Following on from our tips on toddlers from 2 weeks ago – parents ask us 'How to balance their toddler's needs with their own?'
Three areas that seem to be frustrating parents are: Sharing; Indepdence; Resilience
The facts are very clear that children under the age of 3 do not have the ability to understand what ‘sharing’ is. This is why they snatch and shove. Our job is to teach them how to deal with their feelings of frustration and disappointment in order to teach them coping skills. Try (hard) not to punish them when they ‘behave badly’ but keep modelling the behaviour you want from them and use words like ‘let’s give … a turn’ or ‘let’s swop’. Reward positive behaviour!
Another area of impending disaster is trying to let your toddler learn independence whilst at the same time being able to keep to your time management goals! It’s your job to help your toddler become independent and capable and the way to do this is to allow them space to practice making decisions. Give a choice of 2 so you retain control, but they have a choice (i.e. would you like to wear the red top or the green top today). As they get older they can plan their choices for a few days in advance to save both of you time.
And what about resilience? Do you let them fall down and pick themselves up? This is a really important part of growing up and your toddler needs to learn that it’s OK to learn about new things (riding a bike, climbing a tree) and that you will be there to support them if they scape a knee (with a lifesaving plaster) plus heaps of praise when they achieve a new milestone in ability and coping. Try to allow your child to take (calculated) risks. Let them climb one step higher and if they happen to fall, try not to rush in and ‘save’ them. Ask them first, ‘are you OK or do you need me to help you?’. Help them to gain independence and feelings of accomplishment.
Try to accompany them on the journey as much as you can rather than simply cover them in cotton wool and prevent them from taking those ‘big steps’ into the world.