Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Parenting Help: 9 Slip Ups to Avoid in Toddlerhood

The best parenting help in the world would be if each toddler came with an individual owner's manual to assist parents in the trying times of toddlerhood.  Sure there is plenty of helpful advice out there from other moms and dads and professionals, but every child is different, with a different temperament so usually parents end up on a trial and error basis when using parenting help to assist in raising their toddler.  Much of parenting is trial and error and not giving up until you find the help that works best for you and your toddler.  A perfect example of this is a toddler's bedtime - getting them to go to bed without a fuss and remain in bed throughout the night.

This particular parenting help is to lend you a hand in avoiding the slips ups that end up slowing down our efforts and working against quicker successes. When dealing with toddlers, regardless of the technique you are using for whatever situations, avoid these nine slips ups to help your ride be a little less bumpy and support whatever technique you are using for whatever situation.

Slip Up #1: Not Enough One on One

Make no mistake that family time is important but be cautious not to go overboard but rather concentrate more on having one-on-one time with each child. Professionals have always stressed to parents how children, especially toddlers love one-on-one time with their parents.

Simply get on the floor with them and play.  No distractions, no TV, no telephone calls - just you and your toddler.  Let him see that at that time he is the only thing that matters.

Slip Up #2: Being Inconsistent

Engraving your toddlers life with consistency is what will award you with a more durable and agreeable toddler.  Toddlers especially thrive when they know what to expect. Like a consistent bath time and bedtime, and even what to expect when they are not behaving.

The parenting help to assist in fixing this problem is to keep regular routines for your toddler.  Have a system set up with your partner ahead of time that both of you will use when your toddler acts up.  Make sure your caregiver adhere to the same system and make it clear that regardless of whether she agrees with it or not she must follow the same system as you and your partner.  Systems will change and be revised as your toddler grows through the stages of childhood.

Slip Up # 3: Too Much Explaining

 Dr. Phelan explains that at the time when a parent says "No" to something, and the toddler insists, and then parent begins to explain, once again why - this is what Dr. Phelan calls the talk-persuade-argue-yell-hit pattern. The argument goes back and forth with tears from the toddler and further agitation building in the parent. 

Once you lay down the law avoid eye contact.  If toddler disobeys, give a BRIEF verbal warning.  If toddler persists then go into whatever consequence you decide to use for this type of misbehaving, such as time out or, some parents will simply ignore their toddlers continuous demand once they have already laid down the law.  This is the what I use with my toddler and it works quite well. I say it once, if she argues, I give a brief verbal warning, if she continues I ignore her demands within the particular situation at hand.  Remember that toddler's are not adults and are not able to grasp reasons for things so explaining is not accomplishing anything except frustration.  

 Slip up #4: Serving Only Toddler Foods or Favorite Foods

Feeding your toddler only fish sticks and fries or mac and cheese will prevent him from wanting to eat anything else.  Doing this early on will cause you to have to break bad habits and enforce new ones which we all know is a tough task.

Encourage your toddler, as early on as possible, to eat grown up foods, healthy ones of course. If you do this early on you will find they are less reluctant to try new foods and will have a broad desire for different type foods.

Don't always fall prey to their, "I don't like it!" Introduce new foods one at a time, if they resist, wait a week and then try again with that same food. Toddlers who are conditioned to eat the same kiddie foods, will often say they don't like another food just because they don't want it but after a few tries they will usually go for it and thus broadening their scope of meals.

Picky eater toddlers are quite common so by introducing new foods at a regular pace you help them open up to different types and tastes of food. If they fight you, don't make a fuss and don't allow yourself to become a personal chef to your toddler as this will open a whole other can of worms you will have to deal with.

Slip Up #5: Lending Too Much Help

When you see your toddler taking time to do something or struggling a bit, think twice before you jump in and help.  Constantly helping your toddler before you have given him a chance to succeed on his own is sending him a message that he is incompetent or incapable of doing something. You will also be interfering with their ability to become self-reliant.

Of course, there are times when a toddler does need help but give your toddler the chance to see it through on his own. When you do offer help, avoid completing the task for him. Only help a little and then allow him to continue on his own. Cheer your toddler on as he works at his task and encourage him not to give up.  Children need to learn to endure struggle and persevere, an important parenting skill to start teaching during the toddler years. 

Slip Up # 6: Potty Training Too Soon

Another very common slip up, parents inveigle their toddlers into potty training to soon.  They tend to use harsh and abrupt reprimands which turn into a power struggle, putting a very negative, unhappy tone for their toddlers, which usually backfires and does not get the results they think it will.  This type of behavior can easily cause the training to take even more time, making your toddler feel insecure and less likely to even attempt toilet use.

Parenting help says parents can set the tone for their toddler by introducing the toilet and briefly explaining what its use is. Consider showing your toddler how the toilet is used by using it yourself and he can watch.  In good time your toddler will want to copy you, and at this point you can praise his wonderful new skill of using the toilet.  Don't forget to introduce the skill of washing hands along with toilet so the two tasks become one complete measure.

Slip Up# 7:  Big Kids Bed Too Soon

I have always been puzzled as to why this slip up is so common as well. A baby's crib not only keeps them safe but it also helps enforce good sleep and bedtime habits. Moving your child to a bed before he is ready will play havoc with his sleep patterns and put parents in a position of exhaustion when they find themselves in the position to lay in bed with their toddler until he falls asleep, or the other side of this picture is all too common which is toddlers waking in the middle of the night and climbing into bed with mom and dad.

When your toddler starts climbing out of his crib or asks for a real bed, this is the best time to begin the change from crib to bed.  This usually comes between the ages of 2 to 3.

Slip Up #8: Allowing Too Much TV/Movie Time

Professionals will tell you that according to recent studies toddlers who watch too much TV often have glitches in their learning abilities later on.  Too much TV also promotes laziness and you will find your toddler doesn't want to do anything else but watch TV. Watching too much television is also associated with overweight kids in childhood.

Instead of TV keep your toddler active by helping him use his imagination through pretend play, creative games, reading, outdoor activities.  Talk to your toddler to promote language, verbal skills, and listening.  The less TV time your toddler has the better.

Slip Up #9: Handling a Tantrum

Here is a parent's biggest nightmare, especially when it happens in public.  Why? We feel judged and for whatever reason a toddler having a tantrum in public makes parents feel inadequate in their parenting, which is ridiculous because all toddlers have tantrums regardless of their mom and dad's parenting level.

There is no point in trying to talk your toddler out of his tantrum, and there is no point losing your temper because it only makes things worse and will make your toddler cry and scream even more. Remember it is your toddler who is most important and not people and their opinions.  Not to mention most of these people have simply forgotten that they too were once in the same position as you, or they simply have not yet dealt with their child having a tantrum. Ignore the glares; don't even look around to see if anyone is looking at you.  If someone has something to say put a smile on your face and ask them if they remember the days of toddlerhood. Then, take your toddler to a change of location away from the public eye and let the tantrum run its course.  Once your toddler is finished his tantrum, give him a loving smile and hug and carry on with your day.

With this parenting help you now know 9 slips ups to avoid when traveling through the toddler years, helping to make parenting in toddlerhood a little less of a bumpy road and adding more value to your parenting skills.

More Parenting Help

As a mom or mom to be are you aware of the consequences of too much weight gain in pregnancy? Please share this information with other moms and moms to be - it's such an important topic!

Major time saver for the family cook! once a month cooking and a freezer full of meals! I love this!


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