The toddler years are a bit of a mixed blessing, to put it mildly. On the one hand, your child is undergoing some amazing intellectual, social, and emotional changes, which are really wonderful to watch.
But they also start to realize that they have some authority over themselves, and they tend to do a lot of testing to see what they can and can’t get away with.
Giving your toddler some decisions to make will allow them to feel some control over their lives, but allowing them too much is likely to overwhelm them with decisions they’re not equipped to make.
In today’s video, I’ve got some great tips to help you provide your little one with some options in their day to day life that they can make without allowing them too much control too soon, or allowing them to make bad decisions.
Today, I wanna talk about the power of choice. This is going to be so important when your child becomes a toddler. So I’m preparing you if you’re not there yet and I’m definitely gonna help you out if you are. What happens when a child reaches toddlerhood is that they begin to understand that they are their own person, right, that they are their own autonomous self, they have their own thoughts and feelings and will and this is where it tends to come out in full force.
We often call it the terrible twos which I don’t love that phrase because I think that they’re just learning. That is exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re figuring out what do I do to get you to do things in response?
The hardest part is that they tend to use whining or crying or those sorts of strategies to see if they work and the good news is that if you show them that those don’t work then they tend to decrease as the child looks for other ways to exert their will.
So it can be a tough time though in a parent’s life because it can feel like you’re kind of butting heads with your toddler a lot or you’re getting into these little arguments about things and it just feels, it can feel like a fairly stressful time, a fairly tough time to be a parent for sure with your toddler.
So one thing I want you to start thinking about is finding opportunities in your child’s day to let them make choice, let them make the choices. Now, you have to do this structured, right? You can’t just say what would you like for lunch today? That’s too much power to give a toddler and they’re not actually the ones that are in charge of what’s for lunch today.
So that has to be your job but instead you could say something like would you like some apple or banana with your lunch today? That’s giving them a choice and that’s gonna give them some power. It’s gonna let them have a little bit of control over a situation and that’s going to ease some of these battles.
Now, if they pick apple, you must absolutely honor that and give them the apple. Don’t need to force banana into the issue or say you can only have apple “if.” You’ve asked them to make a choice and now you have to let that be the case.
Another great place where this works well is at bedtime. Bedtime can be a little bit of a place where a toddler pushes back. Well, you can add some choice into your routine and that will ease the tensions. So would you like this? You’ve got maybe three stories laid out. You get to pick two, which two would you like? Here’s two sets of pajamas out. Which one would you like to wear? You wanna make sure that your choices are fairly limited. You don’t wanna send your toddler into overwhelm ’cause when toddlers get overwhelmed, they tend to get frustrated about that and angry about that and that’s where you might start getting some loud nos and things like that.
So just very, very structured choice. Two, maybe three options included. What would you like to wear today, these pants or these pants? Giving them some focused time to choose and that’s definitely going to ease a lot of these struggle pieces.
So figure out where in your day is the struggle occurring. Is it around getting ready for daycare? Is it getting ready for bed? Is it putting your toys away? Whatever the struggle areas are, start adding some choice into those scenarios and I think you’ll find that it definitely settles it, settles things down and eases those transitions.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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