Parenting a toddler can be tiring, exasperating, and frustrating.
Little ones have big energy, and that’s normal. Their bodies and minds are growing, but not always at the same rate. Their curiosity may be exploding and driving impulses, but their self-control is just forming and hardly up to the task of limiting their impulsiveness. When you add curiosity to that impulse and endless energy, you get a typical toddler!
They want to go, go, go all of the time. And at this point in their development that’s normal. So for the tired moms out there who are right in the middle of raising toddlers, I want to reassure you that this is a season. It doesn’t last forever. In the meantime, here are three things toddlers need, and don’t need.
3 Toddler Needs
1. Love…Not Drugs
Your toddler will be grown before you know it—really! So cuddle, kiss, and hug him as much as you can. Your child is your world, so lavish love on him with your words and your actions.
And if your child is a typical active toddler, remember that love in the form of playing with your child, giving him an outlet for his energy, and accepting that toddlerhood is a stage of go, go, go is the answer—not medication to tamp down his natural energy. Try our Love Your Child Challenge!
Sometimes you will need a break, so take it. But when you’re with your child, give her your full attention. When you’re on a walk with her, put your phone away. When she wants to play with you, set aside your chores until later. At bedtime, don’t rush off to do the dishes. Give her your full attention.
Toddlers can tug at your heartstrings, but they can also try your patience. So just know that you will have moments when you’re frustrated with your little guy. But remember that he is barely out of babyhood. He will need many attempts to learn a lesson. He will get cranky when he’s tired. He’s not a little adult, he’s a toddler. Need help? Here’s How to Love Your Child with Patience.
3 Things to Avoid
Yes, you will want to lose it with your child. Yes, you will want to say, “I just told you not to do that!” But whatever your frustration level, you can always choose to be kind—firm, but kind. If you feel like you’re going to lose it with your toddler, leave the room, or close your eyes and pray. Or, imagine that someone is there watching the way you handle your child. Read on and see Why Firmness Doesn’t Require Harshness.
2. Too Much Screen Time.
I know it’s tough for you, Mom. You hear that educational shows and apps are good for your toddler. You see that playing with your phone or iPad calms him down. But remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics says children two and younger should have no screen time. Beyond that, older toddlers should have no more than an hour a day. Trust me; your child will enjoy other things. Help him learn to look for other free time alternatives or play with him. Here are 5 Screen Time Rules You Must Have!
3. Too Much Pressure.
You really don’t have to start your toddler in dance, soccer, or reading lessons. There is plenty of time for that. Again, remind yourself that your toddler has years and years to grow and learn. Try not to expect too much from your little angel.