One of the first things I did when I found out I was going to be a mommy, almost 2 years ago (wow, has it been that long already?!?), was sign-up for Baby Center.com. If you aren't familiar with this site, they send you an e-mail every week about how your baby is growing and developing and then after your baby is born, they continue to send you e-mails about your little one. It's great! Every week I get an e-mail talking about what skills and behaviors I may start to see in my 14-month-old son Jude. Every week, the e-mail is right on target with what I'm seeing in Jude. This week's edition hit home big time! It had an article about handling a "spirited" toddler.
First of all, I love the term "spirited." I'm always looking for the right adjective to describe Jude - a positive way to describe some of Jude's challenging characteristics. My son is an on-the-go, non-stop action kind of kid who can be pretty stubborn and who likes to put up a fight! Jude is curious and is always out to discover something new. There is never a dull moment with this boy. Jude can also be very strong-willed. He wants to do things his way and he doesn't want anyone to stop him. When I started reading this article, I realized, "spirited" fits him just right.
As a fairly new mommy, I'm always eager to learn more about being a good parent. I got some great tips from this article. Here are a few of my favorites:
"Be clear and consistent.
Spirited children need the security and consistency of clear rules, so it's important to set limits. If nap time is always after lunch and your spirited 3-year-old puts up a fuss, be firm and confident as you enforce his rest period. If videos aren't allowed after dinner but you let him watch "just this one" tonight so you can make a phone call, he'll test you and demand one — forcefully — every night for the rest of the week."
"Create a "yes" environment.
"Me do!" are a toddler's favorite words, says Kurcinka. Let your child pour his own juice out of a little pitcher, use a fork at dinner, and put on his own shoes. Even if everything is a little messier and takes a little longer, his increased independence and cooperation are worth it."
"Also, look at how your house is organized. Is there a low cupboard in the kitchen filled with pots and plastic containers that he can play with? Are his toys and books easy to reach? Is there a bed, couch, or floor pillow that he's allowed to jump on? The more child-friendly your home is, the less you'll be fighting with him to keep away from special things and places."
This article really gave me some great ideas on how to keep a positive outlook and make a home environment where a spirited child can feel comfortable and happy.
To all you moms out there, do you have "spirited" child? What tips do you have for handling your energetic little ones? I'm always eager to hear feedback from other moms. You can post your comments below or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org