Saturday, November 22, 2008

Time IN!

Toddlers are cute. They say silly things like "I'm going to turn you into a rocket ship" and "Let's do a family spinnin' hug!" They can rationalize, realize, admit, and comply. They enjoy sweeping the floor, putting laundry away, and dressing themselves. They talk on the phone with grandma, say "cheeeeeese" for camera, walk by your side in the market, and color with care.

Yet toddlers are quite a challenge. They want to be independent: putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush themselves, choosing their own meals, insisting on certain projects or playgrounds. They struggle to express themselves and often resort to screaming, pushing, biting, or running off.

Well, the challenges of toddlerhood have been getting the better of me lately. I hate to admit it, but it's true. I created a routine chart to help the evening flow, set up a list of rules for table manners, and made a stop light to visually show him warnings and reward him for good behavior. And I used time outs. And I raised my voice. And I got frustrated.

The past few days we've started this: Time IN! If Drew is doing something that upsets us (mainly pushing Dean or having a tantrum), we take a time-in together. We usually go to the stairs, find a comfty seat, and talk. If he's too upset, I'll tell him to let me know when he's ready...and he does. I always tell him I love him, end with a hug, and assure him that I'll give him my attention whenever he asks - so he need not continue the negative behavior to engage me.

I have to say there is definitely not one answer to the complicated world of toddlers. But maintaining my "cool" while being more patient and more loving...despite being ridiculously frustrated at times...has brought about a more loving, calm, happy household.


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