Having a toddler is like living in the middle of an endless game of survivor. In order to win, you’ll have to outwit, outplay and outlast your fellow competitors (toddlers).
Outwit – Toddlers are smart, but they’re just learning. They are always pushing the boundaries on what they can get away with. As a parent you don’t want to squash their curiosity, their personality and their creativity. At the same time, you want them to be safe, and to learn how to behave appropriately in a social setting.
One way you can give them the space to experiment whilst knowing they’re safe is using the baby monitor You may have stopped using it once they started sleeping through and you found you didn’t need it any more. But get it out, and set it up where they play.
You can let them play independently while watching them and or listening to them without stifling them (this is not intended to substitute proper supervision, just give your toddler the opportunity to practice independence safely)
Outplay – guiding your toddlers play is one way you can harness their curiosity and adventurousness while still allowing them to grow into themselves. Getting out the baby wraps can lead to cubby houses, peek-a-boo, picnics and putting the dolls to bed in their old tiny baby clothes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could get out the paint shirts and an easel and let them paint or colour or even use a chalk board to draw.
Want to know what you’re playing for? By giving your toddler creative opportunities, you’ll be giving them a structured way to express themselves, in a safe environment at home. They’ll be able to experiment and learn what works and doesn’t work that they can then build on and take to day-care or other social settings. By playing with them, you help to give them a safe and solid foundation on which to build their skills.
Outlast – Toddlerhood with all its precious moments and monstrous tantrums is a finite experience. There will be days when you wish you weren’t participating and there will be days when you feel like your alliances with your partner (and sometimes your toddler) have been not only tested, but betrayed. This is a game that has an ending, and outlasting is just a matter of time.
The sweet moments you look back on. The proud moment they learn a new skill. Their growing independence and personalities are all part of the incredible prize that every player of SURVIVOR – toddlers wins. And when it’s over and toddlerhood is a thing of the past, you may be surprised to find you’re sad that you’ve been voted off and the tribe has spoken.