Toddlers have it tough.
Toddlers are short, not well-coordinated, they don’t always know how to express what they want, and adults just don’t get what’s going on in their heads most of the time. For some kiddos, the terrible 2′s start and are quickly followed by the equally terrible 3′s. Several years of whining, tears, and time-outs wear on both parent and child.
Toddlers want to be understood and taken seriously. For good reasons, this is can be tough for parents.
The other night, our 3-year-old (who has never needed a nightlight in her life or ever had any concerns about nighttime) started pounding on the door.
“Daddy! The dark is scaring me!”
I dug out a nightlight we had received at a baby shower before she was born and things calmed down…
Ten minutes later.
“Daddy! The nightlight is scaring me!”
Back and forth ad infinitum, toddlers just can’t seem to make up their minds.
As any parent will tell you, kids love being in charge. It makes them feel smart, confident, and not like a baby for just a bit. Making your toddler feel smart helps them to be more decisive and have a bit of control in a world that is mostly out of their hands. My favorite way to make our toddler feel smart is to let her correct my goofy mistakes.
When we are out running errands, I will frequently ask our toddler what she sees outside and then make some blatantly wrong observation about what she sees.
“I see all that snow, too! It is so purple!”
She never misses a beat… “No, Daddy. That snow’s not purple; it’s white!!”
Her face instantly lights up, a huge smile crosses her face, and she feels super smart for correcting her goofy dad. Making your child feel smart helps you bond with her, boosts her confidence, and is a great way to practice colors, shapes, animals, etc. — anything you can goof up!
Dr. Phil Boucher is a pediatrics resident physician in Omaha. He is married and has two children. He blogs at www.thedoctordad.com and frequently tweets about pediatrics & parenting topics at @Phil_BoucherMD You can read him here on momaha.com
* * *