According to the National Parent Survey, 73% of parents of children under the age of 3 describe parenting as their biggest challenge in life. Toddlers can certainly be difficult and demanding at times, but they can also be a complete delight. 91% of parents said that their children are their greatest joy. Helping your toddler navigate all the transitions they have to make is part of that joy, and can be a very satisfying experience for both of you. It is all about helping them to learn new tasks and understanding the routine of daily life. Before you know it, your little one will be able to tackle transitions better with self-control, taking it all in their stride.
Include them in little decisions
New stages in a toddler’s life, such as moving from a cot to a proper bed may feel a little overwhelming or even scary to a very young child, but including them in some of the decisions to do with that change can really help them deal with the transition happily. Spending some time together choosing new duvet covers for the “big bed” can be good fun, and you can even include their favorite stuffed animals in the decision. When your toddler feels actively involved in the decisions surrounding a transition it will give them confidence and pride that they are now a “big kid” who is in charge.
Give them choice
Just like adults, toddlers like to feel that they have some control over their lives. When they don’t have a choice in something, or when they feel out of control, is when tantrums can occur. Giving your child simple choices can help them with common transitions such as learning to get dressed or potty training. Instead of telling your toddler that they should get dressed (to which the answer could well be a resounding “no”), give them the choice of what they would like to wear. “Would you like the red dress or the spotty trousers today?” Or “Would you like to read Peter Rabbit on the potty or Peppa Pig?” Avoid yes/no questions when dealing with transitional tasks, and instead give them a simple choice. It will give your child a sense of autonomy and help to avoid a power struggle.
Be consistent with routine
Toddlers thrive on routine – like adults, they just want to know where they stand. Developing a good routine can help your little one to accept transitions quickly, because they will know what is expected of them. Whenever you can, be consistent with your routine, for instance, straight after breakfast is potty time, followed by getting dressed time. You should then be less likely to have battles about the transitions. Try and incorporate any new changes into your routine quickly, so that they soon become second nature.
Toddlers can sometimes be a challenge, but more often they are a joy. It is a privilege to watch them growing up and helping them through the transitions that they go through every single day as they develop.