Tips for How to Positively Parent Toddlers
Now that the school year is back in full swing, those long days of meltdowns and crying are a thing of the past. Unless you are the parent of a toddler.
“When you have a toddler, there are days that are so utterly exasperating that you don’t even know if you’ll survive until sunset,” writes Jennifer Parris for Romper. “And when you’re at your wit’s end (and it’s only 9:43 a.m.), you wonder if that snarling beast looking back at you in the mirror is really your own reflection. (Sadly, it is.) That’s when you need to breathe deeply, mama, and try to practice positive parenting techniques for toddlers.”
Here are some of Jennifer’s best parenting toddler techniques:
Slow Your Speech
“Children do not process sound at the same rate and pace as adults,” says Dr. Rebecca Jackson, VP of Programs and Outcomes at Brain Balance Achievement Centers. “To have young children comprehend what you are saying use fewer words, with bigger spaces in between your words.”
Have Realistic Expectations
“You have to match their age and their ability,” says Dr. Jackson. “A child’s development does not always match their age in all areas, so to set them up for success pay attention to what they can do, and set expectations at that level.”
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Physical Cues
Since a toddler doesn’t always have the ability to communicate through words what he’s thinking or feeling, you can get a good guesstimate if you’re headed towards naptime (or a meltdown) from his physical cues. Closely watch his facial expression and body language to gain a greater sense of how he’s feeling so that you can better help him.
Get Down to Their Level
When you want to convey a message to your child, perhaps when he’s upset or needs to be spoken to, you should kneel down and make eye contact, advises Dr. Jackson. By doing so, “you are just simplifying your message so they capture more of your key content,” she says.
Positive parenting does not mean that your child has no boundaries. It’s important to set limits with your toddler in a realistic way. One way to do this is to be empathetic. If your kiddo cries when you put her to bed, empathize and validate her emotions. Saying things like “It’s hard going to sleep early, right?” shows your child that bedtime isn’t a punishment and that you understand her frustration.