“Do you have househelp?”
“So who cleans the house?”
“Who does the laundry?”
“And you still find time to work from home and spend quality time with your husband?”
“I seriously don’t know.”
This is usually how conversations go whenever people ask about my life as a housewife and mother to two toddlers. Yes, I do everything at home because if I don’t, who will? It’s easier said than done, though. With a husband who is often on 24/7 duty and two toddlers who can devastate a house more than a typhoon and tornado combined, homemaking and parenting is nowhere near easy.
Aside from worrying about house chores, I have to deal with two tantrum-throwing toddlers every day. The minis may look all happy and smiley in the photos I post on Instagram, but that’s not their only side. They have off days when they just whine and cry and kick just because. You see, toddlers are infamous for tantrums and testing their parents’ patience and understanding. But days can be made less difficult through positive parenting.
In a post by Dr. Laura Markham, she talks about positive parenting as:
…guidance that keeps our kids on the right path, offered in a positive way that resists any temptation to be punitive. Studies show that’s what helps kids learn consideration and responsibility, and makes for happier kids and parents.
At home, we practice positive parenting by encouraging listening and cooperation. Arjay and I are aware that The Princess and The Little Man are in a stage where they are eager to practice independence. This often causes frustration (which leads to tantrums and misbehavior) because there are things they still can’t do on their own and words/feelings they can’t express. As their parents, we must give them love and attention, support and encouragement, and some sort of routine that will give them a sense of stability.
4 Tips For Parenting Toddlers
Parenting Tip #1: Show ’em some love!
Is your toddler throwing more tantrums than usual? More than The Little Man, it surprises me when The Princess throws seemingly never ending crying fits. “Use your words,” I would often tell her. “Tell Mommy why you’re crying.” There are days when she would stop crying and talk to me. There are also days when she would cry even louder and would not stop no matter how much I try to shush her.
I’m not going to lie. When she does this on days when I am busy and tired, I would sometimes just shut her cries out until she cries herself to sleep. By the time she wakes up, she would ignore me totally like an angry teenager would after being told that she’s grounded (this is why we call her a threenager).
Let me tell you that ignoring will not help ease toddler tantrums. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, prevention is better than cure. I think that can be applied when trying to avoid or correct toddler misbehavior. What can prevent or lessen tantrums and behavior issues? Positive attention always does the trick. Give your little one lots of hugs and kisses; participate when she asks you to play pretend with her; and frequently praise her for a job well done.
As for The Princess, I’ve learned that she throws tantrums every time we give more attention to her little brother. Since we don’t want sibling rivalry to creep into their relationship, we make sure that we give both of them equal attention. Aside from family days out, we also dedicate at least one afternoon for one-on-one time with each child.
Parenting Tip #2: Accept Your Child
As our children grow, they start to show certain traits – some may be similar to yours, others may be totally different. Respect and nurture your child’s individuality by avoiding labeling bad traits and by building on his/her strengths.
For instance, The Princess is known for being strong-willed. Instead of labeling her as pasaway (stubborn), which other people sadly tell her in front of her face (ugh!), we treat this trait as her strength and build on it by giving her toys and learning materials that can challenge her. For us, she is not stubborn but determined.
The Little Man, on the other hand, can be a bit mischievous. Remember the poop facial? Who wouldn’t forget that, right? And he likes sliding his arms through a table full of stuff and would laugh when everything slides off. He finds pleasure cleaning tables this way for some reason. It’s easy to get extremely angry when this happens, but we’d like to think that he is just a curious and playful young man. What Arjay does, which I believe really works, is to be playful as a response to our boy’s behavior. When The Little Man makes a mess, Arjay would start a clean-up through a basketball game. Since it’s a game, the minis would excitedly participate and would shoot all the toys back into their respective baskets.
Side Note: This is also a nice way to insert lessons during play. You can teach toddlers colors, shapes, or counting!
The bottomline really is to accept your children as they are. If you notice a bad behavior or trait, turn it around by introducing them to fun activities.
Parenting Tip #3: Encourage Communication
Communication is very important in maintaining peace in our home. As I mentioned in #1, when the minis throw tantrums, we would talk to them calmly about why they are crying. This shows them that we are willing to listen and help them address whatever is frustrating them.
This works well in a marriage, too, so be sure to practice it at home! ;)
Parenting Tip #4: Stick To A Schedule
In my three years as a mom, I can say that having a routine really makes a difference on a child’s behavior. I noticed that we get more tantrums when we are staying at my mom’s or are on vacation since our schedule gets messed up. A routine gives them a sense of security and allows them to have a sort of control or mastery over their lives. Aside from preventing tantrums, routines can teach them self-discipline early on.
These are just some tips for parenting toddlers among many others that I learned from research and experience. If you have some tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments section below.