Living with Toddlers

Let me make something perfectly clear–I am no parenting expert.  I’ve had my fair share of two o’clock breakdowns, my emotional collapse when the kids refuse to nap.  I’ll admit that I sometimes swing through a drive-thru when I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping. And I’m proud to proclaim that I bribe, barter, and scheme all day, every day, in order to make my kids do what I want.

I currently have three kids, five and under. Although I’m sure that my parenting could use more patience, energy, and creativity, I do believe that my husband and I have gotten a few things right so far.  So, I’ve composed a short list of toddler rearing tips.

Establish an early bedtime. As soon as our kids were able to get into a bedtime routine, we started putting them to bed around seven p.m.  Granted, my husband doesn’t get to see them for much longer than an hour during the work week, but this early bedtime ritual provides us with something so important ~time together.  It may take some time to adjust your toddler’s bedtime and wake time, however the few quiet evening hours with your spouse, or even just to yourself, are worth the early wakeup calls.

Get rid of the big loud toys: I have recently donated a truckload of big loud toys. As my two older kids grew bigger, I started sneaking the annoying toys down to the basement, a few at a time.  And do you know what?  They didn’t even notice!  Those jumbo-sized toys that your sister lovingly bought for Christmas can be graciously exchanged for a new outfit or a box of Legos.  You don’t want a living room full of flashing lights and repeating musical sounds.  Donate or exchange those monstrosities for quiet toys that encourage creative independent play.  Trust me, your clutter-free living room will thank you.

Teamwork makes the dream work.  My husband loves to repeat this motto to my kids and me. But he’s right. Teamwork does make the dream work. You have to be on the same team as your spouse, your in-laws, and your kids’ teachers.  We all want the best for those tiny tots, and we’re all just doing the best that we can.

Forgive yourself. Really, forgive yourself. When you check on those sleeping cherubs, cover up their tiny feet, and brush their foreheads with your cheek, don’t let the night time mom guilt take over. It’s easy to get down on yourself for losing your temper. But it’s also difficult to stop yourself from screaming like a banshee when your couch is being used as a bounce house, you step on a Lego, and the last three hours have consisted of non-stop whining. Just remember, your kids are going to wake up loving you just as much as they did the day before. Love yourself, and love them more tomorrow.

“Before I married, I had three theories about raising children and no children. Now, I have three children and no theories.” ~John Wilmot

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~Think on These Things~

Natalie

 

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