Create Routines and Rituals
A predictable schedule helps the child accept routines and minimizes opposition. All that you may have to say is: “Now it is time to…” Include regular opportunities for your child to contribute to family life; e.g., sweeping crumbs after snack, wiping the table, carrying plates to the sink, even helping to wash dishes. Rituals add a little magic. Examples are: setting the table with place-mats or a centerpiece; a book, a song and a few words of thankfulness before bed, then a kiss.
Toddlers have an enormous inner drive toward independence. Maria Montessori pointed out, “These words reveal the child’s inner needs; “Help me do it alone’.” They want to do things all by themselves, but sometimes they don’t have the skills or know-how. We can help them by slowing down our movements, breaking them down into smaller and clearer steps, getting a smaller version of what we use.
Toddlers are known as hard workers, and they often seek to exert maximum effort. When they exert more effort they feel like they are doing more meaningful work and they’ll be more committed to finishing the task. When you meet with opposition, you can ask your child to help you carry something, and make sure you give them a fair share.
Whenever possible we want to offer the toddlers choices so that they can exercise their power of decision-making by giving two appropriate choices. If the child comes up with a third perfectly acceptable alternative, feel free to go with it. Sometimes the only choice we may have for a child is: “Will you walk all by yourself or shall I carry you?” “Can you climb into your car seat by yourself, or shall I help you?”
Genuine Encounter Moments are those moments when the child approaches you to share something about their life or work. To be able to recognize these moments and to stop and be present with your child right then and there is as valuable as, if not more than, scheduled time with your child. Depending on your child’s age and development, you may decide to overlook that he/she did not read all the social cues, and might have interrupted what you were doing.
In social situations your child may need help with creating win/win situations. Remaining neutral in words and tone is key. Questions such as: “What can we do?” and suggestions such as “how about…” invite the children to help problem solve. You don’t have to have all the answers, and you don’t have to fix things for them. Often just being with the children in the moment helps them work through their emotions. Before you realize it, they’ll be ready to resume their play.