There are certain days within a week that I have endless amounts of patience – as food is launched across the room and I’ve peeled my daughter from my legs for the 50th time that day, I am completely unfazed. There are other days, however, when I have zero patience for even the smallest infraction. As a stay at home mom, I can’t really afford to have bad days – bad moments, sure. In order to avoid turning bad moments into bad days, I’ve learned to push through the frustration and maintain a reasonable level of patience when dealing with my toddler – perfection is not the goal. Learning how to be patient with your toddler takes a lot of practice, reflection, and honestly, guilt – sometimes you need to screw up to wake up.
Tips For Remaining Patient With Your Toddler
Take a deep breath in. Pause. React.
Before you react to your toddler’s frustrating behavior, take a deep breath in and compose yourself. Recently I caught my daughter spraying milk all over the living room floor after I had explained at least 65,000 not to do so. Taking a moment to pause and collect myself was completely necessary – we all have our sticking points and milk all over the house is certainly one of mine.
Walk away momentarily
This is particularly useful for when your little one is having a “moment” or in textbook terms, a tantrum. Show support by letting your toddler know you understand their frustration, but actually give them a moment to collect themselves – you don’t even need to leave the room, just don’t hover.
Even with my daughter who is 20-months-old, I talk to her about how she’s feeling and how I feel about her behavior. I genuinely believe she understands on some level and I like to think she appreciates the conversation.
Enforce the rules
There is nothing more confusing or frustrating to a toddler when the rules are enforced inconsistently. If your child can stand on the couch sometimes, but absolutely not others, it creates a disconnect. As the parent, you are asking for a revolt when you say no – save yourself the headache. Additionally, empty threats are useless – let your toddler know you mean business by following through.
Learn from your parenting mistakes
I am not a perfect parent. I have overreacted to my daughter’s behavior on a number of occasions and I always end up feeling guilty afterwards. The best part about the process, however, is that I try to learn something from the experience. How could I have reacted better? Why did I overreact? Asking these questions keeps me honest about my parenting – there are always way I can improve.
Toddlers need to know that despite your unhappiness with their behavior, they are still loved. Practice being patient with your toddler, discipline accordingly, but then move on promptly.
How do you maintain your composure in a sticky situation? Do you struggle to be patient with your toddler?