Ah Toddlers, you've got to love them!
For anyone who does not know what a toddler is, they are a child who is just beginning to walk between 1 and 3 years old.
If you spend everyday at home with a little child then you know how rewarding, annoying, exhilarating and stressful it can be - all at the same time.
Their constant energy can be so tiring, and yet their ideas and questions and just plain unashamed curiosity about everything can open your eyes to a brand new world.
1. TALK to your toddler. Whether you are washing up, doing household chores, or working from home, chat to your toddler and let them know how things are going. Praise them for their actions, let them know that you are proud. Keep an easy-going dialogue going. This way they are more inclined to talk to you. Which means that they are more likely to discuss it with you if they are planning to turn the living room into a swimming pool that day.
2. Schedule, plan, timetable. Let your toddler know what is going to happen that day.
Tell them when they will have a snack, when they will sleep, when you will go to the park. Having a gaping void of time stretching out in front of you is not good for anyone, let them know that things are going to happen. Even better if you can plan a week: We always go shopping on Tuesdays, we always go to the library on Wednesdays. They learn about time, and days and weeks. But you have to be able to cope with constantly telling them which day it is or what time it is.
3. Go Out At Least Once A Day. Take them to a park or a soft play area or a children's group. It breaks your day up and makes you get changed and get ready to go out too. You both get exercise and most importantly, all that energy finds a release outside rather than in your house, and on your walls and furniture.
4. Let Your Toddler Help You. Your life can either be a relentless struggle against time, with you trying to get a stack of things done while wrestling with your toddler's demands, or it can be more of an interaction. Most children love the vacuum cleaner, for example, once they get over the noise. So let them hoover. Let them join in with making their own lunch. Set out the separate things on the table and let them put everything together on their plate. There must be hundreds of ways that they can 'help' you. It makes them feel important and wanted and brings out that totally cute, sincere side of them which is so enchanting.
5. Set Strict Boundaries. All children benefit from knowing what they can do and knowing what they can't. You know that they are constantly pushing to see if they can get things their way. If you say they can snack at 10am, they will try to get something at 9.30.
Interestingly, psychologists have shownt that once they know that pushing absolutely will not work, they move on. Don't be a pushover. If you say something, stick to it. No-one gets confused or gets mixed messages and everyone should be happy. Most of the time.
Dealing with a little child all day can be exhausting. You will not win every day. Somedays you will just end up crawling around on your hands and knees playing pirates, but keep good timetables and do what you say, when you say you will and hopefully, things should be fine.