Does it seem like your toddlers are ruling the roost?

If someone asked you who’s in charge would you have to stop and think about it?

Is a demanding two-foot tall tyrant holding you hostage?

I’ve been there! In fact, I think every mother of toddlers has been there and we all feel your pain. When our precious, toothless infant with their sweet-smelling cuddles suddenly becomes a demanding, ungrateful terror, it can rock our world!

I remember thinking, “This isn’t what I signed on for…”

Be encouraged moms of toddlers, I promise, it doesn’t have to stay this way! The toddler years can be some of the sweetest years of our parenting, it just takes a little hard work, some carefully planned routines, and the consistency to carry through on the parenting decisions we’ve made.

Too often, I wished the toddler years away. I held my breath and thought, “If I can just get through this stage, life will be so much easier!” Yes, my teenagers don’t throw themselves on the floor and demand a donut anymore, but trust me, there are days I wish they were all toddlers again.

Moms, don’t waste the blessings of today by longing for tomorrow!

The toddler years are some of the years of greatest growth and discovery for our children. The lessons they are learning and the habits they are adopting will lay the foundation for who they will become in the future; that’s why it’s so important to invest our time and energies into careful training and well-thought out parenting during these years.

Toddlers thrive on structure and routine! Moms, the toddler years are not the time for spontaneity and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures! Your day of go-with-the-flow fun will most certainly become a tearful misadventure when your toddler reaches the end of their rope and melts down in a very public puddle! Predictability in their daily activities helps our toddlers feel secure! Structure and routine doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to be… well… structured and routine!

Spend some time thinking through your day and make a plan for success!

Toddlers thrive on personal interaction! Moms, I know it’s hard to put off the ever-present to-do list, in order to sit down and interact with your toddler! However, if you take the time to invest in your toddler first thing in the morning, the rest of your morning will run much more successfully. Simply taking the time to read them a book, do a simple craft together, or take a walk around the yard will reassure them that they’re important to you, and will give them the confidence they need to self-occupy when you must get off to your household work.

Stop, slow down, and invest some early morning time in your toddler, and you’re toddler won’t feel the need to constantly demand your attention.

Toddlers thrive when they are encouraged to spend some time independently and without external stimulation. Moms, even though your toddler may demand to be with you every second of the day, it is so helpful for their personal growth and self-confidence to schedule some “alone” time. Use a gate or playpen to provide a safe area for them, and make available some toys that they only see during that “alone” time.  For those toddlers with older siblings, some time spent in a safe place without older brothers and sisters bossing them around or playing with their toys is of tremendous value.

(What is it about “little kid” toys that make them so irresistible to the big kids? I’ll never understand…)

You may have to endure a few days of vigorous and strenuously vocalized disagreement from your toddler, but soon they will look forward to their times of independent learning and discovery.

When we proactively plan our toddler’s day and consistently invest in teaching and interacting with them, those terrible tyrants will soon become a terrific part of the family team! Children, especially toddlers, are capricious and unpredictable, but as we help their days to become more predictable for them, they can become the laughing, content, happy children that we imagined when we were expecting them!

Oh yeah… just a side note: Every child, including our toddlers, will have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day now and then. (Sometimes moms and dads have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, too!) I’m convinced that God invented nighttime for just that very reason.

After you’ve made it through one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, don’t forget to go in and check on your precious sleeping child. When their eyes are closed, and their mouths are shut, and they’re just laying there… not moving, not grabbing, not arguing or demanding… they’re actually pretty sweet!

And sometimes, that’s just the reminder we need to give us the strength to face another day!