Outsmart Your Toddler
Stay a step ahead
Although most toddler battles are caused by hunger, fatigue, or frustration, it's easier to recognize those things after a tantrum starts -- and after a few slices of apple would have saved the day. So staying a step ahead of your child is not a quick solution so much as a smart way of thinking. It comes down to consistent routines and reasonable expectations, so you don't have to be a toddler mind reader. Keeping your child on an even keel can be relatively simple: Try to make his basic needs -- food, sleep -- a priority, and not something you squeeze into a busy day.
- Put him down for a nap before he seems super tired.
- Feed him several small meals to keep his blood sugar (and mood) level.
- Give him plenty of encouragement -- he'll be less inclined to flip out when something goes wrong or he doesn't get his way.
But also think twice before you make life unnecessarily hard on him. If you're thinking of braving the mall with a tired child -- don't. The notion "maybe I can just squeeze in one more errand" has been the downfall of many otherwise rational moms. Some of my finest parenting moments (and by finest I mean horrifying and humiliating) have had me half-dragging, half-wrestling my thrashing, wailing, screeching toddler out of Wal-Mart. After public tantrum #36, I finally caught on to the idea of setting limits -- for me. I now limit toddler-accompanied outings to less than two hours.
Of course, if you have a toddler, you've already learned that life rarely goes as planned. So, here's one last trick to try on yourself: Act like you know what to do -- and soon enough, you will!