Real Solutions for Real Families Living Real Life

Why Your Tween’s Moodiness is Likely Not Caused by Hormones

Teen moodiness not cause by hormones

It’s always been widely believed that as our children reach puberty and grow into their teen years hormones will be running the show. As parents, we see these hormones as moody body-snatchers making our kids do and say strange things.

However, your tween or teen’s moodiness might not be caused by hormones at all. And blaming these invisible perpetrators for every odd or rude behavior may actually hurt your child in the long run.

Teen moodiness may not be caused by hormones

That’s because your middle schooler is living a very hectic and crazy life every single day. Most of us wouldn’t trade our own stressful adult lives to go back to school for any amount of money!

Oh uh… not going.

Read: Raising confident Teens

3 Cures for Preteen Moodiness

As our children transition from elementary school where most of the kids they go to school with are still sweet and they have the same teacher all day – this all changes drastically when they reach middle school.

The kids they used to be besties with all of a sudden think your kid isn’t cool anymore, they go from having one teacher to seven, and their body is seriously doing some crazy things.

All of this alone would make anyone feel a little out of sorts. But when you add on your tween’s very immature brain which isn’t even close to being finished growing, life can simply feel overwhelming for your child.

It can be a real eye-opener to learn that a lot of typical teen behavior and general moodiness isn’t necessarily caused by hormones at all but by things we can control.

Uh hem… that means we can actually do something real to help!

Tweens Desperately Need More Sleep

As tweens and teens get up at the same time as a typical working adult and get ready to head into an all day physical and emotional roller coaster called school, they are usually short on one thing – SLEEP.

Studies show that 60 to 70% of American teens live with a borderline to severe sleep debt.

Sleep deprivation puts teenagers into a kind of perpetual cloud or haze, explains Dr. Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University and director of chronobiology and sleep research at Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. 

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It’s recommended that all kids ranging in age from 12 to 17 get at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night. We can see how hard this is to achieve with their early waking school hours.

Most kids this age probably aren’t realistically getting to sleep at 9pm. In fact, many actually have trouble getting to sleep in the first place because of using electronics late into the evening, relationship stresses, and homework and studying demands.

Encouraging your kids of all ages to have one hour before bed where they do enjoyable non-screen activities is proven to help prevent sleep problems.

In addition, keeping similar wake-up times on the weekends helps too. Apparently, sleeping in till noon on the weekends hurts their sleep cycles during the week. You may want to allow them a little extra sleep on Saturday mornings, though!

Here are more sleep tips for teens.

Tweens Desperately Need Nutritious Food

There’s a reason your teen seems to want to eat all the food in your house! They’re growing at the rate they were when they were that sweet little toddler.

Their bodies are growing at alarming rates and snacking and grab-and-go meals aren’t cutting it. We must encourage more whole foods whenever possible to reduce the amount of processed foods our teens are consuming.

They’re tasty, convenient, and very attractive to our kids. Packaged and processed foods are also everywhere including our kid’s school. Most children are consuming the typical Modern American Diet (MAD diet) every day.

“Study after study in the medical research journals confirm that people who are most dependent on MAD-style eating habits have increased levels of depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity, and a wide variety of other mental and emotional problems.” —Tyler G. Graham and Drew Ramsey, The Happiness Diet

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Offering many options of healthy, whole foods like sweet clementines, crackers or veggies with hummus, and healthy nuts like pistachios are easy and tasty snack alternatives to candy bars and chips.

Tweens Desparately Need a Break

Wait a minute, all my teen does is lay around all day… breaking is all she does!

Is that what you were thinking?

Having a break doesn’t necessarily mean laying on the couch watching TV or taking a nap. Tweens and teens simply need permission to take a mental and physical break from the stress of their days.

Yes, tweens experience stress… lots of it.

They live in an unusual environment AKA middle school that requires them to change their physical and mental state, sometimes drastically, at the sound of a bell. That is, the school bell.

They dive right into American History and give a class presentation on George Washington’s family life, walk down the hall to take an Algebra exam, run a 4 minute mile in P.E., have a profound discussion on the poetry and life of Robert Frost, sit ackwardly in the cafeteria at the “uncool” table, dissect a butterfly in biology, learn a new song on the trumpet, and the day’s not even done yet.

All of this with different teachers with unique demands and personalities. And let’s not even talk about all the judging, bullying, and peer-pressure being thrown around at our kids every single day.

They need a break.

They need permission to feel how they feel.

They need a space to feel accepted, loved, and un-judged. To feel loved, supported, and encouraged.

They need a break from the pressure.

Our Tweens Desperately Need Us

Teen depression and suicide rates are staggering and on the rise. It’s clear that something is missing.

Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13-to-18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

source

While sleep, food, and downtime are very important to our growing kids, what they need most is us.

Tween and teens need to see us present, hear us cheering them on, and know that we love them unconditionally… no matter how many mistakes they make.

Being a present parent doesn’t mean being physically with them 24/7 but it’s a creating a lifestyle of making them a priority.

We can do this by making a habit of really listening to them and carving out a small piece of one on one time regularly (even 5-10 minutes) can make a habit of real connection.

Raising children at any age isn’t easy so be sure in all of this parenting you don’t forget to take care of yourself. That’s one of the biggest things we can do for our kids… not become a mom hanging on by a thread.

How do you relate to your tween or teen? Share your tips in the comments below!

Is your preteen or teen struggling with moodiness? It's likely NOT caused by hormones! Here are practical tips to help minimize teen moodiness. #teens #preteens #kidsandparenting
Easy solutions to help your tween overcome moodiness and other bad behaviors. And why hormones likely are not to blame! #kidsandparenting #teens #tweens
Is your Tween suddenly more moody and sensitive? Learn how to improve your tween and teen's mood and why hormones aren't likely the cause. #kidsandparenting #parenting

7 Ways To Be a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To or Share With

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Little kids and toddlers talk and share… a lot. It’s pretty much what they do best. In fact, many parents consider their small children to be “over-sharers” of oodles of random thoughts and information.

But as kids get older all that can change. Suddenly, your abundantly chatty 6-year-old becomes a tight-lipped 12-year-old overnight.

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Why does this communication phenomenon happen with so many kids as they get older?

It all boils down to trust and how we set up the boundaries of parental communication early on in our parenting relationship.

The younger a child is, the less they pay attention to what and how we say things. They genuinely just want to talk and be with us. So in order to keep this lovely over-sharing going strong into the teen years and beyond, we need to start preparing now.

It turns out the connection a kid needs to feel with his parents in order to open up and talk to them is cemented long before the teen years. Julie Romanowski, a parenting coach in Vancouver, says communication skills are built even in infancy and toddlerhood. source

And if you’re wondering how you connect and communicate with your little ones, if you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Mommy will you play with me?” you just heard it.

Toddlers and small children talk, share, and connect with us through play. I personally am not the mom who loves “playing with my kids” but it’s a necessary sacrifice that seals the path for open and healthy communication down the road.

We need to break our bad communication habits now and work to develop healthy ones that create openness in our relationship with our children.

Our Highest Priority as Parents

I believe one of our highest priorities as parents, beyond feeding and clothing, is to win our child’s heart. If you have a person’s heart, you have everything to need to be in a healthy and thriving relationship.

And it’s every parent on the planet’s goal to be in a healthy and thriving relationship with their child that lasts a lifetime.

It’s hard and is work that takes more sacrifice that our society thinks is necessary or even possible, but it’s oh so worth it.

If you strongly desire to raise kids that want to come to you first to share their joys and victories along with their fears, questions, and problems you need to be sure you aren’t making the following communication mistakes.

Kids, tweens, and teens all have their own levels of sensitivity. And being repeatedly exposed to any of the following mistakes can cause your child to inadvertently shut down and stop sharing with you on a meaningful level.

And that alone is devastating for a parent.

How to Become a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To

When your child decides to share the random events of their day at school, confides in you about a peer pressure situation they’re struggling with, or wants to tell you a dream they have for their future… it’s a big deal.

Talking and sharing is the access to our child’s heart and that’s always my goal with my kids – to win their heart. If you can successfully win the heart, you win the child.

But we need to be acutely aware of ways we might not even know that stand in our way of being a parent our kids want to talk and share with, especially as they get older.

Here are some really huge actions to watch out for in your own behavior the next time you find yourself in a kid conversation.

1 – You Try to Fix Everything

A huge mistake loving parents make as an act of love is to swoop in mid-conversation to help your child fix their problem. After all, we’re the parents with all the experience and wisdom, right?

Wrong. Well, yes you have wisdom and experience but you can’t use all that right now. Your kid is wading through their issue and finding the right words and emotions to share them with you.

That’s all that matters right now. Not fixing anything.

In fact, we all probably know what this feels like. My hubby does this to me all the time and it drives me nuts. We all need to vent and let our thoughts out into the open without solutions and ideas shooting out of the sky like heat-seeking missiles.

When we’re quick to offer solutions, what we’re really saying to the other person is they aren’t smart enough to come to a good solution on their own. We also rob our children of developing the skills to think critically and solve problems on their own.

2 – You Aren’t Fully Present

One of the most damaging things we can do repeatedly when in conversations with anyone is not give our full attention to the person.

Like when your kid tries to talk to you but your phone is literally still in your hand as you umm hmm through the conversation only occasionally meeting their eyes with yours.

This tells them you’re not really listening.

I know as women we’re known for great multitasking skills but there’s no place for multitasking in communication, with our kids or our spouse.

Eye to eye communication is best with our phone out of sight.

I already know what you’re thinking… the last time your 10-year-old held you hostage to talk about their awesome Minecraft world they just created you thought you actually fell asleep with your eyes open.

I get it, kids’ conversations aren’t always the most interesting for us but every conversation lays the groundwork for more meaningful ones down the road. Hang in there!

3 – You Judge Their Feelings

When your child is sharing how they honestly feel about a situation or even a person and we shift right into parent mode and say something like, “now that’s not a nice way to think about her.” or “is that how I taught you to talk to a friend?”

If your kid is in the middle of sharing their raw, unedited feelings our best course of action is to listen, listen, and keep listening.

Judging them no matter how much we may want to, in the moment, is off limits.

Again, think of how we feel when we vent to a friend or spouse and we know deep inside we’re totally overreacting but the last thing we want is to feel judged for our feelings.

All we want is an ear to listen.

After they’re done, try asking a question like, “how do you think you handled the situation?” or “would you have done things differently if you could?”

These are non-judgemental questions and allow your child to think and reason for themselves. This line of questioning helps your child learn how to solve problems and self-edit their own behavior.

Plus, they keep the conversation going and building more trust!

4 – You Try to Change Their Feelings

Imagine being in a conversation with a friend and you are very upset about a situation and they responded to you like this:

  • “I think you may be over-reacting a little…”
  • “I think you should…”
  • “This could get better for you if you just…”
  • You don’t need to cry about that...”

Everyone has emotions and we’re all probably guilty of way overusing them. And when we’re smack-dab in the middle of a cry-fest the LAST thing anyone wants is to be told their feelings aren’t valid or need to be changed.

