Creative Child

Three Tips for Enjoying Toddler Parenting

by Rebecca Eanes

That tiny baby you held in your arms just yesterday is suddenly walking, talking, and full of attitude. She’s got spunk! He’s got style! They’ve got you wrapped around their little fingers, and those fingers are on your buttons. Toddlers are a whirlwind of fun, mess, challenge, and lots of love. This stage is definitely a transition period as they’re learning more about being separate from mom and dad and figuring out their place in the world and we are learning how to parent through a whole new phase! Following these three bits of advice helped me enjoy the toddler years more, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.

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 1. Change your perception about toddlers. Having a toddler comes with lots of dire warnings about how they’ll be “terrible” when they’re two and “thunderous” when they’re three. You’ll likely hear that you need to “put your foot down” and “show them who’s boss.” You’ll be warned that they will “try to manipulate you” and maybe “take over the house.” It’s strange, when you think about it, how we view babies as so innocent, such blessings, and then less than 24 months later, they morph into devious tyrants. These toxic cultural messages are poisoning our brains! They cause us to see our toddlers in a negative light, and because we are looking for them to be manipulative or terrible, that’s often what we come to see. We end up viewing them not so much as blessings anymore as mischief to be managed. Of course, seeing them in this way causes us to treat them differently. We might feel disrespected when the child means no disrespect or manipulated when she’s simply trying to get needs met in the only way her young brain knows how.

 Choosing to reject these negative messages and see toddlers in a more positive light automatically helps us enjoy them more and respond to them better. It serves to strengthen our bond rather than strain it. Remember, your perception shapes your reality. Choose a positive one.

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