6 Tips For Finding Your Family’s Rhythm
These tips are just a few ways my family has found our rhythm. We’ve endure our fair share of crying times as we have navigated what and how these exactly work for our family. With these ideas I hope you too can navigate some peaceful times with your own toddlers!
- Timers – make them the bad guy. Time to get dressed? Not until the timer goes off. Ready to brush your teeth? The timer just went off and you know what that means. We are cleaning up our toys in 2 minutes when the timer goes off. The timer serves as a warning and sets their expectation. It’s a time of transition so that they aren’t surprised by what’s going to happen next.
- Step stools – autonomy is key for toddlers. We keep step stools all around the house so that our toddlers can turn the lights off and on, make their own toast/waffles, and reach the bathroom sinks all on their own. Teaching them to use said tools they can reach via step stools can be painfully slow, but that first successful time they start the microwave for their own popcorn is a glorious day.
- Choices – again, toddlers usually engage in a power struggle that only ends in arguments or tantrums. They want to feel they have the power, so let them. Give them a select few choices you approve of and let them pick. Gone are the days of open ended questions like “what do you want for lunch?” No. “Would you like chicken nuggets or a hot dog?” “Do you want to wear blue pants or green pants? You pick them out!” Choices go a long way.
- Make the ordinary extraordinary – making the everyday events special in the eyes of our toddlers goes a long way. Want them to brush their teeth? Put on a song and let them dance while they brush. Celebrate the helpfulness of them throwing their own trash away. It’s the little things for them and us that make it extra special.
- Shoe Bin – all of their shoes go in a shoe bin by the front door. The routine of taking off their shoes and putting them in the shoe bin gives them responsibility for their own stuff, gives you peace of mind when it’s time to put shoes on again, and keeps the shoes out of the dog’s mouth. When it’s time to leave they have another job they can do all by themselves: go get your shoes from the shoe bin and put them on (or bring them to mom to put on). Celebrate their accomplishment of completing their task.
- Backpack hooks – again, give them responsibility. They are in charge of hanging up their backpack / diaper bag. Hooks are by the door so they know where their stuff goes as they come and go. This gives you a space to make sure their stuff doesn’t get lost and takes it off your hands. When it’s time to pack the bags for an outing ask them get their backpacks and celebrate the ordinary task of helping.
Now, don’t get overwhelmed here. We have implemented these tips over time.
A great starting point is with simple cues like playing music when it’s time to brush your teeth or set a timer only for TV time and build upon 1-2 routine changes at a time. Making the effort to implement these tips and routines can seem daunting at first, but with trial and error to see what works for your kids you can have tools in your parenting tool belt to help avoid those terrible toddler tantrums.