I first went to story time at the library when my oldest were almost 2. I thought it would be a one time activity, but Ms Jen was so compelling we ended up there every week. That was 5 years ago. My little girls are 2.5 and although other activities tend to get in the way, we still make it a priority to go see Ms Jen on Thursdays at 10:30. They always start the half hour session with “Bubblegum” and end it with “Alligator”. The favorite activity was always petting the stuffed alligator puppet. I ended up buying the song and searching the internet for 2 stuffed alligators just like it. Recently my kids wanted to give away those beloved puppets but I wouldn’t let them.
Ms Jen always started her story times with some guidelines that I found were pretty helpful for the rest of the toddler day too. I’m going to share them with you, but you might want to sit on a rug with alphabet letters on it to fully absorb this information!
I don’t mean the toddlers. We all know they participate plenty. We all know our kids grow up too quickly. They don’t need to be reminded.
Maybe need to be more connected. When your little one puts on a funny hat and says, “Look at me!”, don’t just look. Put one on too! It takes 2 seconds and you’ve managed to catch their eyes light up just a little bit more.
Now, I understand that you can’t participate in everything everytime. Even the toddlers sit and watch sometimes. But make sure your sit and watch time is active too. I remember waking up for 3am feedings and timing it so I could watch a 45 minute Ellen episode. It was just enough time for me to feed, change, and swaddle 2 babies back to sleep. They got what they needed and so did I. That feeding was for me. The rest of them were saved for the babies.
This is a tough one cause I know we’re all on our phones a lot. Multi tasking always!
Wouldn’t it help us get through a tantrum if we also didn’t have to get the cookies out of the oven. I know, we don’t have time to make cookies. I mean make a doctor’s appointment.
When you’re on “mother time,” be on mother time. Save the phone call for when you’ve locked yourself in the bathroom. I like what one mom said to me. She mentioned that she doesn’t ask her toddlers to do something until she is physically able to help them. If you say, “Go get your shoes,” don’t be surprised if they need help. Be ready yourself so you can provide that help. Tantrum avoided!
If we were texting during a job interview I doubt we would get that job. Let’s give our children the same respect.
BE PREPARED FOR BAD DAYS
And we all have them. We have bad minutes and hours too. Guess what? It’s okay!
If you’re prepared, then not much can faze you. If you know your toddlers hate to get in their carseats, just know you’re going to have to add 45 minutes to your errand. Get a cooler for your car so your milk doesn’t spoil while you pry them in.
If you know they are going to climb out of cribs every bedtime, grab yourself a snack, pull up a rug with your device of choice and get caught up on Netflix. You can’t be prepared for every situation, but you can be prepared for enough of them to avoid problems.
Today I brought 3 towels to the pool instead of 4. I now know that was the biggest mistake ever and I will never do that again.
You don’t have to take yoga in order to relax. (It helps, though.) It’s true that kids follow your mood and your flow. So if you’re relaxed, they will be too.
I could tell my toddler was about to get frustrated, so I got there first and stamped my foot and screamed, “I can’t do it!” She was so surprised I knew what she was going to do that we had a big giggle fest instead and the moment was diffused.
Ihave hardly had to yell lately because of this principle. I just calmly give them choices that they can live with. “We are going to change your diaper. Do you want to do it the sad way or the happy way?” This principle doesn’t mean you have to be floating on a cloud all of the time. It just means that the cliche is true: “This too shall pass.”
ASK FOR HELP
Yes! All the time, for anything.
It doesn’t always mean we will get the help we need, but if we don’t ask, we don’t get. It seems natural to ask for help when we have newborns, but they don’t go away once they start sleeping through the night. They become toddlers and then teenagers!
- Get help from the internet: Your hubby needs razors? Amazon Prime.
- Get help from neighbors: Have a sleeping baby and need to do a school pickup? Bring the baby monitor next door.
- Get help from friends: Have a lunch date at a playplace. You get adult conversation and kids burn energy.
- Get help from family. Yes, we may have in-law problems, but if they do your dishes while you nap then you don’t have to talk to them.
- Get help from your spouse: Let them load the dishwasher their own way; I promise it’s ok.
- Get help from anyone: Hire a cleaning service!!
- Most importantly, get help from God/church. True story: I prayed for 10 more minutes of sleep and sure enough my babies went back to sleep and then on the dot of 10 minutes started fussing. Didn’t need an alarm clock that day!
How will you implement your own “Story Time Rules” in order to deal with your sweet* toddlers!
*I highly recommend a book called Toddlers are A**holes! It helps with the relaxing part!