The only thing your kid needs when they’re experiencing strong feelings is support and empathy.

To fully understand empathy in a way you’ve probably never heard but WILL open your eyes, watch Brene Brown’s super short video on understanding empathy (this will help you so much!):

5 – You Blow Them Off

Blowing a person off doesn’t always look like making a date with someone and not showing up. Nope. When it comes to our kids it’s often much more subtle than that.

This happens to me a lot… I’m working and one of my kids comes in the room and starts to share something amazing that happened at school and I say, “in a minute… let me finish this first” and then totally forget them when I’m done.

Kids (humans) know when they’re being blown off and though we probably do it so often we don’t even notice it anymore, we need to stop!

If you are truly unable to speak with your child at that moment (that’s real) we need to be very skilled at keeping our word when we are available. That means getting up and finding your child, apologizing, and give them your fullest attention.

Why should you apologize? This is not out of admitting that you did something wrong but as a means to acknowledge how sorry you are for not being available when they needed you.

And if you are truly able to stop what you’re doing at that moment… DO IT.

6 – You Make it All About You

Nobody likes a narcissist. If you compulsively turn conversations with other people toward you… stop now.

When someone is sharing with you, the conversation is and should be about them. Responding repeatedly with statements like…

  • “when this happened to me as a kid, I did…”
  • “what I would do is…”
  • “I know I didn’t raise you like that…”

…leaves your child feeling less-than in your eyes. You are sowing seeds of comparison and competition. And if you’re a mom talking to her daughter, this is very dangerous ground.

Often times self-absorbed communication stems from the desire to fix a situation so we end up looking good in the end. For example, if our child is acting out, we don’t want to be judged by others so we attempt to fix it fast.

We must keep our own motives out of our kid’s conversations and keep it about supporting and helping them. Instead of offering advice and opinions try asking, “how can I help?

If the answer is nothing or not now, leave it alone and don’t push to be the savior. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray for your child and let God work it out!

7 – You Freak Out

Let’s just all agree that part of being a parent is spending most of your time being shocked.

Shocked when your newborn blows out more poop than seems humanly possible and when your toddler paints a sharpie mural in your living room.

So when your kid trusts you enough to tell you that a boy hit her at school today and you immediately fly off the handle you’re sending signals that you’ll freak out every time you hear freak out worthy news.

You gonna compose yourself and be cool. Count to ten, breathe slowly, or whatever you have to do but stay calm and listen. And help them work it out.

Then excuse yourself to your closet and shout into a pillow!


Parenting isn’t easy… that wasn’t part of the deal. But one of the greatest joys a mom can experience is the trust and loving relationship with her child. It takes work but is the greatest work we’ll ever do!

How do you connect and keep communication flowing in your home? Share in the comments below.

A parent's greatest hope is to raise a child who wants to talk to them. Here are 7 ways you may be sabotaging your communication with your kids.

How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without the Cycle of Yelling and Regret

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Do you struggle to get your kids to listen… and obey without turning into the mom version of the Green Man and going all Hulk Smash on your kids? (Sorry, my son is obsessed with superheroes right now!)

I know I’ve been there a thousand and one times!

I have a confession to make… I’m a loud-ish person who’s OK with using my outside voice to be heard… inside. It’s not that I’m yelling in anger, most of the time, I just have high energy and I find that my kids don’t hear me unless my volume is turned up. 😉

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

You know, when it’s time to leave the house and your children are nowhere to be found or when it’s dinner time and I’m serving vegetables and they’ve suddenly been struck with a hearing problem.

So, picking up the volume in my house works.

Can you relate?

In the meantime, I’m looking into installing one of those home intercom systems! Problem solved.

There’s one time I don’t raise my voice anymore, though, and that’s when I’m disciplining. I’ve been on a very long journey from an angry yelling mom to one who knows how to control anger (most days) and still gets her kids to listen.

Do I still have a set-back every now and then and yell at my kids in anger? Sure, but those are infrequent and much less than they used to be. If you find yourself losing your temper frequently with your kids, I strongly encourage you to read and try these tips.

They really do work!

Why Yelling Doesn’t Get Your Kids to Listen

The first step to getting your kids to listen when you’re disciplining is to not be angry. Feels impossible, right?

I mean, sure they “hear” you, but our goal is for them to listen which isn’t the same thing.

Even if you need to step away, it’s important to release or control your personal frustration before diving right in. That’s because disciplining when you’re angry undermines your authority.

I’ve come to learn something along the way. Yelling really never worked, and kids lose respect for yelling parents. 

I thought it was working because when I talked normally, no one ever moved. Until I broke out in a nice yell. That’s only partially true because they simply learned to respond to the yelling.

Not only does disciplining when you’re angry undermine your authority, but you’re also teaching your child how to have loose and untamed emotions by watching you. Ouch!

Yelling like a lunatic and saying hurtful things to your children can have lasting consequences. And whether they tell you or not… those words run deep.

Our yelling is really more about us than it is about them.

This is so, so important for us as parents to let sink in. When we get overwhelmed at the situation and break out into a yelling fit we are acting no different than our toddler who drops to the floor in a temper tantrum.

And when we feel tempted to have a mommy tantrum… we need to give ourselves a mommy timeout.

This is really important to allow us to cool down so we don’t let our emotions take over and do or say something we’ll most certainly regret. And need to apologize for!

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Really Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Lax Parenting is your Enemy

Lax parenting – without firm and consistent boundaries – opens the door to being challenged by your child at some point… or every point.

And we have the tendency be most lax when all is well and we’re having a stress-free day. Little things get overlooked over and over again. We’re afraid to make any adjustments so we don’t rock this peaceful boat we’re in.

For example, you’re in the grocery store with your toddler and things are going great. #MomWin

He asks if he can walk, and since you only had to run in for a couple things (another #MomWin) you let him walk.

In a nano-second, he starts to touch things. He’s just touching and not knocking things over… so what’s the big deal you tell yourself. Deep down, you’re terrified to do anything to end this no-chaos bliss thing happening. So you don’t tell him to stop.

But wait!! Here’s the kicker, he’s just mentally and physically recorded that it’s ok to touch stuff at the store.

Fast forward to your next trip to the store when you need to grab a cart full of stuff (no #MomWin). To top it off, your son didn’t get a full nap today and you’re so exhausted you think you might need glasses.

This time your son reaches out to grab and pull down every item he can get his hands on. You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and headed for a melt-down.

The key to setting boundaries is making them consistent. In the Good Times AND in the Bad! They need to know what to expect EVERY single time.

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Child to Get to Know Their Heart

The Importance of Staying Consistent

Children desperately need consistency to learn. Not only do they need to know what to except, but that expectation you need shouldn’t change every day of the week. And we can’t be wishy-washy.

I use to be the Queen of the Threat. I’d rattle off statements like, “Do you want to go into Timeout?” or “Do you want a spanking?”

When in reality, I didn’t plan on following through. I was banking on the “threat” doing its job. But the truth is, our kids are just too smart for that. They can see right through our weakness. I think they can smell it too!

Inconsistent or nonexistent consequences do nothing short of undermining our integrity and authority.

In short, they learn not to trust what we say.

Here’s a quick tip – make sure to think about the punishment when you’re not emotional. If you rattle off that your teenager is grounded for 6 months… if it doesn’t fit the crime, you’re going to be in a dilemma.

Do I let her off the punishment early or make her stick it out just to prove a point?

Either way isn’t the best scenario.

Related: 50 Simple Ways to Show Love to Your Child Every Day in Their Love Language

Firm doesn’t mean harsh.

Not only should our discipline be consistent but it also needs to be firm. They need to know you mean business.

But by the same token, they shouldn’t be afraid of you. I know, this kind of goes against many old-school parenting methods. But instilling fear is never helpful. There’s a clear difference between firm and harsh.

You may feel this is beneficial when your children are small, but as they get older – they need to know you’re there for them.

Think of all the crazy things young people have to deal with in our current times. Having a parent who blows their top over every little thing will keep your child from confiding in you – when they need you and your wisdom the most.

Let me also mention, that when I say harsh I’m not talking about spanking either. Spanking, done in a loving environment, without anger, can be a very effective discipline tool. And should only be done in love. Although it can clearly be misused and over-used.

Harsh discipline is done when we’re angry and led by our disappointment, embarrassment, guilt, or some other emotion. And can happen in every form of discipline from timeouts, lectures, mean words, shaming, and spanking.

The whole point of discipline is to teach our children what’s right and wrong. And we do this out of our love.

Related: How to Speak Life and Encourage Your Kids to Be Their Best

Discipline Should Come From Love

We see so much destruction in the news today, and I wonder how many of those individuals had no boundaries in their formative years.

Discipline, done the right way, is an act of love. It’s one way we keep our kids safe.

The Bible provides so much practical wisdom on correction and discipline. And the focal point always comes back to love. Proverbs 3:11-12 

It’s our job, really our privilege, to shape our children’s lives in a positive way. Giving them the best possible chance at life by teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves.

I want to emphasize here that the actual form of discipline and punishment you choose is not as important as being consistent and doing want you say.

Not only that, but each child is different and will respond differently to various forms of discipline such as timeouts, removal of privileges, and so on. There is no cookie-cutter formula that’ll work for every kid.

This is an on-going process and one where we need to fully depend on the Grace of God to do well. And rest in that same Grace when we miss it because we all do!

Do you have some tried and trusted methods for getting your kids to listen? Share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them!

Getting your kids to listen without yelling is possible when you do these steps consistently. You'll feel like you have new kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #positiveparenting

Getting your kids to listen and obey the first time and without the need for yelling isn't always easy. However, these simple tips will work wonders! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #Momlife #momThere are things we often do as parents that create the perfect environment for our kids not to listen. Get the secret to getting your kids to listen without yelling. #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momlife #mom #momadvice Getting kids to listen can be a challenge. Try these simple tips to get your kids to listen without yelling. #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife #kids

Getting your kids to listen and obey what you say is a huge parenting struggle. To get your kids to listen requires an effective discipline strategy starting with creating consistent boundaries and giving correction in love.How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Parenting Toddlers: 29 Toddler Experts Share Their Best Kept Secrets!

Expert toddler parenting tips

Raising toddlers is one of the most rewarding stages of parenting. Sure, this stage gets a really bad rap because of all the labeling. Terrible Twos ring any bells?

However, toddlers are amazing and really pretty great with their endless curiosity, openness to trying anything (except brussels sprouts of course), and they still think mom’s the best.

And those sweet toddler hugs are what make the struggles worth it.

Expert toddler parenting tips

At least it is for my toddler.

But raising a toddler isn’t away puppies and rainbows. It can be more like toddler tantrums and battle of wills. And this can be downright frustrating especially if your toddler is your first child.

There is a secret to raising happy and tantrum-proof toddlers, and it’s something I learned and tweaked over the years with all three of my children.

My secret to thriving in toddler life is to give your little one very clear expectations up front. That’s it! It’s hard being a toddler and not fully understanding this amazing world around you. They need to have firm boundaries and know exactly what’s going to happen when they cross those boundaries.

Honestly, I hate to sound harsh but a lot of our struggles in raising toddlers is our fault and it’s making life harder for them and us! It’s their job to challenge and seek independence. They are NOT being bad.

They just need us to establish those healthy boundaries and lovingly guard them. You’ll find yourself having much fewer battles when your toddler simply knows what to expect.

And, here’s the kicker, those expectations are always the same and never change based on our emotions at the time. Doing this all the time is pretty much the secret sauce to not having the toddler equivalent of Game of Thrones in your house every day!

Now, here are 29 most super helpful expert tips on thriving as a mom in the toddler years!

Related: The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Feed Your Child’s Imagination in 2019!

29 Expert Tips to Thrive in Raising Your Toddler


Toddler Discipline Tips

toddler challenges

1 – How to Get Your Toddler to Listen and Obey

Most toddlers and kids for that matter have “selective hearing.” That means they hear us when we tell them to do something, but we don’t see the corresponding action. Enter frustration.

What if there was a way to say our request that gets the attention of our toddler AND gets them to actually do what we ask? Try this…

The two simple words that work for us are, “Yes, Mama.” That’s it. It won’t work like magic the first time you say it. Some training will be required to help your child understand what is expected when they hear those words.

Learn how to use this simple tip in Amy’s full post here!

2 – Positively Dealing with a Defiant Toddler

Did you know there is an actual condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder – ODD? It affects children and their ability to handle listening to authority. This can be especially difficult for parents.

But there are things we can do whether or not our toddler has received a diagnosis. Many of which have to do with how we cope with these challenges, such as bargaining and negotiating with our little ones.

Bargaining is a tool used by kids to get their way and get out of dealing with their responsibilities. No matter how they cry or complain, they must fix their mistake and then accept the consequences.

To read all of Monique’s great tips click here.

3 – Raising a Strong Willed Toddler

If you find yourself in a battle of wills every single day with your toddler, you may have a strong-willed child. Being strong-willed isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be a real challenge for parents in the early days.

Establishing very clear boundaries and expectations are your best line of defense!

When we give our strong-willed toddler a routine, she knows what to expect. While this can’t prevent things like meltdowns over the toys we can and can’t bring to the park, it can help with bedtime, night wakings, car trips, etc.

To read Nicole’s full tips on raising a strong-willed toddler click here.

4 – Teaching Your Toddler Discipline without Yelling

Getting toddlers to listen without yelling is a challenge for every parent. Consistency is very important in getting kids to listen and do what you want without yelling and screaming.

Kids aim to please. They want to make you proud and see you excited and impressed with them. Give them that satisfaction when they do something positive! It will encourage them to keep doing it.

Get all seven of Ally’s discipline tips here.


Toddler Feeding Tips

toddler feeding tips

5 – How to Develop Positive Eating Habits

Toddler mealtimes can be some of the most challenging parts of the day. From picky eating, distracted eating, and sudden refusal to eat previously familiar foods. Toddler feeding is a delicate balance between our need for healthy boundaries and your toddler’s desire for independence.

Pick options that are already a part of dinner time, making it look like a choice to your toddler but not putting yourself through too much trouble making new meals just for the children.

Read all 5 solutions to the most common toddler eating challenges here.

6 – How to Start Feeding Your Toddler with Baby Led Weaning

I only heard about baby led weaning with my 3rd child and I wish I’d learned about it sooner. It’s so much easier for you as the “chef” and more fun for your baby. I believe that because they are more in control. And let’s face it, toddler’s love control!

I usually start Bady Led Weaning with snacks then, later on, on move onto full meals.  I just find this works better for my children.

Get all the BLW ingenious tips from Dela in her full post!

7 – What To Do if Your Toddler Refuses Meat 

There are many safe and healthy diets that do not include meat that many parents feed their toddlers. However, sometimes parents who do eat a meat-based diet find their toddler refuses to eat meat

This can be frustrating and there are worries that your toddler won’t get enough nutrients, but there are healthy ways to feed your toddler a meatless diet. No matter the reason.

There are certain nutrients that if you aren’t getting from meat you need to be getting from somewhere. The two main nutrients are protein and iron. My secret weapon: Edamame. It has a good amount of both protein and iron! 

Get Shari’s full list of meatless eating here.

8 – How to Raise Non-Picky Eaters

My oldest daughter is an extremely picky eater and though she’s much better now, she’s still pretty selective in what she likes to eat. She was and still is very sensitive to textures, and many other kids struggle with the same issue.

If you have a picky eater, you may want to consider Jenn’s rather unconventional tip…

By allowing young kids to mouth pine cones, rocks, and leaves they will further develop the mouth sensations which may prevent intolerance for food textures at an older age.  Yes, making your kids eat dirt will make them less picky eaters.

Get the full post of fun ways to raise a brave eater here.


Toddler Tantrums Tips

toddler tantrum tips

9 – Understanding the Function Driving Tantrums

Toddler tantrums are simply a poorly communicated request… a request to keep doing what they are doing, a request to have their way, or not do what they are being asked.

There is a reason for most, if not all, tantrums. It means we need to become skilled at finding out the driving force behind your toddler’s tantrum, so we can most effectively change that behavior.

Understanding the function behind a child’s behavior allows us to plan for it and react to it in ways that will hopefully decrease it.

Get the full post of helpful questions to ask yourself here.

10 – How to Handle Tantrums without Punishment or Timeouts

Toddler tantrums are super tricky and can leave you feeling helpless when a toddler tantrum sets in. Many parents aren’t exactly sure how to handle a tantrum and whether they are actually worthy of punishment or not.

I personally believe that we need to work much harder on the front end to prevent toddler tantrums in the first place. And then they are much more likely to be related to your toddler feeling overwhelmed in some way without the ability to communicate their feelings.

When your child is having a tantrum and distraction and other techniques aren’t working, or even before using those other techniques, try empathy.

Get the full list of little-known tips here.

11 – How to Teach Your Toddler Healthy Emotions

As parents, we can often wonder why our little angels can turn so quickly into… well, the opposite of angels. This happens because their emotions aren’t fully developed, and they often times haven’t practiced using healthy emotional communication.

There are many ways we can teach our children how to share their feelings in an appropriate way and develop social skills.

Attending daycare or preschool is NOT required for your child to learn social skills.  Providing them play time with other people is all they need to learn to play with others.

To get all of Kayla’s amazing tips on toddler social skills, click here.

12 – How to Prevent Toddler Meltdowns

Prevent toddler tantrums? Yes, you can prevent meltdowns from your toddler. The key is doing all the work on the front end so you can help your toddler learn how to express their feelings in a more constructive way.

If we take a minute to give them a voice, to listen to their choices, and to make them feel part of the decision-making team, they’ll buy in. They’ll do what we need them to do. They won’t need to have a tantrum to be heard.

To get Nicole’s full list of amazing tantrum prevention tips, click here.


Toddler Potty Training Tips

toddler potty training tips

13 – The 3 Day Potty Training Plan

Part of the success of potty training is making it fun for your toddler. They love growing up and becoming big kids so help them embrace their desire for independence. This next tip totally worked for my 2-year-old son!

You’ll want to buy your child super cute underwear that will get them excited about going to the potty. I bought Drew superhero undies and he loves them!

Get the full 3-day potty training plan here!

14 – How to Potty Train Your 2-year-old

Potty training can be tricky and there are certainly no one-size-fits-all strategies for getting your little one fully potty trained. There are many ways to approach this right of passive, but knowing when your toddler is ready is your key to success!

If your child is starting to become aware of their bodily functions, it could mean that she’s ready. Sometimes, if you wait it out, your child’s willingness to potty train could pass.

Read Brenda’s simple, no-pressure tips for potty training your 2-year-old.

15 – Tips to Make Potty Training Easier

It’s easy to pick out the perfect potty chair, the cool underwear or pull-ups, but what about when things don’t go as planned? Making the following mistake can set back your potty training goals way back!

One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is shaming their kids during this process. It may not seem like a big deal to drop an “I can’t believe you pee peed in your underwear like a baby” but it can actually undo any progress you are making.

Get Stormy’s full list of potty training tips in the full post here.


Toddler Daily Routines & Schedules

toddler schedules

16 – How to Painlessly Create a Morning Routine

Getting out of the door every morning on time and without meltdowns from you or your toddler is a huge challenge! No matter what routine works best for you and your little one, consistency is vital.

A toddler cannot readily distinguish why the mornings are so different from one another.  This can lead to increased meltdowns and anxious behavior.

Read the full post from Bridget with all her great tips on creating a successful morning routine.

17 – How to Establish a Sleepytime Bed Routine

Getting your toddler to want to go to bed and actually sleep can be quite the feat! And one of the biggest mistakes is letting the craziness of the bed carry over into a chaotic evening.

That’s a huge mistake because toddlers need consistency and routine more than anything! Creating a predictable bedtime routine can help so much.

Each of my kids takes a bath every night, so we make it fun! I invested in some good bath toys that I can’t rave enough about.

Click here to get Shiree’s full nighttime toddler routine here.

18 – Keeping Toddler Routines Even While Traveling

Toddlers need routine and predictability. When their routines disappear in exchange for new activities, schedules, and places you can be sure a meltdown is brewing just under the surface.

When traveling with toddlers, we need to keep their routines in mind to keep everyone happy.

Kids thrive on routine and while travel can definitely throw that for a loop, we like to try to keep things as similar to home as possible.  For us, this means trying to travel during nap times so the kids can sleep in the car.

To get all of Mary Leigh’s toddler travel tips click here to read the full post.


Breaking Poor Toddler Behavior Habits

breaking bad toddler habits

19 – What to do When Your Toddler is too Clingy

Toddlers are just older babies who are growing up really fast. In many ways, they’re light years ahead of their previous baby stage. But in many ways, they’re holding on tight to their baby privileges.

And being held a lot is one of those privileges. Most toddlers drop the need to be held when the independence stage kicks in, but every kid is unique.

Whether your child’s clinginess is new and most likely temporary or a long-term concern, a great first step is to reassure your child and create a sense of security.

Elizabeth gives great insight into why toddlers are clingy in the first place. And her full process for reducing toddler clinginess. Get the full post here!

20 – How to Stop Your Toddler From Hitting

When your toddler decides one day to hit another kid or even to hit you it’s frustrating and also embarrassing. But just like any other toddler behavioral issue, hitting can be corrected too.

Actions speak louder than words. If you hit back and say no, you’re teaching them hitting is an okay response. The same goes for yelling. If a toddler hits and screams, stay calm and offer an alternative by distracting the child.

Samantha goes into great detail in her post showing you how to overcome this bad habit positively.

21 – How to Easily Ween Your Toddler from a Pacifier

Giving your new baby a pacifier can feel like magic when soothing your inconsolable newborn. However, in a few years, it can feel like a curse when it’s time to wean your toddler from the binky. If you have the right strategies, it gets a lot easier!

It is best to try to control how much your child is using the pacifier in the first place by only giving it to them during naps and bedtime.

Get McKinzie’s great tips on weaning the pacifier in this post.


Toddler Sleep Tips

toddler sleep tips

22 – How to Keep Your Toddler in Bed Through the Night

Once you transition your baby from their crib into their own “big bed” an unfortunate side effect can happen… they never seem to want to stay in their bed.

As frustrating as this is, you can do something about it! It’s not easy… and it requires your unwavering commitment to the process but it will pay off. It comes down to setting a loving yet firm tone no matter how many extra requests your toddler askes for.

When you do the “extra stuff,” you are establishing the idea that if they get up you will come in and give them the attention they want.

To read Michele’s full toddler bedtime process read the full post here.

23 – How to Easily Transition to 2 to 1 Naps

The wonderful thing about the baby years is most babies need more than one nap. Suddenly, something starts to change as they enter toddlerhood… they start needing less daytime sleep.

Your toddler will start showing signs that they are ready for only one nap per day. This transition can be tricky but is a lot simpler with the right strategy.

Sometimes the trickiest part of this transition is figuring out when to give lunch! What works best for most toddlers is splitting lunch during the early days. Who says lunch has to be one big meal at noon?!

Get Jilly’s full list of signs and tips for making this transition as simple as possible.

24 – Creating Sleep Routines for the Spirited Child

Not every child is created the same and many are what can be referred to as spirited children. These are children who find it difficult to turn off their energy switch. They can be endlessly curious and tenacious.

None of which are bad things at all. But they can make for parenting challenges. Especially, when it comes to sleeping and naptimes.

Having an intense, persistent child has its challenges, particularly when it comes to sleeping. Routine helps immensely, but when it is time to let up a little bit and give your spirited child the independence she craves.

Read Freya’s heartfelt story about how she joyfully helped her own toddler with her sleep issues.

25 – How to Easily Handle Bad Dreams

In your toddler is having fears or challenges falling asleep because of bad dreams or other fears, this can be challenging. Sometimes adding a little whimsy is all your toddler needs.

Make a homemade dream spray made up of simply water and a few drops of lavender essential oils. Combine the two ingredients and put them in a small spray bottle with a “dream spray” tag on it.

Get Nicole’s full list of sleeping tips here.

26 – Getting Your Toddler to Sleep without a Pacifier

If your baby took a pacifier, getting them to sleep without it as you try to ween them can be a real struggle. There are many methods to use, and some can cause you a lot more headache and lack of sleep. You may want to try this 3-day approach…

3 days before, the day before, and the day of pacifier removal, I told the twins they were getting so big and it was time to stop using pacifiers. I also told them there were babies that needed them more than they did and we would send the pacifiers to them.

Get Jeanne’s full 3-day break down here.


How to Thrive in Daily Toddler Life

daily toddler life

27 – Stress-Free Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling is stressful enough but adding a toddler to the mix can feel overwhelming. One of your best assets is planning, planning, planning. And in that planning, you must build in plenty of buffers so you don’t feel rushed throughout your travels.

Be Early and Avoid Super Short Connections, especially if traveling by plane. You do not want to be the 30-week pregnant lady with a toddler running to catch her next plane (like I was).

Get the full list of travel toddler tips from Haley here.

28 – Surviving Toddler Transitions 

There are so many transitions that babies face once they grow into toddlerhood such as the inevitable transition from formula or breastmilk to whole milk and transitioning to solid foods.

Many toddlers also must transition from drinking from a bottle to sippy cups and then to a regular cup. And let’s not forget ditching the binky!

To make things easier on myself, I made each change one by one so that neither I, nor my daughter would get too overwhelmed with it all

To read how Josephine survived these common toddler transitions read her full post here.

29 – How to Really Love the Toddler Stage

Toddlerhood is an amazing developmental stage in your child’s growth. They are learning, testing, experimenting, and growing every single moment of the day. We just need to help create the environment for them to safely flourish.

Your job as the parent is to set the boundaries and enforce them gently. You will need to enforce them more or less frequently, more or less strongly depending on how strong-willed your toddler is.

To get more insight on loving the toddler stage, read June’s full post here


Toddler life is truly an adventure but is one I choose to cherish as my son gets older. I hope these tips help you to feel less overwhelmed with this special age and more equipped to build a wonderful relationship with your curious little toddler.

Let us know in the comments below which expert tip you’re excited to use the most!

For More Toddler Posts We Know You’ll Love:

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

The 15 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019

The Best Car Games for Kids and Toddlers to Survive Long Road Trips 

Parenting toddlers is wonder and can be really hard! Get tried and try tips and advice on your biggest toddler struggles! #parenting #toddlers #momlife #kidsandparentingLearn the best kept toddler parenting secrets and tips for raising happy and healthy toddlers from the toddler experts. #toddlers #kidsandparenting #parenting

 

 

Raising toddlers can be overwhelming! Stop struggling and get your biggest toddler questions answered from the toddler experts! #raisingtoddlers #toddler #kidsandparenting #parenting

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

toddler tantrum tips

Toddler temper tantrums can happen in a split second and can be caused by many different reasons. But the resulting cause every single time is frustration and even embarrassment when your sweet little angel decides to unleash her reign of terror in public.

That’s why I believe we as parents should work to skillfully play offense with our kids instead of pounding it out on the defensive line. There, I sounded like I know what I’m talking about with football. My husband would be so proud!

How to stop a temper tantrum

Basically what I mean is, working on the front end to prevent temper tantrums in the first place instead of working so hard to stop them when they happen. Yes, it’s really possible!

That’s why created this first post, Easily Prevent Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums with These Fool-Proof Tips, and I recommend you read it first. Unless, you’re in the midst of a tantrum right now and in that case, please read on!

However, even when you do all these things to help prevent tantrums, chances are, one or more will still happen. Here are some easy and effective tips to help calm your child and your nerves when your child is in full-on fit mode.

1 – Get on Their Level

No one likes being talked down, including our kids. Toddlers are short and if we want to stop talking down to them, we need to intentionally get down on their level.

Talking to your toddler eye to eye isn’t just helpful during a tantrum but really is how we should be talking to our children every time.

If you ask your little one to do something and you’re getting totally ignored, don’t keep repeating yourself. You’ll only get more frustrated and angry. Simply stop and get down to where they are or bring them up to where you are, and speak to them in a calm and direct tone.

And look them right in their eyes.

This takes some practice, and in the beginning, you’ll most likely be met with aversion and them trying to escape your space. But keep at it. Once they realize you’re no longer going to be towering over them barking demands, they’ll begin to respond positively.

Doing this ensures they’ve actually heard you and also makes them focus. This practice is extremely effective with my toddler son. And talking to him from across the room almost never works.

And one more thing, talking to anyone in this way is a sign of respect. It shows them they’re important and deserve your full attention. This really goes a long way.

Think about the last time someone talked to you while staring at their phone. Feel ignored much?

Related: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in their Own Love Language

2 – Give them a Firm Hug

I know, I know giving your little tornado of terror a hug in the middle of a tantrum is probably the last thing you’d want to do. And you’re probably thinking it’s equally as ineffective. (source)

I dare you to give it a try the next time your toddler goes into fit-mode. Not a warm and fuzzy hug, though. Give them a close, firm and disarming hug.

Think of it like those weighted blankets that help people overcome night-anxiety or how swaddling a baby helps them feel safe.

Pulling your toddler close when they’re acting out is like yelling I Love You to your husband in the middle of an argument… it’s a pattern interrupt.

It’s also a lot more effective than walking away, yelling, or punishing them for their tantrum.

3 – Lower Your Voice

This tactic pretty much works for any human interaction with conflict. If you’re talking to an angry person, the least effective thing to do is elevate your voice too.

Instead, lowering your voice to one that is calm, confident, and firm is the perfect way to talk to your angry toddler. NEVER, yell! I know this can be really hard.

But it’s really only a way to release your own frustrations but it in no way helps the situation get any better and really just models that yelling and emotional outbursts are OK.

Also, toddlers can be really sensitive and will often hold onto your anger.

Try these practical tips to get your kids to listen without yelling and the corresponding regret. 

3 – Control Your Own Anger

Here’s where things can get a little sticky because when our toddler isn’t listening, talking back, or having an outright tantrum it’s really easy to allow our emotions to go into overdrive.

When our emotions are in control we’ve more likely to say things that aren’t helpful, add to the problem or things we don’t mean and will regret. So when your little one is acting out, always take a breath before you say anything or make any parenting decisions.

As silly as this may sound, take a couple slow and deep breaths or count to ten in your head. This serves as a reminder to you that you’re the parent and you’re the one in control – not your toddler.

Then decide how you want to handle the situation. Just remember, that once you open your mouth and say something, you need to stick by it.

If you say to your child that if he runs through the clothing racks at Target again, he isn’t going to get that cookie he asked for. You literally can’t go back on that… ever! No matter if you went too harsh with your punishment and feel guilty.

Take a moment to think first and don’t act out of your own emotions.

4 – Get Outta There!

If you’re in a public place, get out as fast as you can. It’s obviously great for all the innocent bystanders and just plain good manners. But it also resets the location and works to interrupt their tirade.

Just a few words to consider while you’re running out of Wal-Mart. Stay calm and take this time to breathe and count, NOT to yell, complain, and yank your kid’s arm off.

I know this is easier said than done. I’ve screwed this one up many times. But modeling calm behavior is SUPER important!

5  – Hear Them to Understand

Remember, tantrums are a form of communication. Not the best, but communication none the less. If your child’s form of getting their way is a tantrum or if tantrums are a way of life in your home, I would strongly suggest reading this post.

This is a sign that your child hasn’t learned a more appropriate way of sharing their feelings. And this behavior isn’t likely to go away on its own as they get older. I have witnessed many shocking tantrums in public with older kids berating their parents. #Sad

This occurs when children aren’t taught how to properly communicate and haven’t been shown that this is unacceptable behavior. Or at least, they haven’t in the right way.

However, on the occasion tantrums or angry displays of emotion do happen and this is where we need to do our best to find the source and help them work through it with compassion.

Related: 9 Things Your Kids Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

6 – Stay Firm and Do NOT Bargain

Never, ever bargain with a child! If you were headed to get ice cream and needed to make one last stop at the store and your child starts misbehaving, give her a firm warning that she won’t be having any ice cream if she doesn’t stop NOW.

If she doesn’t listen, no more ice cream. Period.

They may cry, beg, and try to bait you into a bargaining session, but you Must. Stand. Firm.

7 – Keep Your Language Positive

As tempting as it is to unleash your true feelings of frustration and call it like you see it, do your best to reign it in. Calling your son a bad boy over and over isn’t going to fix the problem.

I’ve witnessed name calling from parents many times and it literally rips my heart out because they just don’t know how powerful their words are and the impact they make.

Our words have power and calling your son a “bad boy” is actually making a declaration that your son is bad. Certainly not what you really want to accomplish.

I always work to speak what I desire to see in my children, my life, and my family. Our words have creative ability and have the power to change our circumstances.

In Romans 4:17, it says to “call those things that do not exist as though they did.”

Instead, try saying something like, “you are a good boy, so let’s start showing it.”

Do you have some effective strategies to stop your toddler’s tantrums? We love to hear it! Please share in the comments below!

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a toddler temper tantrum and feel your own tantrum coming on... try these tips to stop that tantrum in it's tracks! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #kids #momlifeThese simple and highly effective steps will help you defuse and end your toddler's temper tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife Toddler temper tantrums are hard to deal with. But with these simple steps, you can end your toddler's tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #toddler

Never Have to Deal with Toddler Temper Tantrums Again with These Fool-Proof Tips

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

Toddler temper tantrums – they can strike at a moment’s notice. And usually, happen at the quietest and least kid appropriate location possible with plenty of judging witnesses shaming you with their childless stares.

If your toddler has ever unleashed a monster temper tantrum in public, you already know it’s on the top 10 list of most embarrassing and most frustrating moments in your life.

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

So what’s a mom to do when her blessed angel reaches the age of toddlerhood and isn’t maintaining their previous cutie-pie status?

There is help and you don’t have to live afraid to go outdoors or feel like a prisoner to your new toddler’s reign of terror.

But first, we need to change the narrative.

Change the Toddler Narrative

I really hate hearing parents label the toddler years as the terrible twos. This is basically stereotyping and nobody likes to be stereotyped… ever. We ALL want to have the opportunity to be our own person and live our lives without the labels trying to hold us back.

Plus, having the mindset that all toddlers are like the Tasmanian Devil will only hurt you as a parent. That’s because you’re already going into the toddler years expecting the craziness to ensue. Maybe your friend had a toddler that became unglued at the sound of the word, No.

And you automatically assumed this was the norm.

Anytime we go into any relationship or encounter with a set of preconceived notions about that person, we never give them a fighting chance to show us any different. This includes our children.

And this way of thinking is exactly what’s wrong in our world today. So, let’s not allow this toxic mindset to creep into our homes.

Instead, we need to focus on us. Yes, not our toddler but us as parents. Our children are brilliant little people and have the amazing capacity to rise up and meet our parental expectations. We just need to know what those are and lay them out.

And just like the carefully chosen outfit that you laid on the bed for your child to wear to church, they’ll probably come along and chose something else. You need to be prepared that battles will go down but you are the boss and you’ve got this!

OK, so now that we’ve got that out the way.

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

How to Prevent Temper Tantrums

The key to handling temper tantrums with grace is knowing that the real work really begins before the toddler tantrum ever shows up on the scene. And that’s what this post is all about… the before.

If you’re looking for tips on how to stop a tantrum already in progress, you’re going to want to read this!

I have three children and one of my kiddos is in the throes of toddlerhood. And I can probably count on two hands (that being generous) how many tantrums I’ve experienced with all three of my kids combined. I don’t say that to brag.

Only to offer encouragement that all of the typical “stages” that are thrown at us as parents don’t have to be our own experiences. I’m by no means a perfect parent but I went into motherhood with the mindset that I’m not excepting society’s negative reports for my children.

That means the terrible twos, the tween and teen disrespect, and anything else society tells me is supposed to happen with my children.

Instead, I choose to take responsibility for creating the environment I want to live. Call me crazy, but I just hate when someone tells me I can’t do something or this is just the way it is.

So, I set out to do things differently. Here is the simple formula for gracefully preventing your toddler’s temper tantrums.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability and Stop the Blame Game

What Tantrums Really Are

Tantrums are one of the ways your toddler communicates. Like a baby cries… a toddler will act out in their emotions to get our attention. Therefore, don’t worry, tantrums are normal and they don’t mean your child is bad or unruly.

In fact, I’ve had my fair share of “adult” tantrums, some of which were sadly witnessed by my kids. We all get angry, feel misunderstand, and want to be heard. We also don’t always go about expressing our feelings in the most productive and appropriate way.

This is no different from the way toddlers and kids will express their feelings in an outright on the floor tirade. But it’s our job to teach and guide our children into healthier ways to express our emotions. Nobody ever wants to see an adult kicking and screaming on the floor!

And in my own personal experience, most of my kid’s tantrums were because I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on and what they needed at that moment…

Start with Meeting Their Immediate Needs

Toddlers are still very much like their former baby selves. They lack the ability to tell you what they really need and so they act out in a way that’s very similar to a baby crying when they’re wet, hungry, or tired.

When a toddler starts acting out, pulling away from you, and no longer listening you need to go into inspector mode immediately to stop a meltdown in its tracks. Ask yourself when was the last time your little guy had a snack, took his nap, or went to the bathroom. Or basically anything else you can think of.

Meeting these needs early and quickly is the best way to keep a full-on tantrum from happening.

I think we ALL know that lack of sleep or food are huge triggers for a toddler meltdown, so start there.

I’m pretty sure, my son is the most hungry kid on the planet! And he’s quite the opposite from his two older sisters. So as he got older I naturally thought I had this parenting thing down and packed snacks and food based on what I did previously.

I broke the cardinal parenting rule… never try to treat all your kids the same! So basically, he was always hungry and wanting to eat. I quickly learned to bring more healthy snacks with us and that fixed that problem!

Also, if your kiddo doesn’t do well at all with a missed nap, try to always schedule outings and appointments around her nap whenever possible.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Consider How You Contribute to the Problem

Other tantrum triggers can be stress or lack of attention from you. Yes, we can actually do things to contribute to their tantrums.

For example, were you stressed out this afternoon getting her to her doctor’s appointment on time? Were you yelling at the cars, had an intense phone call on the way, or even yelled at your child?

Kids can hold on to the stressful emotions we put out and they simply have no way of handling them in a healthy or effective way. It’s the same thing happening when a baby is crying and suddenly your baby starts crying too.

Toddlers also tend to be extremely sensitive. The other day we were headed to breakfast as a family and my husband and I were deep in conversation. And my toddler began annoying his big sister… his specialty. And instead of stopping our conversation to handle the problem, we ignored it until we blew a top.

Big mistake! My husband yelled at him in the back seat (he pretty much never yells) and my son started the teary-eyed pout. When we pulled up to the restaurant, he seemed fine to me but when he got out and saw his dad, he started to cry very hard.

Needless to say, my husband felt terrible. But this shows how strongly toddlers can hold on to stressful emotions.

The second thing I mentioned is lack of attention. If you’re on your phone the whole time in the waiting room and he’s trying to get your attention, stop and be present with him. Nobody likes to be ignored, and this goes for your child too.

Foster Guided Independence

Another great way to allow your child to feel important and ward off tantrums is to offer them the opportunity to make simple choices which make them feel respected. I like to call this guided independence.

What kinds of choices are we talking about?

Let your child make toddler sized choices like what to wear, which plate they want to eat on, and what color cup they want before they have the opportunity to ask for the green cup themselves. Try putting two cups on the counter and telling your little one to choose a cup and get some milk.

Most of the time these simple choices mean absolutely nothing to us, but giving a toddler the wrong color cup can launch the first missile in WW4.

It’s better to offer them the choice first instead of grabbing a cup and them not liking it and then having to correct the situation and ruining dinner.

It’s not at all about letting kids run the show or some new-aged passive parenting tactics. But it is about understanding the needs of our kids and lovingly allowing them to experience independence on our terms, not theirs.

You may need to create boundaries with these choices to prevent yourself from getting frustrated. For example, I let my son get himself dressed every morning. But I have a special drawer where he has a bunch of t-shirts and shorts to choose from.

Most of them all go together so it’s helpful that I have one less task to do and he doesn’t leave out of the house looking like a circus performer. And the best part is he feels like a big boy and doesn’t feel the need to search for ways to battle for independence.

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids to Learn Their Heart

Establish Strong Expectations

Here’s my favorite tip and where I believe most parents are missing it. This is honestly where my husband shines and helped me see where I was actually sabotaging my own efforts along the way.

Toddlers may be small, but they’re extremely smart! They know when your no means no and when it really means, um, OK fine. Ever done that one before?

Your kid just mentally hit the jackpot and will be coming for you, again and again, to get what they want.

It’s our job and responsibility to establish strong and predictable expectations for our kids as early as newborns. Basically, when your baby cries she learns that you’ll get up and go into mommy investigation mode to fix her current problem.

When you let your toddler that when we go into the store we do NOT run around, touch things on the shelves, or any other inappropriate behavior.

When your toddler hears your instruction and proceeds to do just want you told him not to do, he’s testing the waters and waiting for your response. This will determine if he does it again. Kids will always do what they’re allowed to do.

Inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed every single time. No matter how much of a pain in the butt it is. This works! And it is work! But it’s so worth it when your child knows how to behave themselves in public and at home.

Does my toddler son ever break out in a sprint in Target? Yep! And I firmly tell him we do NOT run in stores and he immediately goes back in the cart. No second chances, no discussions, no bribes, no deals.

Let’s just say, it doesn’t happen often. He’s learned that we mean business. But toddlers will be toddlers, which means they love to test the boundaries and see what they can get away with.

If you waiver it’s like a shark smelling blood in the water… you’re done!

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without the Yelling and Regret

Be Consistent

Finally, I need to add that there isn’t a quick fix for any parenting struggles and challenges. They all take unique approaches and a lot of trial and error.

But most of all, they require consistency.

We need to keep showing up and doing what is right over and over. And just like consistency is necessary to see the results we want at the gym, it’s exactly the same with parenting.

Your kids already know what to expect from you, whether good or bad. It’s our responsibility to set the right expectations and you’ll see your child thrive.

How do you establish healthy boundaries with your children? Share in the comments below!

Toddler tantrums are frustrating but don't have to be your everyday reality. These simple positive discipline tips will help you prevent toddler tantrums. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #toddlerYou do NOT have to deal with endless toddler tantrums. These fool-proof tips will stop those tantrums before they ever start! #kidsandparenting #parenting #toddlers Toddler tantrums are super stressful for parenting! But what if you could have a tantrum-free toddler? Learn what I do to raise tantrum-free toddlers here... #toddlers #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife

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The 3 Step Plan to Break the Cycle of Unwanted Behaviors in Your Home

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

All behavior and all choices – both good and bad – stem from one process. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, what goes around comes around, you’ll reap what you sow, or even karma’s a ____. All these phrases are rooted in one powerful principle that drives all behavior – our children’s behavior and our own behavior.

It’s the Principle of Sowing and Reaping. If we don’t understand how this principle works, we’ll end up letting the cycle of negative behaviors go unchecked in our lives and families.

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

So how do we use this principle to put a stop to selfishness, bickering, and other destructive behaviors?

We first need to understand the cycle and pattern of all behavior.

All behavior and decisions start with a seed. The seed of a thought. If that thought-seed (whatever it is) is allowed to lounge around and chill – chances are, it’s going to stay and grow.

As that thought hangs around for a while, it’s going to eventually force itself out of our mouths. Have you ever had a new idea pop in your mind and after you thought about it for a while you started talking about it to everyone around you?

That’s when the real fun begins!

That’s because our words, whether we realize it or not, are extremely powerful! I can’t emphasize that enough.

Our words have creative ability and have the power to shape our world. In other words, we’ll have what we say. The Bible says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

Sadly, most of the time we don’t even pay attention to our thoughts or the things we say. Words today are so loose and unintentional. But in reality, our words are everything.

And the combination of our thoughts and words together are the building blocks of all behavior and habits. If we learn to understand this, we have the ability to have mastery over bad habits and choices and create good ones.

The goal is to teach these principles to our kids and help them also develop a lifestyle of good, healthy behaviors.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability

Good Behavior Starts With Us First

The culture of our homelife largely depends on the type of seeds we sow as parents. We are setting the tone for our family every day. In order to experience the family life we really want, we must first plant the seeds of the right thoughts, words, and actions. And then watch them grow.

Seeds of selflessness instead of selfishness.

Seeds of encouragement instead of doubt.

Seeds of presence instead of busyness

Seeds of compassion instead of condemnation

Seeds of respect instead of contempt.

Seeds of affirming instead of judging.

Related: How to get your kids to listen without yelling and losing it

We all have good intentions of thinking the right thoughts, saying the right words, and doing the right things. But before we realize it, we’ve already dropped some bad seed in our fields. And too often, that seed has time to remain, fall into the soil, and gets watered. Then we look up one day and wonder why we have weeds in our fields… choking the life out of our precious harvest.

So what does that mean in our busy, everyday lives?

How to Stop Unwanted Behavior Before it Starts

If we keep with the planting example of reaping what you sow we can come to a reasonable conclusion that we should be planting with the end in mind. For example, if a farmer wants to plant more apple trees, he’s going to plant apple seeds. He’s not gonna to be throwing around the wrong seeds!

We need to decide what kind of life we want to live. What kind of marriage we want to be in. What kind of children we want to raise. And then start planting the seeds that will produce the harvest we want instead of the ones we don’t want.

Basically, it all starts with us as parents. We set the ultimate example and show our kids what is acceptable. “Do as I say and not as I do” is a really bad parenting philosophy on so many levels.

When parents do things that they tell their kids is bad, it sends a very confusing message that rules don’t apply to everyone. That we can simply pick and choose which rules we want to obey and which ones we don’t. And ultimately one that’ll backfire on you as a parent when they decide your rules no longer apply to them.

Related: 51 Ways to be a fun mom even when you’re stressed and tired

What To Do When Unwanted Behavior is Already Happening

So we talked about how to set the stage for the family life we desire and how to plant and nurture positive behaviors. But how do we handle unwanted and even destructive behaviors that pop up anyway?

Let me just be clear before we move on and address this issue. All children and all adults for that matter, exhibit poor behavior and make bad choices from time to time. It’s normal and you shouldn’t feel guilty when it happens in your home.

It’s how we choose to handle it that makes all the difference.

The first thing we need to do is offer grace… heaping amounts of grace. We ALL need grace because we ALL make mistakes. Adding condemnation, yelling at your kids, or making them feel guilty fuels more negative behaviors.

The next thing to do is sit down and calmly have a face to face conversation with your child. Ask them questions about what they really want and desire in that situation. For example, let’s say they are constantly fighting with their sibling. Ask them to think about and describe the type of relationship they really want with their sibling.

Allow them time to speak freely and form their own thoughts and feelings. Once they’re able to create their own picture, ask them how their current behavior is either positively or negatively impacting their vision. Have them think about what behaviors can more effectively create that dream relationship.

Kids are super smart and they’ll naturally see that going into their sister’s room and taking their stuff without asking permission isn’t creating the relationship they really want. They will begin to create their own sense of accountability and start little by little changing their behavior over time.

Remember that change is a process and one that takes patience and time. Please don’t heap condemnation on your kids when they don’t change fast enough or when they keep reverting back to the same old behaviors. Don’t we do that too in our own behaviors?

I can’t count how many times I’ve committed myself to exercise and eating healthier only to sleep in and grab a hot n ready pizza on the way home.

3 Simple Steps to Change

What our kids need more than anything is our support and encouragement to keep moving in the right direction. Think about what you desperately need at the moment you’re considering moving in the wrong direction. You need loving support and a gentle reminder of what you really want… your end in mind.

Related: 50 Simple Ways to speak Your Child’s Love Language

The reminder that you’ve worked so hard and lost those 13 pounds and how you’ve got what it takes to keep going even when you feel like giving up!

To keep the process of change super simple and make it easy to teach our children, I’m using an acronym – S.O.W. to give you a simple framework.

S – Start with the End in Mind

If you decide upfront what type of life, relationship, or home life you desire then start sowing that kind of seed. If you want more patient children, start sowing patience with them. If you want a more intimate relationship with your husband, start sowing intimate seed. Start flirting in subtle ways.

When helping your children work through this process, remind them of the picture they want. Help them draw the connection of how their actions are either bringing them closer or further away from that picture.

See where I’m going with this?

O – Offer Heaps of Grace

Change is hard but in order to reap a new harvest, it’s necessary. And in that process of change or children, our spouse, and we WILL mess up. Forgetting our new habits, in the moment, and reverting back to the old way is human.

Calmly (take a break if you need to) get down on your child’s level and remind them of their big positive change. Say something like, “Sammy, remember we don’t hit your brother anymore. You stopped hitting all by yourself. Let’s go back to your good choice.”

If you have older kids say something like, “Jaden you were doing so amazing with remembering to use your planner at school for a whole month. It’s OK to forget, but let’s not let a bad habit form. Starting tomorrow remember to stay on track with your new good habit.”

W – Wait for the harvest

Seeds require time to grow.  It’s not an overnight process. The step in between seed and harvest is – TIME. Whether it’s you making the change or your kids, change won’t be evident right away. Old habits are hard to break.

Another thing to be cautious of is bringing up old behaviors in a shameful or joking way. It doesn’t matter what the intent behind is, bringing up the past when someone is trying to make a change is a huge stumbling block for change.

If you are working on making a change in your own behavior, put on courage and be prepared to push on to change even if others still see you the same way you were.  Trust me, if you stick with your decision to do the right thing and don’t give up – you WILL reap the harvest. And harvests are ALWAYS visible to others.

So keep at it, and they will see and your life will be better because you didn’t give up.

Related: 9 Ways to Rid Your Mind of Self Doubt & Become a More Confident Person Today

Share with us, what new seed are you committing to planting in your life? Share in the comments below!

Our you tired of bad behaviors cycling through your home? Here's the only solution to finally breaking the cycle. #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #motherhood #momadviceThis simple 3 step plan will help you effectively break bad behaviors with your kids and foster healthy new habits. #parenting #kidsandparentingWant to know how to help your kids break bad behavior habits? Try this fool-proof 3 step plan to foster good, healthy habits in your kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting

How to Painlessly End the Screen Time Struggles with your Kids

End the Screen time struggles

Managing screen time is probably one of the biggest struggles facing parents in today’s world. And there’s just not a lot of time between now and before all this technology even existed. It’s hard to know what’s right, how much is too much, and how to live with kids in this ever tech-obsessed world.

The reason why the struggle is so real is that this technology is pretty amazing. Think about when you were a kid 20 years ago. How would you react if you had a TV that you could basically hold in the palm of your hand and watch just about any show or movie or play any game whenever you felt like it?

End the Screen time struggles

 

Mind-blowing right? 

The technology, whether you love it or hate it, is apart of our world and our kids will come to know it and use it like second-nature if they aren’t already. It’s our job to help them manage all this technology because it’s no different than sugar. Too much of it has dangerous consequences and it’s just too good for a child to be able to create safe boundaries on their own.

How Much Screen Time is Too Much

I think it’s important to talk about safe screen time before we get into managing our children’s screen time. I’m going to be really upfront here, there are many opinions on this topic. But I think we could all agree that there is a “too much” for every child.

I personally believe that this is going to look different for every single child. And you should first monitor your child and his or her behaviors when spending time in front of the TV, on their tablets or phone, or playing video games.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my child seem more active or hyper after consuming electronics?
  • Does my child seem more inactive, less motivated, or even “zoned out” after consuming electronics?
  • Does my child exhibit new behaviors such as disobedience, talking back, or withdrawing after consuming electronics?
  • Is my child showing a lack of interest in playing with real toys, going outside, or reading books?
  • Do they have an extreme attachment to their device or phone?

Though these are common occurrences in children after consuming electronics, if you answered yes to any of these questions you may decide to make some positive changes. As these are signs that your child is having too much screen time.

Please do not feel condemned or like you’re a bad parent! I think we’re all in the same boat here. I struggle with screen time just like any other parent. It’s no different than the constant request for cake, cookies, and chips. It’s all a part of parenting.

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Here’s where it gets really sticky, though. Tablets and TV are highly effective ways to keep children and toddlers busy and entertained so you can “get things done.” This is especially true for the younger children because most of them want parental participation “aka – mommy come play with me” anytime they’re playing with their real toys.

I get it… boy do I get it. The struggle is real.

But guess what? Our parents had the same exact struggle and so did their parents and their parents. Parenting hasn’t changed and neither have children. The only thing that’s changed is that we found a perfect way to keep everyone happy and quiet. Win-win, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a cost and our kids are the ones paying the highest price.

Here’s a powerful video on what’s being called Digital-Dementia. And it’s affecting all of us and our kids will find this as a way of life unless we step in and change this during their most important formative years.

 

There are serious consequences to exposing our children to too much screen time. I think we can all agree that we struggle with screen addiction as adults.

The good news is, we have the power to protect our children from these consequences and train their brains to think for themselves instead of reaching for their electronic devices.

If you’re not sure about what to do with Socia Media… read this. I’ve never allowed my children to have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Musical.ly account. It’s not necessary and it’s simply too risky to open that door. We need to let our kids be kids.

How to Make Changes the Simple Way

Our kids are understandably obsessed with all things technology. And I believe banning them or shaming them for appreciating it is a mistake. Technology is a way of life for this generation and something they’ll need to master. However, it was never intended to be used as a drug that is dulling their life.

My children are masters at soaking up technology from my oldest on her iphone all the way down to my youngest watching YouTubeKids on the ipad. But I knew I had a problem because after really observing my kids, I was answering yes to all of the previously asked questions.

I decided to make some changes, but I didn’t let my kids know I was making them. That just opens the door to power-struggles. I started limiting their screen time little by little and stayed consistent. I got resistance for sure, but it became less and less over time.

Here’s where the work came in… I needed to program my kids to choose their toys, activities, and books over technology. It was slow at first but they started acting more like kids who grew up in 1985 who only had those things. Lol

I wanted my children to go back to using their brains and their creativity to think and have fun on their own. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids!

Our Kids Need Alternatives

Another thing our children need is alternatives to electronics. We can’t expect them to just sit around all day with nothing to do. And going outside to play like many of us did isn’t always possible. We live in a much different world today. If we go outside… we all go outside as a family. And that’s not always possible.

My biggest suggestion is to stop buying expensive toys that light up, play music, or move around the room. These toys are just priming children to crave electronics. To have something “entertain” them. In my opinion, they are simply a waste of your money.

Instead, invest in buying toys that require your child to do something, instead of the toy. They are also much less expensive! For years, I’ve only been buying things that inspire my kids to make, create, imagine, manipulate, move, or construct something. And though sometimes it’s more work for me, I’ve seen dramatic differences in my children.

When presented with these options, they are more engaged, creative, and feel more accomplished. And that’s a huge win in my book!

The Best Screen-Free Activites and Toys

My first choice for something that will keep my kids happy and active is through an activity-based subscription. My kids are literally obsessed with this one! They are activity-based boxes that focus on learning a new skill each month. They teach kids about science, their environment, and technology from the side of building technology!

I actually have to force them to space out the activities throughout the month and there’s a Crate for all of my kids’ ages which is pretty cool!

Right now you can get one month free with a 12month subscription!

kiwi crate subscription, screen free activities

Get a free month with a 12 month subscription with code FREEMONTH

Another great option is this subscription box. It focuses on taking kids on a new adventure around the world every month teaching them about new places, people, foods, and anything else exciting.

And the prices of these subscriptions are so affordable and much cheaper than my expensive data plan!

Here are some other great examples of toys that’ll have your kids dropping their electronics!

I love books and this book subscription company loves books too. In fact, when they send your child’s books they come individually wrapped like a gift. Isn’t that cool! Here’s my son opening his latest books. He feels so special every time his box comes in the mail. They also have chapter books for older kids too!

 

If you’re looking for screen-free activities for kids of all ages, I share more tips on PerfectlyImperfectMama here… check out this list!

How to Create Boundaries

Now it’s time to talk screen time limits. I find that slowly limiting their screen time, if it’s currently a lot, is the best way to start. Don’t necessarily tell them what you’re doing. Just roll the time back little by little and provide them those alternatives we talked about.

Once you see them adjusting to the new limited times, decide how much time you want to designate for screen time every day. It could be 30 minutes a day or one hour. You decide.

Then have a family meeting to share the new changes. If you’ve done a good job weening them slowly and giving them fun activities to do off-screen you’ll be surprised at how painless this process can be. Depending on your child and how much time they’ve been allowed to have previously, going slow is really important.

Science shows how our brains light up in front of electronics in the same way as a drug addict does when shown drugs. (source) Banning them cold-turkey doesn’t help anyone and increases the struggle and the odds of failure.

Once you decide on a time, post it in a public area and keep it strictly enforced. You may decide to have different times in the summer and other school breaks than you would during the school year. But that’s totally up to you.

And remember, this process takes work and will require you to be more present with your children… and that’s a really good thing. You are the parent and must stay consistent no matter how much your child begs, pleads, or complains. They will eventually seek out new ways to entertain themselves and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their progress.

How do you manage your child’s screen time? Share your best tips in the comments below!

Struggling to find balance in managing your kids screen time? Try this painless process that'll have your kids gladly dropping their electronic devices! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #screentimeAre the kids over doing it with the electronic devices and TV? End the screen time struggles today with these 5 tips to help you effectively manage screen time! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice Too much screen time doesn't have to take over your home. Try these simple tips to keep your kids happy and entertained without electronics. #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #kidsactivities #momlifeThere's nothing wrong with kids having screen time, but sometimes it can get out of balance. Here are easy tips to end the screen time struggles with your kids! #kidsandparenting #kids #parenting #parentingtips

4 Things To Ease Your Mind When Your Child is Still Wetting the Bed at Night

Is your potty trained child still wetting the bed at night? Stop the cycle of frustration and do this instead! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momlife #motherhood #momadvice

You’ve done all the hard work of potty training your child with success! Yes, sweet relief! You no longer have to live in fear while waiting in the grocery checkout line. That was my always my newly potty-trained child’s sweet spot for asking to use the bathroom at the last minute.

They are now asking to use the bathroom at the right times… most of the time. No issues, no accidents. Until darkness falls and you tuck your sweet little munchkin in their beds at night. And either in the middle of the night or in the morning you hear the call… Mommy!

Is your potty trained child still wetting the bed at night? Stop the cycle of frustration and do this instead! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momlife #motherhood #momadvice

You rush in to see your frustrated child soaking wet – again. You tell them it’s OK and peel their wet clothes off, strip their bedsheets, and give them a bath. And then repeat this cycle again night, after night, after night.

It’s frustrating, exhausting, and confusing all at the same time. You also feel powerless because all of this is totally outside of your control.

I’ve been there! One of my children (I’m sharing this with her permission) was totally daytime dry by 2 1/2 years old but still wet the bed for more than 7 years after she was potty trained! The older she got, the more frustrated she became.

Related: 9 Things Your Child Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

When Your Child Still Wets the Bed

I’ll be really honest, I didn’t always handle the situation the right way. In fact, I acted pretty stupidly a few times. More on that in a bit. I did that because I was desperate as a mom to find a way to fix this for both of us. And I learned some HUGE lessons along the way that I want to share with you.

I also want to add that my 3-year-old has been potty trained for a year now but is still not night time or naptime dry. I am always very cautious when potty training and try never to start too soon. He is actually the one who initiated it and only took him a few days.

He went through an entire year of preschool with maybe 2 accidents the whole year! Except, if he didn’t have a pull-up on during his nap, of course.

I’m not sure if this will continue. Only time will tell. But in children under 6, bed-wetting is still considered the last stage of potty training and is still common.

When a child is older, bet wetting treatments with medical professionals should only be explored if your child is really struggling with it. In fact, 5 to 7 million kids over the age of 6 are still wetting the bed at night. (source)

Interestingly, my middle daughter has NEVER had more than a single accident at night since she was 3-years-old. Proving this is simply something we don’t control, but rather work with until it resolves.

3 Things to Do When Your Child is Wetting the Bed

Let me first give you my disclaimer, I’m not a doctor or medical professional and I’m not giving medical advice. I’m just a mom giving her own personal experiences and what worked for me and what didn’t.

I want to share 3 things you must do if your child is still wetting the bed and can’t seem to stay dry through the night. This advice is deeply personal to me and I hope to offer you some encouragement. Long-term bed wetting is often hard on the child but can be very hard on parents too.

My hope is this advice will give you comfort, support, and practical steps to make this season easier for you and your child! And remember, they will grow out of it unless there is an underlying medical problem causing these systems.

In that case, always trust your mom instincts and ask for tests from your child’s doctor if you think they are needed.

1 – Stay Calm and Get Supplies

This first step may seem a bit obvious but it wasn’t for me so I’m sharing it with you. When my daughter was first potty trained I threw away the pull-ups and diapers and had a little mom celebration. She stayed dry a few nights, and then woke up wet a few others.

This cycle continued, and as a first-time parent, I just thought this was normal. I was given so much advice it was coming out of my ears. The most consistent advice I received was to let her feel wet so she’ll wake up and go to the bathroom. In other words, don’t put a diaper or training pants on her at night.

Well, I tested that theory on my sleeps-like-a-rock-in-a-coma child and she NEVER woke up to the feeling of being wet… until morning. And guess what? It was my time to strip her and the bed down, wash all the pee clothes, dry and redress the bed, and start all over. NOT FUN AT ALL!

Basically, I’m saying that you can test out this method for a little while to see if it helps your child. But if it doesn’t, please give yourself a break and get some supplies to make your mom life a little easier!

The first thing you need to do right now is get a heavy-duty mattress pad to protect your mattress. I didn’t do this initially and ended up needing to buy a whole new mattress! This mattress pad is super absorbent, washable, and is soft and plush instead of those horrible plastic ones.

The plastic ones (I tried them first) are loud and uncomfortable, but also tear and break very easily which didn’t save me money in the long run.

Now that you’ve protected the mattress, you need to protect the sheets! This is the best thing I found because it literally saved my sanity because I didn’t need to keep stripping the bed at night.

I love them because they actually have an adhesive that adheres to the bed and keeps everything in place. My daughter is a wild sleeper so the reusable ones like this never stayed in place.

The reason I’m recommending the pads verses pullups is that your child will eventually not want to wear anything that resembles a diaper. And that’s fine. Washing a pair of pajamas is much less work than their entire sheet set.

For toddlers like my son, I recommend keeping things simple.  I still use these to keep things super simple! If your toddler is constantly leaking through their diapers at night, try these amazing diaper insert pads to place inside their diaper! Very cool and totally disposable.

If you want to try a bed-wetting alarm, this one is the highest recommend alarm on Amazon. I was recommended by my daughter’s pediatrician to purchase one, but by then she was getting much less frequent with wetting so I never did.

2 – Know Bed Wetting is Not Your Child’s Fault

This step is really important and is where I missed the mark as a mom. I started out like any other mom who helps and encourages their kid when they’re struggling with something. But as time went on and frustration really set in, I started feeling like it was time for her to get it together.

I’m embarrassed to say this but I started to actually put the blame on her. I became very strict on her with drinking any liquids before bed because that’s what all the experts said to do. And as much as it pains me to say this, I even punished her a few times when she woke up wet.

This was as she got older and her bed-wetting became more sporadic. I’m only sharing with you my worst moments as a mom because I don’t want you to do the same. Because it’s truly nothing your child can control.

And adding ANY negative feeling or action into the process can be damaging and stressful to your child. And stress can actually make the problem even worse!

Bed-wetting is happening when your child is in a deep sleep and the signals between their brain and bodies aren’t working like they should. There may also be other factors involved where their bladder isn’t fully matured to hold their urine through the night.

And all those reasons are totally outside of their control.

3 – Know It’s Not Your Fault

I also want to add that you shouldn’t feel that your child’s bed-wetting is your fault either. As moms, we seem to be as attracted to guilt as lightning is to a metal rod. And we need to stop the cycle of mom-guilt. Whether you let your child grab a drink of water before bed doesn’t mean that’s why they didn’t stay dry that night.

In fact, my middle daughter (the one who never wet the bed) could drink ten glasses of water before bed and it wouldn’t affect her at all!

You’re also not doing anything to stress your kid out that’s causing them to wet the bed. Their new schedule isn’t causing them to wet the bed. You probably don’t need to shuttle them from specialist to specialist ordering test after test. Don’t let the guilt consume you. No matter what your brain is telling you, you’re most likely not the cause at all.

Though you may not be the cause, you are the source of greatest source of support and compassion for your child. And that’s what they need most!

4 – Give Your Child What They Need Most

Support and understanding. We all have things happening in our bodies and minds that we wish would be different. Things that are outside of our control. And what we need in those times is the love, support, and even the understanding from our loved-ones of what we’re going through.

Your child needs the very same thing from you. I finally wised up and I thank God it didn’t take me too long. Though my daughter obviously didn’t love going through this, she didn’t feel bad, shameful, or stressed out about it. She learned that we all go through things and we learn to manage them as we go through them. Eventually, it was a thing of the past!

Causes and Possible Treatment Options

Once you have the proper and supportive mindset, you can then decide if and when you may want to seek treatments. It’s perfectly OK, however, to wait it out and help your child manage their bed-wetting until they outgrow it.

If you do decide to seek out causes and treatments you may want to consider the following possible causes for your child’s bed-wetting and seek these conservative treatments first.

There is a link to bed-wetting and constipation, so you may want to consider making sure your child isn’t secretly battling chronic constipation. All of my children struggled with bouts of constipation and it can easily go unnoticed.

Make sure they are drinking PLENTY of water throughout the day (limiting before bed) and eating a diet rich in fiber and low in processed foods and sugar.

There is also a strong link to stress and bed-wetting. Not as an initial cause but as a point of exacerbating their existing bed-wetting. If your child struggles with stress or anxiety, helping them to cope and manage their stress can certainly help your child to stay dry through the night.

Finally, there is an herbal treatment using essential oils that have been known to help children suffering from bed-wetting. I haven’t tried this personally but I’m curious to see if it would help.

Essential oils are a staple in my home and they have helped treat many conditions in my family. It’s certainly worth trying. You can read more about that here. 

In case you missed it, here’s a list of all the supplies I highly recommend:

I truly hope this post was helpful to you! If you have any other tips to add or have any questions please leave them in the comments below.
Sometimes children who are potty trained in the day time still wet the bed at night. Get simple tips on how to positively deal with bedwetting. #parenting #kidsandparenting #momlife #kidsIf your potty trained child is still wetting the bed at night, don't panic and do these things first! #kidsandparenting #parenting #pottytraining #kids #parentingtipsBedwetting for long periods of time can be frustrating for that child and you! Here are some much needed tips to ease your mind and the workload of cleaning up accidents. #bedwetting #kidsandparenting #parentingtips

Is your potty trained child still wetting the bed at night? Stop the cycle of frustration and do this instead! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momlife #motherhood #momadviceIf your potty trained child is still wetting the bed at night, don't panic. Try doing this instead! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #gentleparenting If your potty-trained child is still wetting the bed at night, there's hope! Try these simple and supportive tips to lose the frustration and help your child! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #kids

How to Easily Get Your Kids in the Habit of Doing Chores without Nagging!

Struggling to get your kids to do any housework? Trying this simple method to get your kids to do their chores without needing to nag! #parenting #momlife #organizing #household

Unless you were raised by a wonderfully efficient family that had a simple and effective system for getting kids to do chores… you’re probably drowning in housework and resentment for having to be the one to DO. IT. ALL. 

And neither of those are good for anyone.

Struggling to get your kids to do any housework? Trying this simple method to get your kids to do their chores without needing to nag! #parenting #momlife #organizing #household

Having my kids help with the housework is an area that I personally struggle in because I was raised in a home where my dad was away at sea (in the Navy) most of my childhood and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. She took the stance that since she didn’t work outside the home, her job was to do all the housework herself as the homemaker.

Certainly not a bad way of looking at things at face value.

To add to it, she was a perfectionist and liked things done a “certain way” as she put it. Her favorite saying was, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” 

As you can rightly gather, I didn’t do much housework growing up. Now before you start gettin’ all jealous because you had to spend all your Saturday morning cleaning the house to your mom’s favorite cleaning album (my husband’s story)… this actually did more harm than good.

WHY ALL KIDS NEED CHORES

As noble as you think you are being by taking on the sole task of homemaking (even if you are a full-time stay-at-home mom), you’re actually raising kids that can’t take care of themselves or anyone else for that matter.

Didn’t see that coming, huh?

It’s true. Kids… people learn by doing. We ALL need practice. Think about when you started a new job and you watched your trainer do a task that you’d be doing on your own soon. Think about the anxiety you felt watching them and wanting to be able to practice and role play before you had to “go live” in real life. What if you never got a chance to practice before you got released into the real world?

Raising kids is the same way. It doesn’t matter how many times we tell them things they should be doing. They’ll never “get it” until they get to do it… A LOT.

When I got married and moved out, I had no idea how things got done in my house as a kid. The magic cleaning function didn’t seem to work in my new house. And I’m not proud to say that we lived in a disorganized, messy, and sometimes funky environment a lot of the time.

And then we started having kids and over the years, I started doing the same things my mom did. Yes, I turned into my mom. Yikes!

As my kids got older, they literally had NO sense of personal responsibility as it related to our home. I actually witnessed my middle daughter finish off a snack bag of crackers and simply toss her bag on the floor while she continued to watch her show.

Yes, she did that.

And aside from losing my mind in that moment, I also understood why there were so many little pieces of trash on my floor when I’d do my nightly clean up. It was a mystery before that day.

My desire to “serve” my family by keeping a clean and organized home to the best of my ability had totally backfired.

Can you relate?

I don’t want to raise entitled, messy, and lazy kids. I know you don’t either.

That’s where getting the kids involved is actually good for them and good for you because you get some much-needed help!

In case you need more convincing, here’s a Harvard study that proves giving your kids chores will make them happier and set them up for greater success in life. So, let’s start passing out those chores!

Related: The Stupid Simple Solution to Declutter Your Home and Keep it that Way

STARTING THE CHORE PROCESS

My process is designed to be super simple and reduce overwhelm for both you and your children. So whether your kids are doing chores already or none at all… this process will work for both so stay with me!

If you try to start too big with multiple tasks and complicated chore charts to post and manage, you’ll likely get a lot more pushback and you’ll find yourself nagging more than anyone would like. Which usually results in you giving up and going back to doing it all yourself.

Resist that urge right now!

Remember this is good for you but even better for them.

Now, start by making a list of all the household duties. Think larger task categories like dishes, floors, bathrooms, and laundry.

Not smaller tasks like wiping counters or picking up toys unless all your children are really little. In that case, keep all the tasks short, sweet, and simple. We are just trying to develop healthy and productive habits with the little ones. 

I like to give my older kids (ages 6 and up) a larger domain or function to “be in charge of.” This gives them a sense of ownership for that area and helps to keep them from getting in each other’s way while cleaning. Thus, eliminating some sibling drama.

So to use bathrooms as an example, one child would be responsible for the entire bathroom. This would consist of wiping counters and mirrors, spraying and wiping the shower or bathtub, and toilets. That’s a lot right there and it’ll keep them plenty busy. Especially, if you have more than one bathroom.

And remember, if you have all younger children, take bigger jobs and break them down into much smaller and easier tasks. And you’ll still do the more adult tasks.

Related: The Art of Simple Homemaking: 11 Practical Tips for Today’s Busy Mom

GIVING OUT THE CHORE ASSIGNMENTS

Once you’ve listed all your tasks, assign one of your children to do ONE of those tasks every day for a whole month.

Let me explore that a little further.

Let’s say you assigned your 10-year-old son over the floors. He doesn’t necessarily have to vacuum the floors every day, unless that’s how often you vacuum. He just needs to look at his job like he’s the ambassador of the floors in your house. That means making sure the floors are vacuumed but also clean of shoes, toys, and other items that make their way to the floors every day.

I hope that makes sense.

Also, I want to bring emphasis on why doing one thing only is so important versus having a larger list of several chores. Suddenly, adding a kid that’s never really done chores before into a multi-position cleaning team can be really overwhelming. Which usually leads to your need to nag them to do their chores every day. And that’s just frustrating for everyone. 

I love giving each child their ONE thing for a whole month and then switching to a new task like laundry, for example.

Here’s a really simple chore chart to have the kids check off each day:

Grab your chart here!

AGE-APPROPRIATE CHORES

Now I want to quickly talk about ages here a bit. Most household chores can be simplified for your younger children and become gradually more independent as your children get older. This is about more than getting the housework done. You are training your children for real life and getting much-needed practice for their adulthood. 

Let’s use the laundry example here. If I had an older child, I’d teach them how to gather, sort, wash, and fold all the household laundry. 

If you have a younger child, I’d show them how to separate the clothes, and use the washer and dryer with supervision, and also teach them the proper way to fold. You may need to do some re-folding in secret for the little ones but letting them “help” is still really important to learn new skills.

Here are a couple examples of chores for one task separated by age group:

Laundry:

Older Child: Washes, dries, and folds the laundry.

Younger: Helps put clothes in the washer, moves clothes into the dryer, and helps fold clothes.

Bathrooms:

Younger Child: Clears and wipes counter tops, empties the trash, sweeps the floor.

Older Child: All of the above and scrubs toilets and cleans tubs/shower.

Remember, these are just examples. You may decide to tweak your own chore process. The actual tasks are completely up to you!

Related: 9 Ways to Clean and Tidy Faster, Better, and With Fewer Chemicals from the Leading Experts

GETTING EVERYONE ON BOARD

You may be wondering where’s the tracking system to get everyone straight. Well, I believe in keeping things stupid simple. And keeping everyone on track with their one thing is easy and doesn’t require complicated chore charts to post and manage.

Everyone can remember ONE thing, right?

At the start of each month, simply rotate each child to another new task.

And as your child gets older, make their tasks more involved and independent.

Just remember that if this is a new thing for your family, apply LOTS and LOTS of patience and grace. And as hard as this might be, work really hard on giving positive affirmations and encouragement. And when things aren’t happening and you feel the temptation to nag… try your hardest not to. Make simple reminders instead.

What works best for my family is we have a designated time when everyone does their chore area. That way no one feels like their missing out on anything fun and we’re all feeding off of each other’s cleaning energy. Lol

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability

A WORD ON PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

I wanted to take one more minute to talk about how to make house cleaning go much faster for everyone. If EVERYONE in the house intentionally put their own mess and belongings away in their correct place THE FIRST TIME it would tremendously cut down on the need for cleaning.

Let’s use the bathroom as an example. If you tell your kids to put their toothbrushes and toothpaste away every time after using them, your child that’s assigned to the bathrooms won’t need to take the unnecessary time to clear the counters every single day. They simply can wipes the counters very quickly!

In the case of laundry, if everyone in the house takes their own clothes to your laundry area and does the work of separating their clothes into colors all the laundry person needs to do is wash, dry, and fold. And each kid, if old enough… (and my 3-year-old does) can put away their own folded laundry.

When everyone pitches in this way, the actual cleaning assignments are much more manageable. And the final benefit is, by giving your kids a domain or main task area, you instantly create a self-cleaning machine.

It’s funny to see when they just cleaned an area and their sister or brother leaves stuff in their freshly cleaned area. Have you ever heard a kid nag? Lol

They never cared that much when I cleaned. Oh well.

I really hope you’re inspired to get those kids on board, or maybe you’re already churning with ideas to change the way you do your family’s chores. I’d love to hear your amazing ideas or the process your already using that works. Share them in the comments below!

Struggling to get the kids to do chores? These simple chores for kids by age will help you easily get started!  #kidsandparenting  #parenting #organizing

Get a super simple plan to get your kids in the habit of doing household chores. Chores for kids! #cleaning #kids #children #Organizing #parenting

Struggling to get your kids to do any housework? Trying this simple method to get your kids to do their chores without needing to nag! #parenting #momlife #organizing #household