Are having bad toddler days a normal routine for you? People say it’s part of being a parent, barely surviving. You have to go through this journey of the terrible twos and raising a three-nager. I don’t believe it though. This post will help guide you through the terrible twos and the treacherous threes and all the temper tantrums that come along with it so you aren’t just surviving bad toddler days but you are thriving in the toddler days.
What if Bad Toddler Days are Every Day?
I would love to say that every single day, I am a patient and gentle mom. If I’m being honest though, the days when my toddler is screaming bloody murder every hour on the hour, patience and gentleness are in the back of my mind. They might have even totally left my mind. These are the days that scheduling an appointment to get your tubes tied before 8 in the morning is on your mind. These days were happening to me a lot, so I knew action needed to be taken and change needed to happen.
Now, this was consistently happening in the dead of winter in South Dakota. January is not exactly an ideal time to play outside all day, especially with a newborn. So, I had to think of other things. I had to think about how to distract my toddler from her emotional outbursts. She clearly wasn’t calming down enough to talk her through whatever issue she was particularly mad about that hour. For awhile, I was just letting her scream out her emotional outbursts. It wasn’t very healthy though. She would scream straight through 30 minutes sometimes. It took her forever to calm down enough to be somewhat rational.
What two things always change a toddler’s attitude?
I started letting her take 3-5 baths a day. She clearly loves bath time. I added in an extra snack time. She clearly loves food.
Changing the Bad Toddler Days
Distracting her with baths and snacks worked, but those were just quick fixes. Band-aids covering up the root issue. I had to get to the bottom of our temper tantrums. I mean clearly, she’s a toddler, so she is mad about things like, her brother touching the blue blanket or something like that. So, I needed to figure out why we were having so many lately.
As parents, we are constantly preached to about how kids need routine. It’s because it’s true. Since having a new baby, our daily routine was completely flipped upside down. Bad toddler days happen more when routines are suddenly thrown off or even when there is no routine at all. When a toddler know what to expect next, it’s easier to navigate the day. Not only for a toddler, but for adults as well.
First step, was to make her a very special morning routine chart. (If you want one for yourself, go ahead and click here!) She got very excited about getting one. I first made some for the older kids so when she saw them get one, she was very excited when I printed her one off afterwards too.
With making a routine, I also had to set expectations. Telling her that her morning routine had to be down before anything else could happen and with that, I had to be consistent.
This is the most important but also the most difficult. It’s is so easier to say something, but to follow through with it is quite the chore on our part! You have to do it though. Be consistent, otherwise, your toddler knows they don’t need to listen.
Sometimes, you need to bring down all the emotions before you can deal with the issue at hand. I already told you water the water distraction and a food distraction, but there are other things you can do as well. Sometimes, just sitting next to them and saying, “I love you.” is more than enough. Grabbing the markers and laying down on the floor and coloring with them is a good one too. Telling Alexa to play Cedarmont Kids and having a dance party. Utilizing screens is sometimes the best. I like to put on My Signing Time (this one really helps with communication issues for the younger toddlers) or have them play ABC Mouse. Then I don’t feel quite so guilty as using the screen as a parent. Toddlers are stubborn. You have to figure out what will work for yours.
Pick Your Battles
Does it really matter if she is wearing horizontally striped pants and vertically stripped shirt? No. In fact, around age 2-2.5, I stop picking out my toddlers clothes at all and it becomes their responsibility. I don’t have time to be worrying about the little things. Think to yourself, “Is this really something of importance?” before you start a battle with your toddler.
Spend Time With Your Toddler
My toddler wasn’t getting as much mommy time as she used to. It took me a hot minute to realize that she was telling me in her own way that attention was needed. So, instead of putting her in time out, I started putting me in “time in” with her. I looked and her and actually played with her and made sure the baby was somewhere else, on the playmat or in the swing, and my phone was somewhere else so no distractions could happen. Even just a few minutes made a huge difference.
From Surviving Bad Toddler Days to Thriving Toddler Days
Once I started doing these things, the tantrums have basically come to an end. I think the routine and spending time with mommy really made all the difference in the world. We still have tantrums, but when they happen it’s usually because she’s overly tired or her routine has been thrown off. When they do come now, they are few and far between, not an all day thing, so the temper tantrums are much easier to handle. Now, we are thriving instead of just surviving.
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