3 Ways to Make Peace With Your Toddler Using Semantics

Let’s face it, once your itty-bitty baby enters oh-so-opinionated toddlerhood, life changes. Most of it’s outrageously fun — the discovery, the vocabulary, the interactions, the independence. But every now and then, these little people decide to dig in and show us who’s boss. Having been through this a few times myself, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s really as simple as using our words (funny, that’s the name of my personal blog). By adjusting your perspective, you’ll adjust your toddler’s too.

Here are a few examples.

pink coloring herself

Just Say No to “No!”
Let’s say your toddler decides her body is a canvas (obviously this one isn’t too hard for me to imagine). While, upon discovering you have a little Monet, you may be inclined to react with a “No!”, I’ve found that only fuels the fire — or marker, in this case. Reminding her, instead, that a marker draws on paper not bodies, or hands are for hugging, not hitting, empowers your toddler to be the boss the next time around. Because goodness knows, they say that two-letter word plenty without us having to reinforce it.

Nobody Likes to Share
While the concept of sharing is an important one to teach toddlers, they really don’t have the ability to grasp it. So skip the constant nagging of, “You have to share!” And try, “It’s your turn now. When you’re done, Johnny will have a turn.” That way it’s not a battle, it’s fair and square. Some kids will do well if you add, “When I count to x, your turn is over and you get to give it to Johnny for his turn. Then he’ll give it back when his turn is over.”

1, 2, Wheee!
Transitions aren’t easy for anyone, but toddlers make it their job to pitch fits when the time to move on arrives. Whether it’s time to get out of the bath or go inside for dinner, make it fun. Give them warning that it’s time, then count. I like to count, “1…2…Wheeee!” Then I lift my daughter in a playful way to get her giggling instead of raging. It works. Most of the time.

What about you? What semantics tricks have you found that work well to tame your toddler?

Read more from Amy on her slice-of-life parenting blog, Using Our Words.
You can also follow her on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

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