Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Have you got a toddler at home? Toddlers are so much fun, but they can be rather mercurial in their moods, they go from crying to laughing in 10 seconds flat. They want everything, they want to do everything themselves. If you offer them something they can have, they usually don't want it :D
My two year old's favourite sentences lately are: It's mine! Don't want it. I want it! Nella do it!!! (in no particular order :D)
It can be exhausting trying to negotiate with a toddler but there are a few little hacks I have discovered through my life, through parenting 3 children, through working in a Montessori nursery and through working with many many children on daily basis.
Food is one of the things toddler can be quite particular with. They will love eating something, you stock up on it, only for them to decide they no longer like that particular food group.
Having tried to convince my youngest to at least try a little bit of a sandwich for lunch for ages with no success (unless you count her taking the said sandwich apart and eating the filling on it's own as a success :) I mean carbs are not all that great for you when you are a grown up woman anyway right?)
One day I came up with an idea. She loves helping to make biscuits and cut shapes out with cookie cutters. So from now on, we have FISH sandwiches, sometimes we also have star ones. She will polish off the whole plate happily.
There are loads of ideas on Pintrest for making food look exciting. This is probably as far as I am willing to stretch and it works.
Both my daughters have their very own style. See, I find boys are WAY more easier than girls when it comes to getting dressed. At the age of 2 or 3 my son could not care less what clothes he was wearing. Yes, sometimes he would ask for a top featuring a specific cartoon character but apart from that it did not matter to him what I dressed him in. My two daughters are a very different kettle of fish :D As soon as they figured out how to put clothes on themselves the battles began. THEY wanted to wear what they liked. So I would lay clothes out for my middle daughter and she would come down dressed in completely mismatched outfit. I drew the line with shorts without any tights or leggings when it was freezing outside but decided to pick my battles and just pretend I did not know the crazily dressed child when out in public.
My youngest often wears her older sister's clothes when at home on top of the outfit I dressed her in in the morning. She also often wears her pyjamas on top of her clothes as they are easy to put on. Or my bra on top of her jumper, because..well because it is fun. (I don't usually let them wear my underwear on top of their clothes if we need to leave the house, but if you knock on our door and my kids come to the door dressed odd, don't be surprised :D )
Another one of their favourites is SHOES and BAGS. We have bags and handbags full of toys everywhere. Their doll buggies look like they have been nicked from an old bag lady somewhere out in town. We have shoes everywhere, as soon as we go into a shoe shop my toddler takes her own shoes off to try on new SHOES! The biggest tantrum I had with my middle one was over shoes. She wanted them, she wanted me to buy her the shoes!! The ones that were not her size, they did not have her size and they were too small. But I would not buy them. Laying down in the middle of the high street screaming: Buy me those shoes!!! Made me want the ground to swallow me. However, in the end I gave in. I told her I would buy her those shoes as I could not bear the looks people walking past us gave me. I told her we would go via the shortcut. She followed happily, if not a bit confused that this was not really the way to the shop. By the time she realised we were in the car park I bundled her into her car seat as she screamed: I don't like you! (well, at that point, the feeling was mutual.)
There is a fantastic trick I have learned when I was working at a Montessori nursery. My kids always wanted to get themselves dressed and jackets were always very tricky to put on. This will make your little one feel super independent and give you a couple extra seconds to put your own jacket on.
Pop your little one's jacket on the floor in front of them like in picture 1, then teach them to put their hands into the sleeves like in picture 2. Show them how to lift jacket over their head and there it is, the jacket is on! It took a couple of times to teach my little ones but it is such a great little trick and they learn it really quickly.
Last but not least. When a tantrum is imminent or in full progress I find distraction works the best. No amount of reasoning seems to work with toddlers (or teenagers but that is a different story :) ). Distraction is the way to go. Start whispering to get their interest as they have to stop screaming to hear you. Point out things. I often use animals :) Wow, did you see that doggie over there? Oh, look! There is a little cat, you have to be very quite so we don't frighten the little cat....and so on and so forth :D
Do you have any toddler hacks that work for you? Please do share :D