Friday, May 25, 2012

Keeping My Sanity Staying At Home With Toddlers

Let me just start out by saying, I make it through each day with sanity in tact solely by the grace of God. I pray each day that He continues to give me a love and patience with my boys that will flourish and grow daily. I want my boys to see the love of Jesus through how I treat them each day and getting angry and yelling would not be a way to go about that.
First off, I am raising two toddler boys. Toddler and boys being the two key words here. I think a toddler of either gender is a stage where they learn independence and learn how to test the limits.  With these two things comes tantrums and fit throwing. Second of all, every baby is different and different things work for different kids. I really learned that this was true when I had my second baby only being a year younger than my first and realizing how completely different they are.

I really try not to yell or talk over Oliver, the two year old, while he’s crying and kicking and demanding his way, I found that would only fuel his fire and make him cry louder. When he starts to whine I try to talk him down by saying things like “Oliver, please don’t whine. That’s not how you ask for something, you need to ask nicely”. At this point he knows that ask nicely means saying “please” in a nice tone of voice, so that really helps. I do not give into him until he has asked nicely with the right attitude. Being consistent with this approach plays a big part in him catching on to things like that.
With Carter, the one year old, I will stop and just watch him while he throws his fit because once he gets any sort of reaction out of me he just takes it up a notch and learns that his actions are getting our attention in the way that he is wanting. If he doesn’t calm down I will set him down and start to walk away (when we’re at home of course) so that he knows I’m disappointed with how he is behaving. He doesn’t like when I’m unhappy with him so with that being our last resort it normally does the trick and he snaps out of it.

Neither of my boys have responded at all to physical punishment; hand slaps, flicks, and light pinches have never affected them. They just look at us and keep doing whatever it is we’re asking them to refrain from doing! Their tolerance to pain is just too high to be effective and we obviously don’t believe in beating your kids! Spanking-yes. Beating-no.

 
My boys normally sleep in pretty well but if there’s a day where they get up early and I’m tired I’ll bring them to bed with me to cuddle and watch whatever movie they want to watch that morning. After a little while of baby cuddles (always perks me up with a heart full of joy) we head to the kitchen and make breakfast and I always try to talk with them and listen to all of the crazy things Oliver likes to talk or learn about. It’s always a refreshing start to an early day.

If one or both of the boys or even if I’m having a cranky day I normally try to do some of the following to lift some spirits. First, I’ll crank up some worship music in the living room and start dancing around pretty crazy-like to get the boys smiling and dancing with me. This always works because the boys love to be silly and think its even better when Mama is silly with them! 
Second, if it’s a nice day out and/or the dancing doesn’t work I’ll get the boys shoes on and either take them for a walk around our neighborhood letting them play in the dirt or I take them to the park to play or I’ll throw them in the stroller and go for a run. This not only gets them in a good mood but I know that when I get exercise I feel better and my mood always improves right after. 

Third, if they’re still really cranky after the other two attempts at happiness have failed, I try to come up with a special treat of some sort to have in the afternoon and we’ll sit on the floor in the living room or playroom together and enjoy. My boys love sweet treats so this last resort is pretty great when they’re crabby. My boys are still too little to reason with about having a good attitude and feeling the joy of the Lord even when we don’t feel like it, but we still talk about it. I know they’ll pick up on it eventually and if we’re always talking about it they’ll become very familiar with it. This will be very good when they do finally understand the concept.
Thankfully I have been blessed with having my family in the same town so if I am really tired or just feel like I need to get out of the house (without spending money) I will take the boys to my parents house and they love it. They normally are so excited to be there that they self entertain the entire time or play with one of my siblings that love them to death!
These are just a few of the ways I survive daily life at home with two little tots and I really want to enjoy every moment, so bad days can be depressing if I let it get to that. Lots of prayer and time in the Word when God provides me with that time are essential! He totally teaches through the daily life of raising my boys and that really does encourage me to have a better attitude. If I’m frumping around the house wallowing in my self-pity I’m obviously not open to what God is trying to teach me! I know how quickly they’ve grown so far and know that it will only pick up in speed from here. Cherish your babies and ask God to give you that unconditional love for them, shower them with it daily! Show them affection; you can never give too many hugs, cuddles, or kisses!
I really encourage all of you Mama's to really focus on showing your kids the love of Jesus, remaining in prayer- talk to Jesus as you go about your day, He's listening!, and put in the effort to make fun memories while you have your kids at home. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day stuff and that can greatly take away from the joy that God is providing you through your children. God is so good!

2 comments:

  1. I'm sure I can learn so much from you as mine are only 11.5 months apart! So much fun and such a blessing, but so much craziness/chaos.

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    1. oh wow! 11.5 months is almost as close as you can get :) I love having mine close. It's crazy and chaotic for sure but so much fun! Thanks for stopping by!

      Whitney

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