Raising your first child is a challenging, exciting experience that will teach you many new things. It can also be confusing and frustrating. While you are doing the best you can, you may find yourself wishing that parenting came with an instruction manual. Here are a few things to know when raising a toddler:
You may sometimes wonder why your child misbehaves in public places while your friend’s child seems to be a perfect angel during every outing. Or why your child spits out their vegetables while your sister’s child eats them like candy. The reason is simple: no two kids are alike. They all learn at different paces, have different skills, and different personalities. If you feel like you are sinking in a pool of competitive parents, remember that each child is different.
It is easy for children to get overwhelmed when things around them are constantly changing. Give them structure with a routine bedtime, mealtimes, consistent discipline, etc. Yes, it’s okay to stray away from the routine once in a while to have that extra snack or stay up a little later than usual. Make decisions easy by providing options. For example, during lunchtime, offer two options for your child to pick between. They will be happy that they were able to make a choice on their own, while you still have a say in the ultimate outcome.
Children notice everything you do and say. This means that it is important to live by the principles and values you want to instill in your children. They will pick up on the phrases you use when your road rage kicks in and they will imitate the things you do. This does not mean that you must be on your P’s and Q’s every second of every day, but at least be mindful of what you do or say in front of your children.
When your child is misbehaving, it can be easy to blame it on the fact that they are just kids being kids, but it is important to dig a little deeper to find the root of the problem. Sure, sometimes they just want to have their own way, but other times they may be misbehaving due to being tired, sick, scared, or other reasons. It may be a sign that some part of their routine needs adjusting; bedtime may need to be earlier or some emotional needs may require some extra attention.
Above all, spend time with your children to let them know they are loved and cared for. Sometimes that is all they need.
At Children’s World Learning Center, we know that the early years of life matter because early experiences affect the brain. As a child’s brain grows, the quality of the experiences that a child has creates either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all of the development and behaviors that follow. Parents want to make educated choices for their families, and getting things right the first time is better than trying to fix them later. Contact us today!