I had the great opportunity last week to go to a class sponsored by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department at the Edmond Library, called ”Common Challenges with Toddlers.”
As a parent of a toddler, I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only one who experiences the store -induced temper tantrums, the difficulties with getting him to eat, and dealing with this little person who is constantly asserting his independence.
I was greatly assured that yes, thankfully, my child is completely normal and not a pint-sized T-Rex.
Here are seven great tips I learned:
1. Don’t ask questions that require simply a yes or no answer. Instead, give your toddler some choices. But be sure you can live with any of the choices.
2. Avoid power struggles. It takes two to argue, so take yourself out of the equation. Consider allowing him to be his own boss, unless he poses harm to himself or others.
3. Children won’t do what doesn’t work. Ignore temper tantrums. Easier said than done, but if you want the tantrums to stop, you’ll have to stop reacting to them.
4. Make a statement. When talking to him about his day, don’t ask questions, but instead make statements. I tried this and it works! Instead of “Did you play outside today?” try “So you played outside today!” You’ll get lots more response from your little person.
5. Use descriptive commentary. Like a sports announcer, talk about what they’re doing as they’re doing it. It promotes conversation, builds vocabulary and makes them feel important.
6. Focus on behaviors you want, not the ones you don’t want. Instead of “stop running” say “I like it when you walk next to Mommy.” And always be specific in your praise. Just saying “Good girl” won’t let them know what exactly they’re being good about.
7. Use humor, and keep your sense of humor. Your toddler is learning to be an independent person and it can be a fun time if you just let it happen.
The health department has a great lineup of workshops and parent talks. I highly recommend attending. Their staff is knowledgeable and they give great advice. Go to www.occhd.org and click on the Parent Express Newsletter or call 425-4412 to find out what’s coming to a location near you.