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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Post - Raising Toddlers in Love

Today I have a guest post that draws attention to some simple parenting knowledge that sometimes gets overlooked.


 I have raised two children that have passed the toddler stage, but I remember it well. I have several cousins
who are just now going through this stage with their children. I have been doing my best to dole out advice;
this is not from books or from my vast knowledge. This advice comes from trial and error, things that
worked and things I found out absolutely did not work. I want to share some of these with you because
I know how very difficult things can be when you have very young children. Hopefully I can pass on
something that will help.

I had two very different children, a girl who was as close to the perfect child as you can get, and a boy
who had to touch everything, demanded all your attention, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I don’t
understand the reasons why; what makes one child so different from another when they are raised
identically? I suppose it’s because they are individuals…hmmm. We sometimes don’t think of our children
as individuals, we think they are an extension of ourselves.

I could tell my daughter that something was not to be touched and she would not touch it. If you told my
son it was hot and would burn him, he had to see, every time. I imagine it is a different learning style, one
is a verbal child and one is a hands-on kind of guy. The first thing you need to do is figure out what type
of child you have. Study them a little, see if they listen and learn, see and learn, or have to experience
something full blown. If you have the latter it’s a greater challenge but it can be done, I know.

There are several things to keep in mind when dealing with toddlers from about age eighteen months
until around about four or so. They are learning everything from scratch, everything is new and they are
picking up large amounts of information. Imagine yourself in a foreign country and you have a little over
two years to learn the culture, language, ideas, and concepts of that country, how would you do? A little
frustrating perhaps? You might find yourself throwing a tantrum or two. On top of that they are learning
independence, how to go out on their own. They need to learn this a little at a time as they grow up so they
can function as adults someday. We, as parents, need to help them to do this without letting them harm
themselves. Also during this time we need to teach them obedience, it starts with us. How can they obey
the law, respect their teachers, or work under a boss if we do not teach them at home?

They are undergoing so many changes, including major motor skills, intellectual skills, social skills, and
emotional changes. They are going through all this plus they are having difficulties getting around as
quickly as they’d like. They also lack the communication skills they need to get across their feelings.
I don’t know about you but I would be having a melt down too. We as parents need to keep all these
things in mind as we raise our little ones. Take all these aspects into consideration and love them through
it.The problem usually arises when we are trying to do something we want to do and they do not want to
cooperate. These may be the years when we have to give up a lot of what we would like to do. Unless of
course you have grandma and grandpa babysit or someone come in to sub for you.

There are a few ways that I have learned that will help during these years. One of which is to not give them
too many choices. It is a good idea to give them choices because they need to make decisions, just limit it
to two choices at first. I don’t have a food example to give you but I can give you another example of too
many choices that occurred when my daughter was two. And she was not easily shaken! It was her second
Christmas and we sat her down in the middle of the living room. We started placing her gifts around her so
that she could open them; there were probably eight or ten from different family members. Well, needless
to say she went absolutely berserk! We had to take all the gifts out of the area to another room and it wasn’t
long before she settled down. Way too many choices!! They cannot cope; the sweet little darlings go into

They also need limitations and schedules, they will thrive on structure. You need to give them boundaries,
for example, only allowing them to play with their toys in their bedrooms and perhaps the family room.
They don’t need to string them out all over the house. They should not be allowed to climb on the furniture
or the cabinets. My point is, just set rules and stick to them. Your child will enjoy his or her life a whole lot
more if they are not allowed to run amuck. They need the security this provides.

Keeping them on a schedule is very important. There are times that everyone has to deviate in life because
it is, after all, life. But there should be consistency in their lives. Naps are extremely important if you want
to help your child (and keep your sanity). I was reading an article that stated that they need a total of 13
hours sleep a day, consisting of a two hour nap and eleven hours of sleep per night. The naps need to be at
approximately the same time every day and bed times need to be set. If you have a child like my son this
will be a challenge. I had to sit beside him and rub and pat him to get his little body settled down.

I took some advice from another woman when my kids were small who explained to me the importance
of down time for you and the children. As your children get old enough to play on their own there should
be an hour a day of quiet play. If you have more than one child each child goes to their room (unless they
are too young of course) and spends an hour playing, no television or computers, just playing or reading
quietly. Her philosophy was that everyone needs to learn to entertain themselves and not have to be
entertained, it is important that they have this life skill. I thought it was a brilliant idea. My daughter loved
it because she was a reader, even at two she would sit and read the books I read to her over and over, she
had them memorized and “read” to herself. My son would not read but loved blocks and trucks and could
play with those for at least twenty minutes. I had to do a little more work with him, but it was worth it to
have quiet in the house not only at nap time but a sort of time out for everyone.

Do your best not just to say no to your children but to give them options on other things they can do. My
mother was the queen of distraction. If a child was determined to do something and it looked like a fit was
brewing she would offer another, better opportunity to them. At this age they can be easily distracted and
if it keeps tantrums at bay then I’m all for it! I remember my daughter at this age, she was the master of
distraction too. It worried me a little because I didn’t want her to become manipulative so I did keep it in
check. She was three and my nephew was two. He invariably wanted the toy she was playing with, so she
gave it to him. She then proceeded to pick up another toy and become “fascinated” with it which would
make him really want that toy and drop hers. Problem solved. If you can get them interested in something
else before the situation escalates it is always a better solution. Pick your battles before you go into battle
mode. Determine if it is something that they can understand, something that is important to their growth,
and make sure you are not so fatigued that it turns into something else. This is when it is time for “the quiet

I hope some of this experience and information will help. I was very thankful to have a supportive family
around when my children were small. There are times when you just have to cry out for a little support
and a night out. Make it easy on yourself and the children and don’t put yourself in high stress situations.
You may have to stop eating out except at Micky D’s for awhile. You may have to pass the baton to your
husband while you go to the grocery store. It’s important to remember not to go to battle with your toddler
but to do everything in love for their good. Take a breath, step back and think about what is important.
Make a schedule and stick to it, stay structured for their good and yours. Don’t try to have too many social
engagements or outings for the children. They need the security of home. God bless you and your children
and have fun with your babies.


Author Bio:
Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and
researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related
to “”. He personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related
to a babysitter.


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