Home > Beckie, Bragging on Sarah, Educational, Jim > How to thoroughly love your toddler

How to thoroughly love your toddler

The last blog was a little heavy, so I’m going to make this blog a little lighter and fun which means stories about Sarah.

1st Story:  For about two weeks, Sarah has been saying “right way” every time we get into the car.  Then, she would go nuts whenever I would start driving.  I kept telling her, “This is the right way to the post office (or daycare or wherever).”  I even thought maybe she wanted me to turn right.  Then, I realized there was no way she knows her right from left.  On Thursday, I found out I was finally going the “right way” when Sarah threw both hands up in the air and happily yelled, “Right way!”  We were headed to the l-i-b-r-a-r-y.  If you slowly sound it out, it does kind-of sound like “right way.”  I’m just tickled at the words she picked.

2nd Story:  I have to hand it to the Love and Logic people.  They saved Sarah and me from each other.  Probably a year and a half ago, Jim and I bought Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood – Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years.  We got it because Sarah had started some serious whining.  But, we quickly stopped because she was so sensitive that it really hurt her to be separated from us, and she only seemed confused.  (Besides, Jim always hated to hear Sarah crying.  He had to go hold her.)  Our situation at the time may have made standard disciplining too stressful for Sarah.

This was one of Jim's favorite pictures of them together.

However, I picked the book back up last week to use in combination with the behavior chart.  Now I have a completely different, and very happy, little girl.  The techniques are so easy.  My favorite technique is honest, heartfelt empathizing with Sarah, which she really appreciates, before the consequence.  So, here was our Love and Logic routine at bedtime: “Uh-oh.  This is so sad.  You have to go to your room to calm down.”  And I hold her hand as I gently lead her to her room.  Then, I softly ask if she wants the door open or closed.  Of, course she always wants it open.  Before I walk away, I tell her that she is welcome back in my room when she is calm again.  The first night I employed the technique was really bad.  She was loudly unhappy (understatement) for about 30 minutes.  The next night was just 10 minutes.  The last night, we just had to walk to her room.  Then, we were able to turn right around and go back to my room.  Amazing.  I can’t wait to start applying this to everything else. 

My goal is to feel I have a handle on how to help Sarah learn her limits before she starts conversational talking.  I don’t have much time left, but I think I can do this for her.  Two other concepts, or techniques, are sharing control and shared thinking.  These are super fun too.  When I give her choices, her eyes light up, as if saying, “Wow.  Really?  I get to pick?”  It’s adorable.  My favorite choice to give her is, “Do you want to get off the swings now, or in five minutes?”  Then, five minutes later, she’s ready to go. 

Shared thinking with Sarah is really fun.  I can feel our bonding happen the most during this technique.  Unfortunately, it requires more thinking on my part.  😉  I’m not great at this yet, but I’m working at it.  The first time I tried this was when Sarah was carrying her crayons and coloring book to her room.  My mind scrambled, then I said, “Sarah, remember how the crayon marked your shirt the other day?  (pause)  What would happen if you accidently colored on your carpet?  (pause)  Where might be a better place to color?”  She paused, and then walked back to her art table.  I told her I thought that was a better place to color too.

All of this may seem obvious to you, but I needed it in writing.  Love and Logic has been around since 1977, so there are many written, audio and visual resources out there.  If you wish your kid had come with an instruction manual, get-this-book.

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  1. Billie Cooper
    March 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Beckie,
    Child rearing is one of the real challanges, sounds as tho your doing great. I must meet you and Sarah one day. I probably have and just didn’t realize who you were. I sing at 2nd service and very seldom make it to early service. Does Sarah enjoy Children’s time?
    You have come through some rough times and are a stronger person. I can tell by reading your “blogs” the growth you are experiencing is much like Sarah.
    In Christ’s love,
    Billie Cooper

    • March 28, 2012 at 7:53 am

      Somehow I missed replying to you last week – sorry. Thank you for thinking I’m doing a good job with Sarah. I definately second-guess myself a lot. I don’t do church right now. I don’t want to sit in a pew for an hour and notice Jim is not next to me the entire time. So, I am enjoying sunday school right now, and Sarah is starting to enjoy the nursery. I’ll try to find you before 2nd service this week. (Last week I got to talking to someone…) Even if we’ve met, and don’t remember, I need to give you a hug for your kind comments.

  2. Jayne Field
    March 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Beckie, As always I look forward to what you will be telling me about on each and every blog. Your last entry was full of info and the wonderful book. Not having to walk this journey in a personal sense, all the information you shared was educating. I wrote the book title down!
    And these latest Sarah stories are wonderful. I, too, love that right away turned out to be library! Good girl!!! Who knew parenting was also quite a bit of detective work too…actually a whole lot. And by the way, it never ends…changes but continues into your child’s adulthood…ah! You are up to the task. The dance we dance with our children is full of surprises, challenges and excitement!
    Copied this title as well for my nephew and his wife. They have an 18 month old. Their Mason is a doll with a definite mind..ha, ha!
    I know spring is in the air in Johnson City. I hear the bluebonnets are beautiful!
    We have just had a “mother nature” trick played on us. Beautiful “May weather” turned into winter weather on this first day of Spring!
    Love to you and Sarah, Jayne

    • March 22, 2012 at 7:11 am

      Jayne,
      I started banging my head on the table when you told me the detective work would continue – forever! No, not really, but I felt like it. Thanks for thinking I’m up to it. I’d better be. And, yes, “dancing” with Sarah is definately surprising, challenging and exciting. I know she’s got a great personality, but now she’s starting to say funny things and she really has me rolling sometimes.

      I didn’t know you had a Mason in your family too! I would definately get this book for them. It is the easiest “discipline” book I’ve run across. The sooner parents understand the concepts, the better life will be for everyone. 😉

      The bluebonnets that bloomed are huge and lush, but there aren’t large patches like in the past. The usual photography spots just aren’t there. We tried taking some bluebonnet pictures with Sarah in front of someone’s house. Of course, she got mad when we told her not to pick the pretty flowers. And I had to trick her into “smelling” a flower, and smiling, by telling her the flower would tickle her nose. Of course, the flower was a dandelion…

      Weather in Texas is odd this year. Did we have winter?

      With love,
      Beckie

  3. March 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I got that book for my daughter to use with my (now) 5-year-old granddaughter. My favorite, especially for a grandma, is the “energy drain”: “So sorry, what you just did drained all of my energy, so now what can you do for me to get my energy back to play with you?”

    I need to get my daughter to dig it out again, though, because we’re having a lot of behavioral problems. Five is kind of a know-it-all and test-the-limits age.

    • March 22, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Jill,
      Yes, I haven’t used that tactic yet, but I will. I also like the “currency exchange.” “I had to do X for you, so what toy are you going to give me as payment?” And the, “I picked up your toys, so I get to keep them until tomorrow.” The book is full of wonderful ideas to prepare kids for the future. The idea of them learning from their mistakes while the consequences are still small, is brilliant. I’d definately find that book again so everyone can be happier, and stay sane.

      Beckie

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