Choose Your Battles
Ever have one of those days where you feel like all you've said to your toddler is "No!"? Those curious minds and wandering hands have a habit of getting into all sorts of places they shouldn't. And their undeveloped minds don't always understand the rules and why there's a good reason for them. But you don't want to overuse the word "no" to the point that it has no real meaning for your toddler. Having too many rules can also make it seem like your toddler is always on timeout.
Establish priorities; figure out the rules that are most important, and safety issues, and reserve your battles for where it really counts. It might mean letting some things go that are annoying, does my toddler really have to wear purple every day? But rest assured that they'll grow out of those things soon enough.
Consistency is Always Key
Once you've established your rules, sticking to them and following through is of the utmost importance at the toddler stage. So many things are changing and they're developing new skills and experiences all the time, so the world can be a scary place. Knowing that they can count on the rules to be the same, with the same consequences, every time gives children the stability and safety they need to be confident, well-behaved toddlers. It can be easy to become distracted or busy and let a rule slide, but you'll achieve better results if you make the effort to follow through every time.
Toddlers can test their parent's patience like nothing else. Sometimes they're testing the boundaries on purpose, sometimes the forbidden action or object is just too desirable for a toddler to resist. Whatever the reason, there will always be those days when your toddler just seems to push every button. It can be hard to keep your cool when your three-year-old just keeps pulling the dog's tail, or takes their sibling's toy again and again.
Getting emotional and blowing your top will only backfire. Not only will you feel remorse for yelling at your toddler once you calm down, it won't teach your toddler anything. All young children see when mommy or daddy loses it is an interesting, and scary, new emotion. The lesson you're trying to convey will be lost on them, and you'll feel terrible about it later. Sometimes a time out is as beneficial and needed for you as it is for them.
Our tips for toddler parents come from our professionally trained toddler educators who have years of training and experience with toddler hood. Find out more about how the right preschool can benefit you and your child during this crucial developmental time.