Advice

Taming Toddlers: 10 Things All Mums Need to Remember about Toddlerhood

The definition of a toddler, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “A child who toddles” and this happens between the ages of about one to three.

These two glorious years can be intense! They can be full of fun, beautiful moments, horrible moments, tiredness like you’ve never experienced before, loving kisses and cuddles, crazy messes, and moments to treasure.

Mums of toddlers need to remember bucket-loads of things. The main one is knowing where your toddler is, and if you put the cupboard lock back on. So we get it, as a busy mum of a toddler the last thing you need is more to store into the memory bank, but this might just be what you need to read today.

Defiant or fussy toddler
Defiance can be a common trait so don’t be surprised mamas. Source: Adobe Stock

10 things toddler mums need to remember

1. There will be mess

Give up on the idea that your house will look like a magazine spread from Home Beautiful. Toddlers are like your drunk best friend on a night out. It’s all fun and games until someone falls over and breaks something.

In the case of toddlers, they will more likely break your favourite vase as opposed to their ankles. So, pop the fancy stuff away, replace it with a squeaky toy display and relish in the fact that for the next couple of years, you can blame your toddler for any of the mess in your house.

2. Take time out

Whatever your idea of taking time out is, DO IT and schedule it into your diary as a non-negotiable date with yourself.

Say yes to the invitation, go out with friends, take a walk in the park, plug in some sound-cancelling headphones and slide into a bubble bath. Your toddler won’t recall the random Tuesday night that you left them with grandma while you ate dinner with your girlfriend, but YOU will and it will rejuvenate your energy for another week in toddler-town.

3. Find your mum tribe

A supportive group of mum friends is a must when you have a toddler. If you can, make sure you have someone in your circle who has been in toddler town before. There is a lot to learn from those who have forged the path ahead of you.

If you haven’t found your tribe yet, maybe an online group of like-minded women would be a good place to start, or joining a local playgroup or kinder-gym. Nothing beats peer support and sharing toddler tales to reinforce that you’re not alone on the toddlerhood rollercoaster.

toddler-eating-ice-cream
Don’t forget to enjoy the magical moments. Source: Adobe Stock

4. Trust your gut

They don’t call the gut your second brain for no reason. Listen and trust it, especially when it comes to your toddler and their health and safety. You are the one who knows your child the best and you are their biggest advocate.

If there is ever a time to get a second opinion, speak your truth, vent your concerns, push for action, and follow up, this is it.

5. Ask for help

Even the most successful people in the world didn’t get there alone. Don’t be a martyr – when the going gets tough, the tough won’t get going without a little help. It can be challenging to ask for help and sometimes feelings of failure can creep in.

By all accounts, parenting has been likened to the most difficult job in the world, and if we want to do a good job, part of that is knowing when we need help. So shut down the shame and pick up the phone.

toddlers-screaming-toddler-tantrum
Toddlers and tantrums can go hand in hand so be sure to ask for help. Source: Adobe Stock

6. Make routines

Predictable routines can provide feelings of safety and comfort for toddlers and their parents. It sets everyone up for success and encourages a settled and secure little person promoting better sleep and behaviour, which means better sleep and behaviour for you too! Win-win!

7. Laugh at the crazy

Get your giggle pants on because toddlers are the epitome of crazy. We know you didn’t want your dog lathered in Sudocrem, but if you can laugh at the crazy it will make the ride a whole lot easier and ease some challenging moments.

Plus, they make great stories for 21st birthday speeches.

8.  Distraction – a must for toddlers! 

Use the fact that toddlers have an attention span of a goldfish to your advantage! Evade potential academy award-winning meltdowns with a quick blast of their favourite tune. Not a singer? How about peek-a-boo, or stashing a ball in the nappy bag – what toddler doesn’t love a ball?

Point to something, anything – searching for an aeroplane that doesn’t exist might give you time to catch your breath.

9. Choose which hill to die on

Does it really matter if your toddler wants to wear fairy wings to the supermarket or walk bare feet in the mall? Maybe they only eat Vegemite sandwiches for lunch – Every. Single. Day. If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.

10. This too shall pass

Besides being a mantra to chant while you quietly question your life choices, before you know it, the toddler years will pass on by and in your midst will be a teenager.

Your babbling little cyclone ball of energy won’t even have the strength to empty the dishwasher or get up before lunchtime once they hit 15 because they would have worn themselves out with all of the eye-rolling.

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Avatar of Melissa Smith

Melissa has a passion for women’s issues, their rights, interests and the challenges they face, especially as mothers. She was living in the city when she met her farmer husband and so began her real life “Farmer Wants a Wife” series in regional South Australia, currently in season 20. Her professional background is in human services, however her passion is writing and creating content for the podcast that she co-hosts, called The 40’s Project.

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