“Daddy. Daddy. Dad! Daaaaaaaadddddddd!”
As a parent, we have all experienced these moments of impatience from our little tyrants. I like to refer to this specific event as, “The Calling.”
Your toddler is now able to speak for themselves, ask for what they want and summon you from across the house. One moment she’s a little ball wrapped in pink and the next she’s standing 3 feet tall and giving you attitude. Let’s be honest though, they make life so much more amazing and eventful!
They are beginning to explore their world more and more; beginning to ask more questions about the things happening around them as well as pushing the limits.
Between the ages of 2 and 3, your child will display developmental milestones such as playing make-believe, imitating parenting with their toys or jumping. They may not seem like extremely important activities, but they are.
During these milestones and desire for independence, you must encourage them and reward them with your attention and love.
Parenting is no easy task and it doesn’t matter how many books or magazines you read; nothing can truly prepare you for the life of parenting. One thing is for sure, we all want our children to be successful.
Yes, including our toddlers! What exactly entails a successful toddler?
Our Lives as Parents: Amazing, Exciting, and Challenging
I remember the day she was born as if it was yesterday. Wide-eyed and looking at me with those beautiful brown eyes. It was a wave of emotions for her mother and me; beyond happy, excited and afraid. Oh yeah, we were scared. This tiny little human was depending on us to protect her, provide for her and teach her.
There is nothing in this entire world that can compare to the feeling of becoming a parent. It’s truly a life-changing moment to think that this little being is yours. As soon as I laid my eyes on her, she had me wrapped around her tiny finger!
As I said, though, we were terrified. What we thought we had figured out was nothing like the things we had read. Every single moment spent with them is different and beautiful in their own way. Once again, you can read all the materials you want, but they don’t touch on the real-life situations that arise as a parent. Such as colic, that was a rough couple of months with sleepless nights and early mornings. Trying to soothe her and love her, but nothing would help. It aches in your heart when you know they’re hurting and there is nothing you can do. It’s times like that when you realize parenting is a new adventure every single day and you learn together. We took all the information from classes, books to online articles and altered it into a parenting plan of our own.
Of course, we also had our beautiful mother’s giving us their parenting habits and ideas; old wives tales maybe, but some do work!
We loved her tremendously and because we did, we wanted to be the best parents we could be. We wanted to give her the best. I’m not talking about gifts and toys. I mean we wanted to give her a bright future. We wanted her to be intelligent, knowledgeable, outgoing and witty. We just wanted her to be the best person she could be. It sounds strange but it all starts from day one. We snuggled her, tickled her and played with her, but we also worked with her. Before she could even sit up by herself, I had made flashcards with the alphabet and numbers on them; I would work with her 15 minutes a day. We always read books to her and still do. Before she was even two she had her alphabet memorized and could count to 14!
I know parents say it all the time, “My child is so smart!” I’m going to be one of those parents right now and say just that!
Whenever we would talk to her we always talked her like she was another human being. We never really did the
baby talk, maybe here and there, but for the most part, we refrained from it. We would ask her open-ended questions and listen to her jibber-jabber in reply. We would pretend we understood what she was saying, and we made sure that she knew we were listening. We did that because we wanted her to realize that her voice was important. Adriana now has a tremendous vocabulary of a toddler who is about to be three.
She uses words that not even her mother uses! No offense mom, I’m going to get an ear full for that one!
It’s not just the words she uses, but it’s how she uses them in the correct context. I don’t think a day goes by where she doesn’t leave us in awe.
We always hear about the terrible twos and the tantrums, but she never really replicated the picture people painted about this challenging stage. We’ve always used the timeout chair as a disciplinary action and then explained to her why she was punished. Only once have I ever had to be extremely stern with her and it broke my heart in two. She was overly tired and fighting bedtime. I turned on my serious "Dad" voice and she asked me with tears in her eyes, “You’re not mean daddy, you’re not mean?” I tucked her back in, explained to her that I don’t want to have to be that way but that she must listen when she is told to do something. I kissed her and I left the room trying not to cry. I told her mom that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Besides that, she has been the most well mannered and pleasant two-year-old!
Whenever she is experiencing an emotion, whether it be sad, mad or afraid we explain it to her. A lot of people let their children be happy, but when they’re crying or mad, they tell them to stop. Do you want someone to tell you to stop if you’re sad? No, because we are all human and need to understand each emotion and its importance. We are still teaching her proper and acceptable ways to express her feelings and emotions.
Adriana is high-strung and hyper! She can be all over the place like that Tasmanian Devil all day long. We don’t try to stop her from being this way. Instead, we encourage it and try to help her understand when it is allowed and when she must be calm and pay attention. We’ve also had her involved in extracurricular activities like dance and playgroups. Dance is perfect because they must listen to directions, but also get to just dance their silly off! Her grandmother also takes her to playgroups where they get to play but must sit down and focus on crafts or reasoning activities as well.
I will say we had the toughest time with potty training. One day she would go on the potty and the next she wouldn't. One day she told me she had to go poop so I took her into the bathroom and got her potty on the toilet. I started helping her pull down her training underwear and to my surprise, I stuck my fingers in poop! She started screaming, then I started screaming, and her mom runs in, “What is going on!?” Well, mom, poop is what’s going on. That little stinker had already pooped, but at least she said she had to go! It was hilarious and the way she reacted was priceless! She's 110% potty trained now and she's so proud of it!
Parenting is a full-time job and if you want to be a successful parent, then you need to put the work in. The same way you go to work and bust your butt you must do that for your child. They need you and your guidance. It’s not just about buying them toys, feeding them or clothing them. You need to make interaction with them of extreme importance and you need to give them a structured life. Love is more than kisses, hugs, and cuddles; it’s teaching them right from wrong, encouraging them to explore their surroundings, to try new things and helping them continually learn. Their success as children is your success as a parent and it will bring you so much pride!
The 10 Fundamentals of Parenting
1. Verbally and physically express your love daily!
Say I love you more than you should! Kiss and hug them until they can’t handle it anymore!
2. Motivate, praise and discipline!
Words of affirmations are a must. Let them know how well they are doing and how proud you are of them. Always explain at eye level why they were disciplined and let them know you love them even though they made a mistake.
Your voice becomes their sub-conscious as they get older.
You want them to be as knowledgeable as possible, but you also want to teach them life and how to be good little people! Teach them to dress well and even if you’re just going to be home for the day, always get out of pajamas!
Remember, you’re molding their habits as adults.
Children thrive when they have a structured environment with a healthy routine.
5. Encourage and explain all emotions!
Never try to silence their temperament, sadness or joy! Each emotion is of equal importance.
6. Answer their questions!
Always listen to them and answer whatever questions they may have even if they are silly or if they ask you 1,000 times. They are learning to communicate and be outgoing. Help them by having those meaningless conversations about the bug in the window and where she came from.
Be silly, obnoxious and random with them — it’s good for you! Let out that inner child and run around.
8. Promote their creativity.
Coloring, painting, crafts and imaginary play are so important for self-expression.
9. Encourage them to be outgoing!
When you’re out in public, make sure to smile and say hello to people! It’ll brighten up your day as well as someone else’s while teaching them to be kind people.
10. Love yourself and let them see it.
Always love yourself for who you are and ask them if they love themselves and why they should.
Our Children: The Worlds Future
We are raising the next generation of the world. We must do the very best we can for them and for their futures. We all want to see our children be successful and it starts with us and what we teach them. It’s never too early to start instilling the value of love, knowledge, and communication! They look up to us like we were the real superheroes of the world. So, make sure to be that for them!