“The best way to make children good is to make them happy”- Oscar Wilde.
The next stage: toddlerhood
After Monica took her first steps we started facing new development and motherhood stages. Our little explorer became a toddler. She has made an impressive leap in her motor skills and in her way of communicating with the world. This has brought many new experiences and some difficulties:
-As soon as she started walking, her interest on food eating decreased. We are also facing again sleep regressions.
-She learned how to say NO and now that’s her favorite word.
-Started getting angry and throwing fits.
-She got a transitional object (her pruple bottle).
It’s been long days and don’t even let me get started on the nights. Although my little girl doesn’t nurse much during the day anymore, she still does at night. I have not had a decent amount of sleep hours for at least a month because she wakes up very often asking for her momma. Lately, I have been finding toys in the trash can or in the toilet but for some reason it takes me hours to find that special bottle she loves. For so many days now I have been asking her, what do you have in your mouth? I have been experiencing extreme exhaustion because if she is not climbing somewhere, she will be following me and claiming attention.
The truth is, I did not see it coming. I thought that all those changes would be closer to the “terrible twos” and not so close to the first year of life. Recently I found myself raising my voice of my 1.3 year old girl but instead of blaming myself I took it as an opportunity to relearn as a mom.
Having a small child or a toddler is not easy. Many situations have a simple solution and others depend on our attitude and in the way we handle discipline. In the end, an adequate management can make everyone’s life more bearable, otherwise it can lead us to madness.
I’m not very worried about the food and sleep topics. Certainly those are just short stages and as long as she is healthy I can survive with coffee. About the transitional objects you can read more here.
The positive discipline since the early years
I have been refreshing my memory, reading about positive discipline and trying to enforce it in our daily routine. Positive discipline basically means to understand the behavior and the attitude of children in order to teach them basic life skills in a positive, affective, firm and respectful way. The way in which each family enforces positive discipline depends on what their day to day life looks like, but here are some tips that we have been putting into practice.
1. We started by making a safe house for our baby: placing locks in the places we want her to have restricted access: some drawers, the dumpster, the sanitary service. This way, we don’t have to be saying no 20 times a day. Still, we allow her have her own drawer in the kitchen, so she can open it and save her treasures as many times as she wants.
2. I have always believed in the importance of routines since they help babies and children to anticipate and to understand what to expect. I have written before about setting routines since babies are very small which you can read here; Something that has helped my baby avoid getting in troubles and getting frustrated is keeping ourselves busy by adding lots of activities in our daily routine: go for walks, swim, go to the park, sit down together to play on the floor, read books, dance, etc.
3. It is obvious that sometimes babies and children want things that for many reasons they can not have. One of the things I like the most about positive discipline is remembering that you can be firm and give alternatives at the same time. Now that my toddler is starting to get mad because she can’t explore mommy’s purse or because she can’t play with the mirror hanging on the wall, I am trying to put myself at her height, explain her the reasons using simple words and a calm tone of voice and finnally offering another option to play with. This seems so far far more effective than just removing objects from her hand and listening her cry for 5 minutes.
4. I try to reinforce the positive behaviors using lots of positive phrases: you are so good at that, you are so smart, I love you, high 5!
5. Finally and since I am not perfect, I have also felt I am loosing my mind and getting out of control. I try then to take a deep breath, remember who is the adult and that everything has a solution and sometimes I even walk away to calm down.
Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genious of each- Plato
Tell me how you apply positive discipline in the comments!