Stillness? Toddlers? The heck you say! Those two words don’t go together. They just don’t mesh.
For the most part, I’d agree with you. They are rambunctious, curious, emotional little beings. It is their curiosity and natural desire to contribute and learn that will get you those precious moments of quiet. Learn how to crack that code and you are golden.
Although there is no way to perfect the cracking of the toddler code, simply by the outstanding ability that they have to constantly switch things up. Their likes and dislikes change as often as their clothing.
It’s just that I’ve learned a few things in these past years of being a parent to wily toddlers. I mean, one would hope, right? I don’t always heed my own advice very well, but I aim to try.
Having a peaceful household may be a notion that I just give up on at this stage of the game, but I’m here to tell you that it is possible. At least for broken up chunks of delicious time.
In all actuality, toddlers need some quiet time too. It’s up to us to show them how to achieve some good old zen, even if we have to fake it.
Puzzles 1 of 17We have a hard core love affair going on with puzzles at our house, specifically those which are alphabet and animal themed. If I put away everything else and create 'puzzle-only' time, things are quiet for a surprising good stretch.
Colouring / Simple Crafts 2 of 17A jar of crayons, a jar of markers a couple of colouring books and construction paper seem to keep mine engaged for a bit longer. Variation is the spice of life for toddlers!
Learning / Montessori activities 3 of 17Again with the letters, I know. They like what they like.
Reading 4 of 17Guaranteed, every-time. Obviously it works best if I read with/to either of them for an extended period of time, it really calms the scene. If I have stuff to do, I can pull out a selection of books (often I go for some kind of theme, they get a kick out of that) and it buys me some time.
Music 5 of 17Just as with adults, we go for different kinds of music to suit our moods. Same goes for toddlers. This album for example (classic Raffi!) works wonders on soothing our rambunctious, sometimes even melty little ones into a more chilled out vibe.
Long Walks 6 of 17Sometimes, you just have to leave the house. A long walk will do wonders for you and them. It certainly works for us!
Trains, Planes & Automobiles 7 of 17And no, not just good for the boys. I watch both my boy and girl get in the zone with their vehicular devices. It's an activity that no one can mess with.
Enlist Their Help 8 of 17Either age appropriate chores, (little kids love to contribute), or little things that make them feel important (because they are), even if you're faking it. Like asking your toddler to create your set list for a gig when they are melting down and want to constantly interrupt your band rehearsal.
Keeping Routine 9 of 17Keeping bed-time, naps, and meal-time on schedule are the top three in our house. It doesn't always happen but we try. When things fall off kilter? Our toddlers let us know. Big time. Other things we do to help keep the peace is making sure they drink enough water and to ensure that the quality of their food is decent.
A Little Screen Time is A-Ok! 10 of 17Pop in one of their favourite movies once in a while, or hand over the Leap Pad when you are grocery shopping. No, you are not melting your toddler's brain, and yours will be all the less stressed out for it. The key is moderation, but we know that right?
Lego / Building Things 11 of 17Toddlers love to problem solve and build things. All of 'em. Not much rowdy behaviour commences when one is trying to build a zoo or a fire-truck. Unless one's sister crashes into everything and tears it apart.
Go to the Library 12 of 17They'll either become engrossed with the computers, the books or the puzzles. Usually it's a combo of all three and I have yet to experience them running around like wild banshees. I'm sure it's only a matter of time, but so far we're good.
Cuddle Time 13 of 17The power of touch is said to immediately calm a person, melt their stresses away and make them feel loved, special and needed. Often, all I have to do is step off the crazy train of engaging in a power struggle with my child to sit on the couch or crawl into bed and cuddle. It works for both of us.
Use a Kind Voice… 14 of 17Even if you have to fake it. It can be the most challenging thing in the heat of the moment to remain cool and kind when say, a toddler is screeching at the top of their lungs and attempting to smack you in the face over putting their socks on - but acknowledging their feelings (even if they seem ludicrous) in a kind voice does wonders. Sometimes I have to give myself a time-out and come back more calm and collected before I can do so, but at least I'm not screaming with them.
Set up Creative Play & Sit With Them 15 of 17Set up a fun, creative activity that's a little out of the every-day. Work on a small project together. Be involved or simply sit with them while they do what they do and you fold laundry, or read the paper - whatever. Point is they just want to be near you. We can't always be directly involved with our little ones, but we can be close to them as often as our lifestyles permit.
Toddler Activity Cupboard 16 of 17I came across this fabulous idea the other day and decided to step ours up a notch. We've always had a tupperware and miscellaneous drawer going on for the kids (within their reach). Pom poms, for example, are right up there with stickers and bubbles in a toddler's world (of being awesome that is).
Photo credit (and more ideas) via Creative With Kids
Stickers 17 of 17Toddler crack. Straight up, no matter how inappropriate the analogy - it's true. Many, absolutely glorious quiet times are to be had when you hand over the stickers to a toddler.
More Babbles From Selena…
- 12 Handmade V-Day Gifties for Toddlers
- 5 Way I Beat Writer’s Block
- Toddler Yoga, it’s a thing.
- Cupid made me do it.
- The politics of toddler hair (around here)
- On Getting Toddlers to Eat Their Greens
- 5 Ways to Keep Fit When You Have No Time
- Natural Ways to Treat a Toddler’s Cold/Flu (That actually work!)
- Third time’s a charm? Oh potty-training…we’ll conquer you yet!
Elsewhere on the internets…
Via my humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve.