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Having Fun Parenting a Toddler

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/1/2007 | Parenting

Anyone who has been through the stage of parenting a toddler probably looks back and thinks that wasn't so bad. In fact, many people miss those years (once they are over).

That is kind of sad. Why not enjoy the toddler years when they are happening? Here are some tips to help you do just that.

First, relax and have fun along with your child. Clear some responsibilities from your schedule so you don't feel like you have no time to spend with your toddler. There is no reason to feel guilty for spending a few hours playing with Duplo blocks or building a wooden train track. So during these wonderful years spend less time at social events and meetings and more time at home. You will not regret it.

Second, this is a very important age when a child begins to form the character they will have for the rest of their lives. This is the time to lay a foundation of good character, respect for others, and knowing right from wrong.

Model patience, respect, and truthfulness. When your child gets angry that something didn't work out right, help them work through the anger. That can be hard for parents who are impatient themselves. But if you teach your child self control now they will be better prepared for the teen years and adulthood. If you need to, get a book that deals with this problem (The Heart of Anger is very good).

Discipline is a difficult topic, but a parent who disciplines a toddler in love, with patience, will have much less need to discipline the child when he or she is older. It is much easier to deal with disobedience when the child is three than when he is 13.

However, make sure it is truly disobedience and not just childishness. There is a big difference. The child who is willfully being defiant and going against his parent's wishes is not the same as the child who accidentally spills his milk or who starts crying because she didn't get enough sleep the night before. So be sure to take these things into consideration.

Third, if you are at home with a toddler (or two) all day and feel like you need a break, call in some help. Whether you hire a neighbor girl to watch your children a few hours each week or have your mother or grandmother take the children for awhile, give yourself a break. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. Just about everyone has to ask someone to help out during these years.

Giving yourself a few hours off each week will make you a better parent, too. You will find that it gives you more energy, more patience, and a better perspective in being a mother. Your children will be more precious to you after you have had a few hours to yourself.

Having a toddler in the house can be a wonderful experience. Toddlers are so full of wonder and everything is an adventure to them. They think you are terrific and love to spend hours playing with you as you build with blocks or play games or whatever else they want to do.

Take advantage of this time and be available. Relax, enjoy your child, and build many memories to think back on when your child is older, or even when he has moved out on his own.