By Jane Matheson, CEO of Wood’s Homes
This Family Day long weekend, we decided to take some time to reflect on some things that keep families healthy, happy and together. We know this isn’t always easy and that challenges are unavoidable, but we also know that the best way to help the families that come to Wood’s Homes is to listen and learn from individual experience.
That’s why we’ve put together some lists of things we’ve learned while guiding families through the rough patches.
So, without further adieu, check out our Top 10 Tactics for Taming Toddlers, as well as some useful tips for raising teens.
First, the toddlers…
- Ignore temper tantrums. In fact, stand back, smile bemusedly and watch. Be patient. It will end soon. Don’t be embarrassed in public places.
- Remember, distractions work… Toddlers are interested in everything!
- Provide choice any time you can… “Do you want to wear the red pants or the blue pants?” But avoid too much – two possibilities is best.
- Speak simply. Avoid baby-talk. Use short sentences.
- Watch your tone of voice. Toddlers are sensitive to all manner of anger, loud and scary noises, and words. One must learn to be sharp and clear about consequences while being kind and gentle.
- No sarcasm. Before the age of reason, the nuances of this type of ‘humour” are completely lost or misunderstood.
- Routines are very important especially around bedtime and eating. However, don’t become rigid. Allow flexibility in some areas once and awhile.
- Distinguish behaviour from the child. “I don’t like what you did but I love you anyway”
- Certain kinds of bribery work and are good. The good ones are called positive behavioural reinforcement. Choose carefully (not candy)
- Don’t wrap your child in bubble-wrap. They need to develop “grit” by trying things, failing or falling down and picking themselves up again. You need to be nearby to kiss the boo-boos but that is it.
We hope these tips serve you well during your adventures in toddler-raising. But we should mention that even if orchestrated perfectly, you’re not out of the woods yet. So, in keeping with our Family Day weekend theme, check out these Tactics for Taming Teens.
- Pick your battles carefully. Don’t die on the wrong hill. Ensure you know what your priorities or biggest anxieties are.
- Bite your tongue.
- Timeouts for teens don’t work. Why? Just think about it… you are stuck at home with someone who made you furious for who knows how long? Better to take a time out for yourself.
- Teens are a work in progress. They need constant watering, fertilizing and sometimes to be left alone to dry out.
- Practice makes perfect. You will make lots of mistakes when they are 11… Just apologize and try again later. By the time they are 18 (maybe 25 these days), you will probably have figured it out.
- Natural or logical consequences are always best. Discipline and the removal of cherished possessions never works.
- Don’t hover. Wait for opportunities.
- Mistakes are good – let things fall apart.
- Don’t yell.
Well, there you have it. We hope these tips have helped out and offered some positive guidance for you and your family. And remember, for more, we’re a call away.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!
Wood’s Homes is a nationally accredited mental health centre – proudly helping communities for over 100 years. Learn more at woodshomes.ca.