Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of parents of toddlers. It’s probably the most labor intensive stage of the child rearing years. Toddlers are busy little people that require constant supervision. Here are 5 tips to help you survive your week with an active toddler.
1. Examine your expectations. Toddlers want to be around their parents all the time and have no sense of how demanding they are. They’re simply acting their age. Don’t expect to get a lot of paper work or housework done when you’re toddler is awake and playing. Save it for when they are asleep.
2. Toddlers are curious about everything around them and have a need to explore. If there are things you don’t want them to touch, keep them out of reach. This is a very brief time in the life of a child so don’t think you’re going to be living in a bare room forever. It eliminates a lot of “Don’t touch!!” or “No!!”
3. Don’t expect toddlers to patiently wait for a meal time. It’s better to feed them small amounts of food frequently. What’s important is what they’re eating. If they end up eating their dinner before you intended, that’s OK. A hungry toddler is not fun to be around. If they won’t sit and eat with the family, don’t worry about it for now. They will.
4. Restaurants and malls are not for toddlers. If you want to shop in a mall or go out to a restaurant, do it when you can leave your toddler at home. As best you can, stick to places that are baby friendly. It’s easier on everyone.
5. Accept that this is a very demanding time both physically and emotionally. Make sure you take time out for yourself to re-charge. Make a regular date with your partner or with your friends. Participate in something that is adult oriented. When you do, you’ll feel renewed and refreshed and have more patience with your active toddler.