Your toddler wants to do everything by himself. It’s cute to watch but oh, so scary. He has no clue about safety, social mores or manners at this point. And some of those new discoveries can be pretty gross. Things like drinking the bath water, laying on the floor in a public place, showing you the prize he just found in his nose, to name a few. Here are a few tips from my new book, “Help! My Toddler Came Without Instructions” to help when those embarrassing but normal behaviors read their ugly heads:
- Always carry a package of tissues with you. And when your toddler says, “Look mommy, a booger!” Calmly hand him a tissue for his prize and move on. No big lectures. The more you draw attention to it, the more he will do it, just for the shock value alone!
- You’re in a store, your toddler sees something he wants but can’t have and throws himself on the dirty floor in a wild tantrum. No yelling or reprimanding (from you). Gently pick up your screaming bundle and leave the store. This is not a time to talk. You’re the boss and this behavior is unacceptable. And please don’t get rattled by strangers staring and shaking their heads! It’s just not their business.
- You’re making lunch, turn your head for one second and your two year old is eating the dog’s food. Don’t go crazy; a few crunchies won’t hurt your toddler. Pick him up, put him in his high chair or booster seat, give him two plastic bowls with some Cheerios, goldfish crackers, blueberries, etc. and play the counting game. Ask him to put them from one bowl into the other while counting. And when he starts to eat them, count again until they’re gone. Not only is this a fun game and great distraction, but a teaching moment.
- Your little princess was just playing quietly on the floor with her dolls, but what’s this? … She’s rubbing against the corner of the sofa. Wow, a new discovery that feels so good! Remember, this is no different to your toddler than scratching her head. Don’t freak out…redirect to another activity. Reading a book, playing with puzzles or other favorite toys…this is not a teaching moment. And again, the more you draw attention to it, the more she will do it.
Toddlers love your attention, positive or negative. Make some time for one on one play with your precious. Whether it’s books before bed, coloring together or just a snuggle on the sofa. Toddlers grow up so fast. You don’t want to miss a minute of making those wonderful memories together.
For more toddler tips, you can purchase my books by clicking the covers here on my website as well as visiting Blythe’s favorite tips page. I am also available for video, telephone and in-home (Arizona area) appointments as well as a speaker at your next parent event.
My Best Parenting Advice: Take Your Finger Out of Your Nose! by Blythe Lipman