April 12, 2018

What I've Learned About Toddlerhood

It's no secret over on instagram Abby and I get out everyday. So yes, our girly adventures tend to unfold naturally. We are able to see and do a lot since we have a strong bond between us and understand each other. A schedule certainly helps, but there have been a few things here and there I've consistently used to help teach Abby, about expectations. After 60% of you voted on toddler tips, I thought this post would be helpful to many of you.

To recap those polls, 56% vote on raw motherhood and 45% voted for inspirational.  I decided to pull the two ideas together, by discussing what toddlerhood has taught me this past year (Abby turns 2 in only 2 months!) After all, sharing how I raise my daughter (even to a tiny degree), is a bit intimating! There are so many different ways we can parent and we all do things differently, which I respect.

So here I am today, about to open up my own parenting box and share with you a few things in which I've learned over the past year about toddlerhood. Weather you have a toddler now, or you will have one in the near future, please know that I'm not a parenting expert by any means! 

I've just used some of my own training and experience from teaching K-12 about setting expectations and practicing positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement meaning, I want the good behavior to be demonstrated again! These tricks of the trade in teaching have helped ME get out and about with Abby. 

So here are 6 things, I have learned about toddlerhood.

(Please keep in mind before reading that these ideas are based off my own experience and every mother's experience and child is different. )

1) Getting Down To Her Level:
I have found that when I make an effort to connect with Abby from the moment she wakes up, our mornings are always smoother. For example, I make eye contact with Abby in her crib, read a book, and or play with her on the floor. This way she feels seen, heard, valued and loved. I believe all humans general want these things and not just my toddler.  All of us want our lives and presence to matter, so I make sure to "connect" with Abby bright and early in the AM.

2) Giving Option's:
When it comes to certain things like snack time, I give Abby two options, (even when she is asking for chocolate). I say, "no, you can't have chocolate though you can have an apple or cheese stick. Which one do you want? And then I show her both and let her choose. This way, she is in control and feels very happy about her choice. Where as, if I tell her, "no" you can't have chocolate, a tantrum is always around corner. Though sometimes I have to tell you, no is the only answer.   : )

3) Distraction:
When we are at Trader Joes, Target, or Whole Foods Abby always wants to touch whatever it is I'm touching. She basically wants to shop with me since this is what she sees me doing. So I let her. Just this past week I handed her an pear and told her what it was. A good teaching moment and one that makes her feel part of the grocery shopping process. I also try to go grocery shopping in between mealtimes so that Abby is eating her snack in the milk snob cover. I have found snack time in the grocery chart is golden. Snacking keeps her busy, and keeps her happy. 

4) Teaching Expectations:
I borrowed this next tip, from my experience in classroom management; setting her up for success before we even move. How? I first explain to her and then show her what I expect, followed with a compliment for demonstrating the right behavior. Almost every parent does this naturally when teaching our little one to hold our hand and look both ways before crossing the street.

Just like teaching, "look both ways before you cross the street" concept, I tend to always take the three-step approach of 1) showing, 2) leading, and 3) complimenting good behavior. For example, I used this to teach her how to place a sippy cup down, put books away and getting her to "wait for me" or hold still. For Abby and I these three steps have worked wonderfully. 

5) Saying "Good-bye"
I have found this one to work extremely well when we need to leave a place.  At the playground for example, I tell Abby she has 3 minutes, 1 minute and 10 seconds left.  I know a toddler like Abby has no concept of time, but it's the language that she's starting to pick up on and soon the rest will follow. She is starting to recognize what mommy says before we leave. And I'm consistent with it. When it's time to say, "bye-bye slide" and wave, I actually do and say these things. Much like teaching her how to hold my hand while we walk across the street. 

I don't ever get a kicking and screaming child leaving the playground because she has been able to transition from fun time at the park, to we're about to leave, to actually saying, "good-bye" and waving.

6) There is no "right" or 'wrong" way to parent.
I write this blog post knowing that what I have to share and give to the motherhood community is not the only way to go about raising a toddler; they are just ideas that have worked for Abby and I. We are all uniquely made with a different back story to our lives and we all have a different future ahead of us. I know the term mom shaming has recently been brought to light in the media this past year, and although yes it is very real and happens so often to all of us. At the end of the day, we are all doing life differently. 

Thank you everyone for taking the time to complete my three question poll up in instagram stories as it really helps me serve you better.

I plan on continually getting feedback from you each week!

Go ahead and pin this post below so that you may refer back to it later, and if there is anything you would like me to expand on, please feel free to comment below!  

Until Next week!

                                XO - Steph


  1. Love this! I’m currently raising my third toddler as I prepare for a newborn in the coming month. Your tips are so right on. I also love your humility. Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration. To new moms and to “been there, done that” moms ��

    1. Thank you Sarah for reaching out and giving me your thoughts! I'm so glad to hear from a "been there, done that" mom that you feel this blog post will help other moms. As that is exactly my goal for writing up this perspective. I'm both humbled and honored to share the motherhood journey with you.

  2. I love all of this and it is so great to see other parents' perspectives!

    1. Oh I'm so happy to hear this post resonated with you! I too, love hearing what other parents are doing as I feel sharing and connecting with other moms and dads makes us all better parents. Thank you for your kinds word!