do not do something that you know you are incapable of controlling most of the outcome when it’s just you and your toddler.
For example, if my husband is at work in the mornings, we walk our dog. I have to take my toddler, Noah, with me while walking my dog. I was doing it for a while, but it was becoming frustrating. I’m trying to walk my dog, Cooper, but also I have to watch my toddler, Noah, because he will start running across the street, picking up grass, and just doing usual toddler stuff. It became a lot. So I had to develop a solution that wouldn’t be stressful for us, which meant that my husband and I had to create a different system that would keep walking our dog from becoming a stressful situation.
We decided to separate the toddler from walking or have my husband walk the dog, and then I would deal with Noah. You know stressful situations in advance so that you’re not freaking out your toddler and not getting into this power struggle that happens in this age bracket with them. You don’t even need to do that. If you know it’s a situation you cannot control, do not put yourself in it. It’s is not your toddler’s fault that you have to walk the dog in that they’re up and you have to watch them.
Peace Over Purpose For Managing Toddler Behavior
If it’s unavoidable, meaning you have to take your toddler into a space where it’s stressful, then here is another tip. You will have to master the art of giving in. I sometimes think as parents, when we’re transitioning from being an infant-parent where you have all this control over your child to when you are a toddler parent, you don’t have as much control over the child. It can be daunting. That’s where the power struggle comes in. You have to know when to pick peace over purpose.
Another prime example is if you are at the airport with your child or your toddler and you are about to board the plane, they want a piece of candy. In that situation, you have to decide if the purpose of you not giving your child the candy is more important than the piece you’re going to get from your child the candy.
My husband, family, and I went to Jamaica in May 2021. I don’t know the situation, but you can get the context based on how it escalated. You would be surprised how many parents picked unnecessary fights with their kids. All you would hear is, “you can’t have the iPad” Think about it. Just letting the child have the iPad for the 10-15 minutes until they got on the plane and fell asleep anyway would be a lot better than screaming back and forth. It is not necessary, and in that situation, it’s best to give in versus looking crazy at a public airport or holding up the security line because you want your child to do something, but they don’t want to do it.
Your Peace is Sometimes the Purpose
You have to think peace over purpose in certain situations, so that’s just something to keep in mind about giving in. It’s not always about thinking your toddler “won” or “they are getting over on you.” It’s more about I cannot discipline and be consistent in the message at this moment without causing chaos and confusion, so I’m just going to allow this to happen so that we can continue with this activity and provide correction later and more appropriate time.
I know some of you might read this and think, “you’re tripping, April!’ but trust me. Even ask another parent you respect. There will be some situations where you’re going to have to think to yourself, is their having a temper tantrum worth it versus giving them the iPad, giving them the candy, or letting them touch whatever they want to touch?
Conceding sometimes is the best solution and resolution. If you are looking for more self-help ways of toddler mom life, here is a post that is another excellent resource for you to check out.
This post was about five ways to manage toddler behavior.
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