Written by Girl Birthday Gift
Whenever we are at the playground, Luke is most definitely that child running around squealing and laughing while all of the other kids stare in terror/amusement. It eventually ends up in all of them playing together and harmoniously squealing for joy, though. The reason being is that Luke is genuinely a happy toddler. Challenging, yes. But what toddler isn't? Screaming, learning boundaries and insanely high energy levels are the name of the game.
Oftentimes I blame myself thinking I am a terrible parent because my tot doesn't sit in one spot like a delicate flower and behave like a saint. I am beginning to realize how lame that is. Just because my toddler has bad moments doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. They are necessary and inevitable.
What I do know is that toddlers have the capacity to laugh and enjoy life beyond imagination. I read somewhere once that they laugh 50 times in an hour or something ridiculous like that (don't quote me on the amount, but the message here is that they laugh, a lot) and ever since I have wanted to make sure my toddler fills his capacity for happiness.
Here are my tips I have gathered along the way to raising a happy toddler:
- Keep them on a routine. This covers all facets of life. Meals, sleeping, playtime, etc. The more of a schedule they are on, the more secure they will be with life because they know what is coming next and their small world will have sense and order to it.
- Laugh and play with them. I don't know a little person that doesn't eat up every moment they get to play with their parents. Sharing in the silly moments of life creates a tight bond, and the best way to someone's heart is through laughter.
- Do not reinforce negative behavior. This one I am still working on. For example, it is tough and horribly embarrassing for me to let my child throw a mega-tantrum in public without reacting to it, but the more I've ignored it, the less of a problem we've had with negative behavior. Luke is learning to approach upsetting situations in a more sensible manner, which obviously keeps everyone in better spirits. Also, distraction is a wonderful tool for diverting unwanted behaviors and keeping things calm and happy.
- Actively reward them for positive behavior. I can't even begin to emphasize how important this is! Words of affirmation and encouragement do so much for a toddler's behavior and self-esteem by helping them feel important and validated.
- Tell them you love them often. Because how can you not be happy when you know someone unconditionally loves you?
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