With love and patience, nothing is impossible. Daisaku Ikeda
We love it when our toddlers go about the house with boundless energy and a sense of open curiosity about everything they see or do. What we do not like is how easily they ignore our instructions and give a deaf ear to us when we want them to do something they are not particularly interested in doing. Repeating ourselves a million times a day over the same thing could be really frustrating and you might find yourself becoming enraged at your toddler.
This does not mean you are a bad parent. We have all been there. It just means that we need to find out a better way to communicate with them effectively without yelling our lungs out. In this post, let’s explore some of the tips you can use to connect with your toddlers and have them listen to you without the need to yell at them.
Being more mindful as parents in 2020 is a huge goal of ours. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of day to day life.
Talk to them at their level
Instead of fighting with your toddlers all the time- which can leave you really exhausted– learn to come down to their level so that you can connect with them easily. Toddlers do not have a grasp of their emotions as we do. They are still developing and growing and they might not know when they are doing something right or wrong. Getting their attention should be the first thing you do.
When you start talking to them, make eye contact with them. Speak in low, calm tones and remember to be gentle. Toddlers respond better to smiles and hugs than they do to fear and intimidation. Let them know you want to talk to them and when you have their undivided attention, tell them whatever you wanted them to hear.
Direct the toddlers on what to do
Most of the time we are yelling at our toddlers to stop them from doing something. ‘Don’t do this! Don’t do that!’ is quite common for most parents who have toddlers. When toddlers hear a lot of no’s all day long, their minds will start reacting and tries to shut you out. You will not get much done by yelling after that.
If you want them to do something, try a different approach. For instance, when they slam the door, instead of yelling at them not to slam the door, you can calmly show them the right way to close the door. When you yell too often, they are inclined to want to behave the exact opposite. When you direct them on what to do, you might gain a little cooperation from them.
Express your feelings
Even though our toddlers are still learning how to get a grasp and understanding of their emotions, they will clearly know when something is bothering you, the parent. They notice it when you are sad and when you are happy. Sometimes they might know when they are doing something to hurt us. That is why you frequently find toddlers embarrassing their parents in public.
You need to let them know what they are doing is wrong and its hurting your feelings. Be compassionate when telling them that and speak to them in tones they can understand. Chances are they will stop doing whatever it is that makes their mommy sad because they are also sweet little beings who want to keep you happy.
Make it fun
Toddlers love games and having fun. You can forgive them for thinking that every moment is a playful moment or everything in the house is something designed for their amusement. You will find them trying to explore everything, trying to satisfy their curiosity and have fun at the same time. That is why it would not be surprising when they throw your phone inside the toilet and flush to see what happens.
We cannot judge them on that as they are still kids, but we can exploit this line of thought and make them listen to us. For instance, when you want them to do something out of their own volition, you can make it interesting by doing tonal variations, or even introducing a song into the mix. Games are great distractions for them. When you want them to collect their clothes from the floor, make it a game to see who can do it faster. And let them win.
Praise them accordingly
Toddlers also love praises as it reinforces to them that they are doing okay and we are happy with them. Because of this reason, try to make them listen by praising them about something they do right now and then. Be careful though, as this could be a double-edge sword. If you praise them too much, they might grow up as entitled human beings and that would be the exact opposite of the goal you wanted to achieve.
Let them know there will be consequences
Whenever you see your toddler doing something they are not supposed to do, warn them about it instead of yelling. Be calm when you do it and let them know that there will be consequences if they do not listen to what you have told them. Just make sure that you actually follow through with whatever consequence you intended because if you do not, you will set precedence for future mistakes. They will not listen to you because they know that you will not punish them as you said you would. When punishing them, be fair and let them know exactly why they are being punished.
Give them options
When we give our toddlers options, we are actually giving them room for personal development. The ability to make an informed decision is a good life skill. Instead of arguing about what they are going to wear for the day, present them with options. For instance, ask them what color of shirt they would like to wear that day- blue or yellow? When they choose a specific one, let them explain to you what has informed their decision. Besides having a good bonding moment over this, you will be making them become cooperative and they will listen to you easily.
Related: How a simple childrens book series helped stopped the whining in our house.