Raising a Toddler

Well hey there, long time no talk. I haven’t been on my blog, IG, or anything that even remotely required thought or effort for about a week. All of that thought and effort was going into raising a toddler. You know, the cutest little boy there ever was and also the busiest, testing his limits, and most playful kid ever. Let’s go to testing his limits. Holy moly. This past week was a week. We BOTH, rather we all THREE LEARNED A LOT. Bubs is honestly an obedient kiddo. He is sweet and kind but I think last week he decided to just kinda test out the waters. See what he could get away with. Nothing terrible, but there was definitely some hair pulling and hitting that happened. Now, this is common amongst all toddlers, but it’s not going to be tolerated in our home or outside of our home. So in the midst of all the hair pulling, hitting, and I’m sorry’s I just couldn’t fathom actually sitting down to write or post anything. It was just too much to handle in the moment. I am happy to report that over the last few days though we have seen a tremendous turn around. I don’t know much but I’d love to share some things that helped us that I wish someone would have been able to tell us in a more clear and concise way. You know the drill over here. I attempt at not being long winded.

  1. WHO IS HE/SHE?

Get to know YOUR child. This is a given, but do you know what makes your child tick? Do you know what makes them the most upset? Happy? We learned that bubs loves knowing what is coming next. Setting a timer and telling him that when he hears the ding, it’s time to clean up, wash hands for dinner, or leave the house. Whatever it is, he likes to have a heads up and a literal timer is helping us with that. He doesn’t feel caught off guard and he feels as though he has some choice in the matter. We aren’t suddenly saying, “stop all the fun you’re having and do what we tell you!” We, as the parents, are in control, but bubs also deserves respect and kindness. Part of that is giving him some notice, so to speak. We also know that bubs loves anything that has wheels. Trains, planes, and automobiles. He is obsessed. This is also something that we can take away when behavior is less than okay. He also loves dark chocolate. After dinner we do bath and then sit down as a family and watch a show and eat some dark chocolate. The other night we had to take the chocolate out of the picture. Folks, we stuck to what we said and he got it. He understood that he wasn’t going to get his chocolate. He also knew that he was well loved and taken care of still. This brings me to my next point.

2. WHAT DID YOU SAY?

Stick to what you “threaten”. If you say no tv. Then no tv. If you say no snack. Then no snack. If you say no bedtime story. Then no bedtime story. We took away the dark chocolate because he started throwing his food everywhere. He wasn’t playing with it. (Sometimes he makes his cheese a car and it’s cute. We don’t mind this.) But when you start throwing your food and after being told not to several times, then it’s not okay. We stuck to what we said and he understood that he was in trouble. He did apologize. Yay! So he still got to watch a show and cuddle with us, but no bedtime treat. Also, your tone of voice goes into this. Or at least this is what we have learned. The calmer and more kind we are, the better response we get from him. The more intense we are, the worse he gets. Could be his personality and how he likes to push the limits but it’s something to note.

Also, calm does not = pushover.

3. RESPECT

I feel like this should go without saying, but unfortunately many adults tend to forget that children deserve respect too. After teaching elementary school I saw it time and time again-kids didn’t get the respect that they should get. First, they are human beings. That’s reason enough. Secondly, just because they are young does not mean they can’t understand the concept of respect. Trust me, those little kiddos in kindergarten (younger too!) and up know when they are being treated with respect. Thirdly, they learn by example and learn how to treat others by how you treat them. You remember saying it in grade school, right? “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” Yeah, kids should learn this by example. This doesn’t mean you aren’t the parent or that they will control a situation but jeeze just treat them like you would anyone else. I promise, a little respect goes a long way.

4. EXAMINE YOURSELF

It’s not all about your child and their wrong doing. This is an interesting one, right? As in all things you have to evaluate yourself. What was your reaction to said behavior? Were you slow to anger? Quick to yell and be upset? Quick to be upset is going to happen because it’s human nature but these times should be few and far between. We found ourselves VERY upset at times and it honestly only made things worse. No- we did not ever come close to hurting bubs, but we weren’t necessarily kind in our tone of voice or verbage. Now, the bible clearly says be slow to anger. James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” Every parent needs to hold this verse near and dear. Along with this one, Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” You can use fathers and mothers in this verse. Really think. Would you want to listen to someone that is almost always quick to be angry? No matter what the situation is, would you want to listen and be obedient to someone that is quick to judge and be harsh? I’ll answer for you, no, no you wouldn’t. It stands to reason that you shouldn’t be that way with your child-the one that came into the world so innocent, the one that is constantly looking for direction, the one that is constantly looking at YOU for guidance. You are their guiding light which means you should be exuding Christ. In your tone and in your behavior. Yes, it is easier said than done but that is what we as parents are called to do. Because you are a parent, you can do it even when it feels like you can’t. You thankfully have the strength from God and the wisdom from God to help you. But just as James 1:19 says, “be quick to listen…” you have to be quick to listen to God on how to raise your child. Not quick to be angry. They don’t know what they are doing half the time anyway. Also, you had to test the waters as a child, so naturally your children will too.

5. GOD WANTED YOU TO BE YOUR CHILD’S PARENT

Here’s the deal. You’ve heard this one before I’m almost positive. God chose you and your child to live in perfect harmony together. Except it isn’t always so harmonious is it? Well, it’s just like God’s relationship with you. Have you always made it harmonious for Him? Nope. Neither will you or your child. However, if you actively listen and talk with God, it can be more harmonious. Daily remind yourself that your child is not too much for you to handle (even when they seem to be) because God put you two together for a reason. You’ve got the ability to raise your child and tackle every situation that comes up with them. You just need to work on being slow to anger and not exasperating them intentionally or unintentionally. The Bible says it, which means it’s true.

6. RAISE YOUR CHILD TO KNOW GOD

The MOST important idea you can take away from this. Trusting you’ve made it this far. You can read all the self help, discipline books, and how to books all you want, but if you aren’t teaching your children about God then you aren’t doing what you need to do. I don’t think you need to shove the Bible in their faces every second of the day or quote scripture to them all the time. Kids need to have fun and not always have to do a bible study that is demanded of them. Of course, learning to read their bibles and understanding scripture is a good thing but I think living your life to mirror God will show them exactly what being a child of God means. Here’s your verse. Cling to it. Pray over it. Pray it over your children.

Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

You’re doing great. Each of us can always do better and we will continue to try.

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