How do you survive the toddler years? At one point or another every mother asks herself this question.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about surviving the toddler years.
Don’t ever be in a hurry – Because they will always be slow – I’ve learned to add a 10-15 minute time cushion for us every time we leave the house. Inevitably we will need to change a quick diaper, or look for a favorite toy just before leaving the house, if I’ve already planned for 10 minutes of excess time, I don’t get as frustrated when we’re delayed.
Take time to explore the world from their point of view – It can be amazing to pause a moment and see things the way they see them. Realizing how awe-inspiring a spider web is, or enjoying the loudness of a motorcycle or box truck. Toddlers are amazed by things we take for granted every day, it’s a beautiful thing when adults can stop and be amazed right along with them.
Don’t take disobedience personally – Because if you do you will constantly be offended. Toddlers will push their boundaries over and over again. I have often found myself getting offended or assuming that my son was doing things specifically to irritate me, but the truth is he’s not that vindictive. Even when he misbehaves to try to get attention, it’s not an attack on me personally, it’s just a stage and it will end.
Get used to drama – I’ve noticed that teenage girls have nothing on toddler rage. The drama that occurs in our living room every day amazes me. Tears, whimpers, yelling, crying and throwing things. I had no idea that even the most well behaved toddlers could be so incredibly dramatic. It may just be part of the territory, but it’s definitely one of the more terrifying parts in my opinion.
Embrace the fact that you will be that mom – At some point you will be the mom with a screaming kid in the middle of a grocery store. Just embrace it. The screams screeches and downright disobedience while the world watches on with mixtures of horror and pity on their faces. Oh yeah, the joys of publicly parenting toddlers.
Choose your battles wisely – Toddlers want to learn, explore and experience new things. I’ve learned to let my son do these things when I can, even if it means letting him wear clothes that are mis-matched or doing something in a different way than I would have chosen. If it’s safe, and not teaching him a bad habit, I try to let him experience new things even when I don’t always want to. This helps diminish tantrums in our home, which is always a win!
Hide all your nice things – Whether intentionally or by accident, toddlers destroy almost everything they come in contact with. Go ahead and put everything that’s not plastic out of reach for the next 3-7 years.
Invest in a good pair of earplugs – okay, okay, I’m kidding. But it is a tempting idea sometimes isn’t it? ;)
Don’t take your parenting methods too seriously – As great as your ideas may be, chances are they will end up changing and growing with your child, and this is a good thing!
Expect to be messy – No explanation needed. Parenting toddlers is a messy job, things are much easier when you are able to accept and embrace the mess!
Toddlerhood. It’s messy, it’s fun, it’s chaotic, its exhausting. But we can survive it!!!
What are your top tips for surviving the toddler years? I’d love to hear them!