Are you preparing yourself for toddler tantrums and other fits?
Because a new set of challenges show up once you have a toddler…
If you’re not preparing, it might be time too…
Because time flies FAST. And doesn’t slow down.
So, before it goes too fast, take a moment to:
Pat Yourself On The Back For Getting To This Point
Because surviving the newborn phase is one of the most difficult things you’ll EVER do.
The toughest stuff comes in those first months.
Sleep deprivation. Learning how to care for a brand new human. Constant feeding.
It seems like one long endless, sleepless, blur.
And then you get through it.
You’ve done it.
The 1-year mark hits.
And just like that, your little baby starts to look less like a baby and more like a child. Instead, she looks like a little person.
Because they’re starting to show more of their personality, there’s going to be more toddler tantrums.
They’re starting to engage with the world. They’re communicating, expressing themselves.
Showing their preferences.
And you LOVE it. It’s like every day, you’re meeting a new part of their personality.
Getting to know them as they get to know the world!
But it also comes with MORE Stress
Because they’re moving more. Getting into things.
Keeping you on your toes. It seems like you CAN”T take your eyes off of them for a MINUTE.
BECAUSE THEY CAN RUN NOW. They move faster than the speed of sound, it seems. One minute you see them, and the next minute…
They’re trying to pull up on the oven door handle.
And that’s a whole new level of stress.
You’ve gotta keep an eye on them…
Watch to make sure they’re not running into trouble.
And stay constantly on point.
Not feeling like you can even take a break for a minute.
You can’t take your eyes off of them.
But that’s where we come in. And that’s what this post is about. Because it feels like a new experience for you (and it is!), you’re (obviously) not the first parents to experience the toddler phase.
So there’s good news. Lots of advice out there. But it can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’re sharing some tips here. To give you some insights of our own:
Of wisdom and insights for COMMON toddler CHALLENGES.
So here’s goes:
Common Sources of Toddler Tantrums (And What To DO)
One of the most common issues we hear about:
When To Sleep Train
Note! We have a WHOLE post on this. Check it out.
…But sleep training is a real challenge.
Mostly it’s a timing thing.
It’s hard to know when.
It never seems like a “good” time.
Listen to your gut.
You’ll start to feel it when it’s time.
And I mean that: You’ll literally feel exhausted.
You’ll wish you were just “tired.”
So don’t wait too long.
Because sleep is delicious once you’re getting it again.
And here’s an idea to consider:
It gets even harder to sleep train when they get older.
So think about starting sooner rather than later.
For us, this was at about the 8-month mark.
Everyone will have their own timetables, but as I said, listen to your gut.
But ultimately, it’s about reducing your stress so you can live a more zen (Ommmm) life.
And what better way to do that than making sure the whole family is getting enough sleep?
Transitioning Away From Bottles
If your little one is super attached to their bottles, it can be so tough to take ’em away!
That’s why we took a different approach than what most people do.
Most (or many) try to just take it away COLD TURKEY.
And that doesn’t work!
Or, if it does, it’s a more tear-inducing experience (for child AND parents) than it needs to be.
So we didn’t want to do THAT.
We got a transition bottle/sippy cup.
And you know what?
He LOVED it.
It’s kinda got the feel of a bottle.
With the structure of a sippy cup.
How Much independence to Grant?
This one is about balance.
Letting them explore. And let them have their freedom.
And making sure they stay SAFE.
It’s a tough decision. Every day. Figuring out what’s best.
When to let them explore. And when not to.
It’s a daily gradual approach. Of letting them explore, and finding what should be off-limits.
So here’s an idea:
As long as it’s SAFE, default to saying YES.
But try it?
See how it goes.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Don’t let them do anything dangerous.
But my point here is this:
Don’t. Suck. The. Joy. Outta. Life.
Because if you do?
You’ll just feel more stressed out than before!
Ok, next topic!
How to Prepare For First Signs of Rebellion
It’s going to happen suddenly.
At least that’s how it did for us. One day our little guy just decided to say:
(That was my reaction)
Where did you learn that? I wondered aloud.
And suddenly I realized I hadn’t been ready for that moment. When a little voice said no to me.
So think about how you’ll respond. And get on the same page with your spouse or co-parent.
Here’s an idea I’ve been testing: Focusing on saying “no thank you” to get the manners in there early!
That way, when you start to get resistance from them, you can reframe it into a positive learning experience.
Plus, you won’t then DEFAULT to being grumpy about it.
Look at it this way:
It’s a chance to practice your negotiation skills with them. They say no, you reframe it to emphasize manners, and then you negotiate back.
Whatever you do, don’t just take the first “No!” for an answer and cave at that point!
When They’re Refusing to Nap
Maybe your little one hasn’t been a great napper all along? Or maybe not.
Ours fought the afternoon naps for a long time. So this one might not be new.
But when this starts to happen, it’s good to remember: Even though they might look like a child now, in many ways they’re still a baby.
We’ve tried a few different strategies when this happens, and here are our favorites:
- Having them have some “downtime” if they’re not napping
- Taking ’em for a drive so they fall asleep
- Not fighting it but putting them to bed early
Usually one of these tricks will work when they’re not napping.
If they start screaming when they don’t get what they want, then you’ll want the next tip.
How To Respond (When She Screams When She Doesn’t Get Her Way)
This one can be really tough at first. Sure they’ve always cried since being a baby…
But somehow the toddler fits are more difficult! Yet now’s the chance to channel your inner ZEN.
Take a deep breath. Breathe in, then breathe out.
Remember! You are the adult.
Stay firm. Stay positive. Smile. Stand your ground.
Taming toddler tantrums isn’t easy…
But you can do it…
And be the awesome parent you’re meant to be.