Yes, once your child is grown, you will have many fond memories. You will reminisce about these toddler years, the smiles, enthusiasm, and just plain cuteness. In the meantime, while you are in the mid-toddler stage, days can seem long while trying to keep up with your little one and their first strides towards independence.  

It’s not surprising that toddlers are classified by the stage in life characterized as “just learning”, which describes ages 12 to 36 months. This stage encapsulates some of the greatest developmental milestones emotionally, cognitively and socially. Natural curiosity and exploration abound in this chapter of life. Below are some tips to make the most of the toddler years.

STOP COUNTING TO THREE!

Have you ever wanted your toddler to stop, listen or transition easier by saying, “I’m going to count to three”? Then find yourself modifying, counting slower, starting over or saying it louder hoping it will work.  Instead, count down from five slowly.

Why? Because one is the last number in the sequence and it’s a clear ending. Five gives a few more seconds for your child to select making the right choice. Never start your count over again. Once you get to one follow through and prompt them to follow through with listening. Toddlers love being independent. Most of the time, setting the expectation that they can do it themselves, or you will help them do it, is enough to get them focused on making the right choice. 

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:

“James, time to pick up your books,” says his mom. James continues to play with his books. Mom repeats request and then counts, “five, four, three, two, one”. James then quickly tries to pick up to beat mom’s counting while mom says, “James you are such a good listener, I’m so proud of you!” However, if James does not respond then mom begins to pick up books and follows through with having him pick up the books with her prompting.

CALM A CRYING TODDLER

Your little one may not be hurt or really seem to have a good reason to cry. Instead of asking her to stop crying, try stating what she is crying about and then practicing three deep breaths.

Why? She is expressing herself and often does not have the words to articulate her wants or needs. By stating what is upsetting her; she may calm down, nod her head in agreement and feel heard. Also, by teaching her to take deep breaths, you are helping her learn to calm down; she can’t cry and take breaths at the same time.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:

Molly begins to cry and mom sees she dropped her candy on the ground. Her mom says, “are you sad because your candy fell on the ground?”.  Molly nods yes while still crying. Her mom models taking three deep breaths and Molly joins her. They then come up with a solution to solve the problem without crying.