What is it about tiny humans and their bizarre obsessions? It seems that every few weeks my daughter has developed a new toddler obsession. It is not that she is really “into” one thing or another; it is that she has developed a fascination that is all consuming, all encompassing, and somehow takes over our entire lives.
First, it was the movie Frozen. She went from not noticing the television existed, to needing to watch Frozen on a continuous loop. In the car, we have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack. She has an Olaf doll that must accompany her everywhere and now the poor guy is a dull gray rather than a sparkling white. She must drink out of her Frozen cup, eat “Anna” applesauce, sleep in her “Elsa” pajamas, wear nothing but Frozen t-shirts, and forget about getting into the bath without her Frozen washcloth and bath toys. And that is just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended)! If you have found yourself immersed in a flurry of toddler obsessions, I am here to tell you that you can “let it go” and summer will return along with your sanity!
Set Reasonable Limits
You are not going to escape your toddler’s latest obsession. Like Elsa’s frozen flurry, it is coming your way as we speak. However, you can save your sanity and avoid toddler tantrums by setting reasonable limits and sticking to them. For example, one of my daughter’s obsessions is with Curious George.
George is a good little monkey, but I do not want my toddler camped out in front of the television all day watching his program. Instead, I set specific limits. Yes, she can watch an episode, then she can either “read” a Curious George book or we can play with her Curious George doll. Yes, she can watch an episode at three in the afternoon, but not three in the morning (which she actually wanted to do!)
Try to say “yes” as often as possible, to make the “no” when you are setting limits more powerful. Consistency is key. The toddler obsession occurs, in part, because toddlers love repetition. They love knowing that things will be the same every time. It provides a sense of safety and security in the big, wide world that they are trying to navigate. Setting limits accomplishes the same feeling. When you are deciding upon the limits to set, make sure that they are ones that you can live with and follow. Your toddler might not appreciate having rules placed upon their favorite thing at first, but soon they will realize that their obsession can still be enjoyed within designated boundaries.
Our toddlers are no longer cute little cooing blobs. They are pint-sized people with definite opinions and personalities. They still want to be cuddled, but they also want their independence. Offering choices helps your toddler assert their independence, while fostering their ability to make decisions.