Random Observation/Comment #612: Toddlers are assholes. I read the book. Can confirm.
Why this list?
My previous post outlined all the signs of your infant transitioning into toddlerhood. Oh, joy. Now what you need, besides a vacation (aka business trip) is a few techniques for distracting or appeasing your child without forming bad habits. We really liked the book “No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline without Shame” by Janet Lansbury. She gives great examples. Before you know it, you’ll be a toddler whisperer.
- Get to eye level and calmly say, “No, you can’t have that.”
- Ask her, “Would you like <A> or <B>?” so she’s making choices
- If she’s pointing and whining to get something, then look at the item and ask, “Did you want <NAME OF ITEM>?” Even if you cave in and give it to her, at least she’ll learn the name of it
- Act like you don’t understand her communication and encourage learning rather than restricting what she wants to do
- If it’s related to food, then try a piece yourself in front of her and say it tastes good “Yummy!”
- If it’s a new food, try to feed it to her with a different utensil. I’ve found that Evie tends to eat anything I give her with chopsticks.
- If she’s fussy with food, try to walk away and bear out the whining. She’ll cave in.
- Tell her that you understand she’s upset and that we’ll talk again in a few minutes
- If you’re changing her, talk her through what you’re doing before you do it. We often have a song for every activity like “time to change your diaper” or “time to take a bath” or “time to put the toys away”
- Give her a warning using nouns and actions
- Start a count in another language. A stern counting is pretty scary.
- Take a few deep breaths yourself and make sure you’re calm. A frantic parent can lead to a more frantic toddler.
- Don’t over react or she’ll keep doing it to get a reaction. Toddlers are very observant and will test out the waters.
- Do over react and clap your hands to reward any successes. Just this morning we had her help us put the laundry in the washer and push the start button.
- If it’s a calm situation, then listen carefully and pay attention by asking questions so it’s a discussion. Pretend you understand her.
- Sing “If you’re happy and you know it…”
- Sometimes she hates going in the stroller and we want to stay away from bribing her with a pacifier or cookie so we start the peek-a-boo game to distract her.
- Turn on dancing music to deflect the energy
- Act excited about something else and tell her there’s something fun to look forward to
- Give her something unique that she’s never seen. She’ll be fascinated with the new object.
- Give her something comforting like a stuffed animal
- Leave the area and see if she’s just looking for attention
- Tell her you’re putting on shoes and going for a walk outside in the hallway. Sometimes she just wants to go walk around. (Plus this is like doggy training for hearing specific verbs that get them excited)
- Change the task or do it later. Sometimes she’s too energized to get her diaper changed in the morning so we tell her we’ll do it after breakfast.
- Give her a healthy snack – blueberries are great. Try not to default to cookies.
- Try a funny laugh or some other distracting sound. Changing volumes sometimes also helps or trying very high pitch or low pitch commands.
- Take off your glasses or change your appearance somehow. Big motions!
- Pick her up and give her some snuggles (because that usually works)
- Give her the pacifier
- Show her your phone or play something on TV (we try to make this a last resort, but it does always work)
~See Lemons Calm Evie (for now)