Parents get a lot of warning about the toddler phase as their baby approaches the one-year mark. You may have heard stories about the “terrible twos” or three-year-olds having tantrums in the grocery store, or perhaps you’ve witnessed what looks like an awful struggle between a parent and his or her toddler.
Like the teen years, the toddler years have a reputation for being difficult. But many believe that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. In fact, the toddler years can be some of the most joyful, fun, and exciting times in parenting, especially if you take a positive approach. Here are some tips on how you can get past just surviving to actually enjoy some aspects of the toddler years.
Don’t Dread It
It may become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you are so sure your baby is going to be a difficult toddler. In other words, you may actually encourage difficult behavior if that is all you expect from the beginning.
Buy books and read up on toddlers. Talk to other parents whose style of parenting their toddler you admire and respect. A little knowledge to prepare you for how toddlers tend to think and act, and learning what is normal for the age, can go a long way in helping you keep calm and allowing you to enjoy your toddler.
Being informed takes some of the worry out of parenting a toddler – you will be less likely to be left wondering what their behavior is all about, or relying on stereotypes about toddler behavior.
Toddler-Proof Your Home
Try to think like a toddler. This is also where hearing from other parents is important. Look at your house and remove or put away any small objects within a toddler’s reach.
Consider moving or removing tables or other furniture that have sharp corners (at least from their bedroom or play area). Lock cabinet doors and trashcan lids. All pens, pencils, or pointy objects should be put away. Delicate decorative items should be removed (you can always get them back out again when your child is older.) Once this is done, it may help you relax and enjoy your toddler’s inquisitive exploration rather than inducing worry that he is going to hurt himself or destroy something.
Toddlers can be a real blast. It’s so rewarding to watch them learn new things and have experiences for the first time. Enjoy this aspect of their development, and take them into the woods, to the park or museum, and any other (safe) place of interest. Read them books, give them art supplies, play music and dance. Enjoy teaching them all these “new” things and have fun in the process.