parenting tips

It’s the 3’s that really challenge a parent’s ability to stay cool under pressure. The meltdowns, boundary-pushing, fierce independence, followed by intense frustration that they actually cannot complete the task they wanted to do alone, it’s a lot to handle. Let’s take a deep breath and step back from the daily battles and power struggles for a few minutes and imagine what your toddler would say if they could give you a few parenting pointers.

  • I’m little: I know you want me to grow up, but you can’t rush this. Even if my vocabulary is huge and I can keep up with the big kids at the park, my brain still has a lot of growing up to do.
  • I need connection more than correction: You want me to listen and follow your directions, and the best way to do this is by making me feel safe, supported, and attached to you.
  • I need gentle guidance, not time out: Instead of separating me when I struggle, take time to teach me a better way to handle my big feelings or work through difficult situations.
  • Your description of me matters: I internalize the words you use to describe me, plus, when you see me in a positive light, you are more willing to be patient and empathetic to me!
  • I can handle responsibilities: I love to help and there is a lot I can do! Please make my environment easy to access and give me lots opportunities to work side by side with you.
  • Let me struggle: Wait before you rush in and rescue me from a difficult situation, sometimes I just need to try a few more times and just watch how proud I will be when it’s done!
  • I cannot self-regulate 100% of the time: Some days are going to be harder than others, especially when I’m tired, hungry, overstimulated, or feeling disconnected from you.
  • Tantrums are normal: Don’t be afraid when I show big feelings. It’s normal for me to feel things with a deep intensity. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or are doing something wrong.
  • Exploration is good: Save the word “no” for big things. Offer me an appropriate alternative, and give me lots of time to and space to play, run, touch, smell, taste, and investigate my world.
  • Play with me: Be silly, sing, play games, wrestle, laugh. This makes me feel connected to you, it gives me a way to process big thoughts and feelings, and shake off anxiety and frustration.

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