The change from sweet agreeable baby to willful toddler happens overnight and often leaves parents wondering what happened.

I am currently raising my eighth and ninth toddlers. Consequently, I’ve learned a few things about these determined individuals.

My Secrets:

Allow enough time. Toddlers will not be rushed and the more you try to hurry them, the slower they seem to go. Allowing extra time helps to avoid the stress of trying to make them hurry. I also try to limit the number of errands do with my girls.

Give them enough attention. Even though toddlers are more independent, they still need a lot of time with Mommy and Daddy. I find giving a child my full attention first allows me to then move on to other things I need to do.

Make a safe space. Toddlers are learning to play independently and are happy to spend time investigating a basket of toys or looking at a stack of book, but still want to know a parent is nearby. Play pens and play yards are not bad things. They provide safety while allowing a child to play within sight of a parent.

Provide enough rest. Toddlers are busy people and their bodies are still growing rapidly.  All that can add up to a very tired child. We insist on naps and consistent bedtimes even if our toddlers don’t agree. It’s not only eye-rubbing children who are tired, but those who seem to get more and more energized as well.

Begin to set boundaries. Even 18-month olds can begin to learn to do what Mom and Dad ask. It’s the perfect age to begin since toddlers want to help. We find jobs that they can help do, such as putting laundry down the chute, throwing garbage away, and putting toys into a basket. Consistency is vital. If you ask a child to do something, be sure he or she follows through, even if you have to gently take a hand and help. Interactions at this age set the tone for your future life together.

I love toddlers. They are eager and enthusiastic about everything and it is wonderful to see personalities developing. Life with them can be rewarding and even enjoyable if you know how to work within their abilities and limitations.

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