Thursday, April 29, 2010

Help there is a toddler in my house!

First and foremost, don’t panic! Toddlers can smell fear so don’t let them even get a whiff of your fear and you will be fine. :-) At times toddlers and preschoolers can try your patience. Some days it seems like the only thing they can so is NO! If that sounds like your day: Step back, take a deep breath and count to ten (or one hundred if you need to). At some point that toddler is going to change from a terror to the sweet loving child that you are currently reminiscing about.

As we all know, there is a fine line between keeping a toddler pleasantly occupied and over stimulated. Try not to jump from activity to activity without some down time in between. When the toddlers no longer want to play with the toy cars that are now spread all over your house, sing a cleaning up song with them to encourage their assistance prior to moving onto a new project. If they do not like your singing (which would be shocking of course), make it into a game. Who can pick up the most cars in 2 minutes? Who can pick up the red cars first? Children do not have to be entertained by an adult every minute of every day. Sometimes it is nice to let them create their own game/activity with you just checking on their safety when needed.

When you give a child a new toy, it is not necessary to show them the “proper” way to play with it. If you hand her a toy car and she plays with it constantly in reverse, this is okay. It is important to provide your children with open ended toys. This does not mean you have to have expensive silk scarves or any other toys advertised as open ended. It just means you need to let your kids figure out how they want to play with their toys. If a boy wants to play with a doll and cuddle the baby doll and feed the baby doll that is fine. If he wants to run over the baby doll with a monster truck that is still appropriate play. Don’t let the children know, but everything they do is a learning experience for them. Snuggling that baby doll is teaching him compassion and running the monster truck over the baby doll is teaching him about elevations. Washing toys and baby dolls teaches them what sinks and what floats. Driving their cars down ramps teaches about gravity. Even throwing a toy and breaking it teaches them about cause and effect.

Parents often feel like they need to schedule their children for something every minute of every day but sometimes kids just need to go to the bedroom and find something to play with or go outside and explore the back yard. I am not endorsing locking your kids in the backyard while you get some much needed ME time. I am just telling you that there is room for both in your life, toddler time and me time. Dance lessons, gymnastics, swim lessons, taekwondo and organized sports are fun for kids but it is not necessary to do everyone of these items. Give your child a chance to just be a child. As he gets older there will be time to get used to multi-tasking but there is no need for the under 5 set to learn about that yet.

What is one of your kids favorite “alone” activities? My son usually pulls out his books and pretends to read. Please tell us in comments what your child does.

1 comment:

  1. My Little girl loves to get all of her blankets and cover up her baby. And when I say all of her blankets... it's like 8 of them. So cute!