Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Toddler Tuesdays: Making Daily Tasks Easier

Empowering toddlers? You are probably saying...."Are you crazy?!" But the truth is that toddlers really need to feel like they are in control sometimes.  During this stage of life, they are beginning to find their independence and figure out who they are.  They want to do everything on their own and while you can't let them cut their own food with a knife (for instance), giving them some space to do things on their own will make them happier and help them to feel more confident (as well as limit many power struggles!).  Here are a few ideas that I use with Sienna.

1.  Diaper changing.  Sienna does not like to have her diaper changed and fights me tooth and nail about it but I have found some things that are helpful when trying to get her to accomplish this task.  I give her a choice of two places that she would like to do it.  By doing this, I am stating (without words) that not changing her diaper is not an option. 

2.  Nail clipping.  Distraction is a wonderful thing!  Since Sienna loves her stuffed puppy, we get him out and pretend to clip his nails before clipping hers. (Also, we usually do it in front of the t.v so she's distracted by Elmo as well!)  We never watch t.v....ugh!  I wish I could say that!!!

3.  Brushing teeth.  Teeth brushing can sometimes be a challenge in our house, however, when I pretend to brush my teeth first, it usually helps to make the process easier.  Also, sometimes a tooth brushing song that I make up helps the process!

4.  Eating.  I know this is the biggest struggle parents face when it come to toddlers.  They naturally become picky and begin wanting only certain foods (usually not the healthiest!)  Once they become older you can use dessert as an incentive or talk to them but at this age it's hard to reason.  I have found that sneaking healthy food into other things she will eat usually does the trick.  For instance, I put blueberries in her oatmeal, dip her chicken in applesauce, and I always mix veggies into her mac n cheese or noodles.  Also, it seems to help when she sees me eating fruit, she wants it!

Overall, remember the tools of distraction and empowerment.  Make things fun and avoid the power struggles!

Do you have more ideas? I would love to hear them!

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