The rewards and joy that come with parenting are boundless. Going through each milestone and celebrating your child’s accomplishments as you your own is the fun bit of parenting. But navigating through life raising kids doesn’t always come with ease. Raising a toddler is like walking through a minefield. You tread slowly, hoping you can get through it unscathed while trying out stuff which may or may not work.
Parenting mistakes happen so often that you sometimes resort to doing what’s logical and what you feel is right. You tend to overthink things. Even overdo them at times. Taking the guesswork out of the equation may be close to impossible, but learning about some of the most common parenting mistakes can set you up for better results when it comes to parenting.
Here are five of the most common parenting mistakes to avoid when raising a toddler.
Being too helpful
There’s nothing wrong with being there for your child whenever they need help. But jumping at the first hint of struggle in your child may lead to overstepping their need for independence. Allowing your child to do things on their own can help them come out stronger and get a sense of accomplishment once they overcome them. You don’t want your child to make a habit of relying on you too much. A little struggle won’t hurt. These can even help them grow to be self-reliant, so let them deal with things on their own if they are able.
Inconsistencies with house rules and consequences
Setting consistent rules with your child can get difficult if you don’t have routines set up. So build on routines whenever possible to keep things predictable and consistent. This helps your child manage their expectations and be more open to comply with what’s expected of them. If discipline becomes difficult, you may also want to look at the consequences you have in place. Talk it out with your spouse or other guardians at home so you can be on the same page with enforcing discipline in your child. Managing your toddler’s behavior can be a challenge but sticking to the same response every time they challenge you with bad behavior sets up a pattern for them to remember the consequences of their actions.
Making Tantrums Stop
We tend to soothe our child out of instinct to try to stop a tantrum. Especially when it happens in public places. But you can’t talk your child out of a tantrum. A child having a tantrum in public can be embarrassing for a parent. You may get judgemental stares and unsolicited advice for how you can deal with your child, but tantrums are absolutely normal. All toddlers have tantrums and it’s just a matter of keeping them away from prying eyes. One of the most common parenting mistakes is when parents try to pacify it or get angry at their child when it happens. The key to handling tantrums is to just keep a level head and let the tantrum run its course. Wait it out and don’t forget to give your child a comforting hug when it’s done.
Toddlers can get talkative for their age and that’s great when you’re making casual conversation and giving answers to their curiosities. But when things take a turn and they become impatient, your toddler’s understanding and attention span cannot be likened to that of an adult. Long-winded explanations don’t work and won’t make sense to them when they want one thing and you want them to do otherwise. So keep it brief and don’t argue. If your child wants to play on their iPad and it’s bedtime, just say ‘no’ and avoid too many explanations. Don’t make room for negotiation. Avoiding further discussion limits frustration from both ends. Your child may not be pleased, but being firm in these scenarios will teach them to respect your decision.
Moving to a bed too soon
Cribs are there for a reason and that’s to keep your child safe and promote good sleeping habits. Moving your child to a ‘real’ bed too soon can cause trouble with their sleeping patterns. They may end up having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep during bedtime. They may not like sleeping alone and try to move in to sleep in your bed. It’s okay if it happens sometimes. But this can wear you out when it becomes a habit and your child starts to sleep with you every night.
Cribs provide a sense of comfort for your child. There’s no set time for when you need to move your child to a real bed. It’s usually between the ages of two to three, when your child has grown taller and would already try to jump out of the crib. But before then, keep them in it for as long as they need and until they’re ready to transition.
Need more helpful tips for effective toddler parenting? At Handprints Childcare, we’re always happy to help. For more information, visit us at handprintschildcare.com or call (214) 484-1018 to schedule a tour.