Keeping up with Your Toddler

By Katrina Castaneda
They say that once your child hits the second year mark, you're already in for another phase. Get ready to welcome what they call Terrific or Terrible Twos. Take note of these tips that can help in managing your little tot.

Keep them busy.
If you're a stay-at-home mom and on the creative side, check out some DIY activities online that you can make with your child. Personally, I like doing Art activities. It's always open-ended and doesn't feel like a task at all. I always use tempera paint which makes it easier for me to clean afterwards. I let her paint in our glass door and walls using foam brushes. Of course it can get quite messy but you'll see how fun it is for her and for you, Mommy! She'll learn about colors, simple counting and develop her fine motor skills.

But whenever we travel, I make sure to bring a book to read specifically about dinosaurs because she's in the Rooooar-phase and I also add some manipulatives like blocks or clay. They're quite handy and it keeps her busy for a while until she gets hungry or needs to be changed.

Give them choices.
At this point, your toddler can now express her wants meaning you'll hear more of No, no, no! If you're faced with this challenging situation, give her choices. That way, you can negotiate with her and eliminate the NO response plus your little one will feel empowered as well that she can make decisions in her little ways. When I play with my toddler, I always give her choice time—she can pick whatever toy she'd like but she needs to rotate and use some toys after a few minutes.

Stick with the Rules. 
There will be days when you're just tired from work or household chores that you just want to give in- let's say using the iPad or having another dessert after dinner. If there are other relatives at home who likes to break the rules from time to time, now is the right time to talk to them. Toddlers can follow rules only if these are consistent and reinforced. But if someone breaks it, they will probably do the same. So tell lola that one chocolate a day is okay and tell ate (yaya) no more TV after 9pm. 

Let them cry. 
Sometimes toddlers, just like adults, also experience bad days. Whether they got scolded from messing up the toys you just packed away or not being able to watch Hi-5 because you wanted to watch the news first, then there's no other way to release their emotions but to cry. It's okay to let them cry. Crying may mean a lot of things. We should not baby them at all times because they'll get used to it. At some point, they need to realize that they can't have everything they want whenever they want to.  You just gotta figure it out. Don't worry, after a few minutes or so, she'll be back reaching for a book you'd want her to read. But if crying persists for a long time, make sure that you also know what she's crying about. Perhaps she's sleepy, hunrgy or bored and that's when you come in to ease off the stress.

These are not hacks to make parenting a lot easier but these will definitely up your game when you're challenged by your toddler. It'll never be easy but it'll be worth it. ;)

About the Author: 
Katrina Castaneda is an Early Childhood educator, a freelance writer for magazines and websites, and a soon-to-be mom of two. Teacher Kat graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Teaching Early Grades (TEG) from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She was a class adviser in Ateneo de Manila Grade School and English teacher in Singapore. She also worked as a magazine editor and still a contributing writer for websites. Teaching will always be her first love but parenting and joining the community of other millennial moms is on top of her list as well. ;)

Let me know your thoughts...