Stop! Aaatt! No! Stop! Get out of that! Dang it, would you just… I swear I will beat you!
I promise, I don’t beat my munchkin. But these are the words that come out of my mouth daily.No judging here please! No one is perfect. But you know what? Realizing that we are not perfect, accepting that fact, and hoping for better is what makes us good moms!
However, there are times when you have to sit back and ask yourself this simple question: “How is my relationship with my munchkin?”
Right now, at first thought, my relationship with my son is wonderful. He’s totally a Mama’s boy!
The problem is this:
Stop! Aaatt! No! Stop! Get out of that! Dang it, would you just… I swear I will beat you!
So I started to sit back and contemplate how I can stop saying “stop”. Then I hit the books! Well, not the books per-say. More like the internet. There were so many great tips, but a few seemed to trend.
I know many parents have this same problem. So I have decided to create a challenge and *hopefully* I can stop saying “stop” (so often). If you tend to yell at your toddler often and pull your hair out, I challenge YOU to stop saying “stop” too!
“When and where is he acting up the most?”
Odds are, your munchkin isn’t a little monster all the time. So when is he acting up the most? Is it when you’re on the computer? Watching TV? Cleaning? Pay attention to when he’s at his worst. Also, is there a certain place that he acts up the most? Maybe at the grocery store, someone else’s home, or maybe in his playpen.
“Why is my munchkin acting up?”
You have to really think about this one. Why is your munchkin acting up? The majority of the time, it’s because he’s not getting the attention that HE feels he deserves. Have you ever heard the saying “any attention is good attention”? It applies here. Every munchkin, especially toddlers, will get into some trouble. That’s how they learn. Plundering, exploring, and getting their hands into things are their ways of figuring out how the world works. However, if you keep telling him no and he continues to go back over and over again, more than likely he’s trying to get your attention. Even if you spend hours playing with a munchkin, that doesn’t mean that it’s enough in HIS opinion.
“How can I stop saying ‘stop’?”
Okay so if you haven’t noticed, when I access a situation, I ask the questions who, what, when, where, why, how. So we’ve figured out who (your munchkin), what (“acting up”), when, where, and why. Now the big question is how can you make your munchkin stop acting up so much so that you can stop saying “stop” (so often).
Of course each situation will be different, because munchkins are tiny humans and every human is unique. I found a few tips that seems to repeat themselves and decided to put them into action. So here is the challenge!
#1 Find time to play
I’m sure you already play with your munchkin. The importance is how much time consecutively are you playing with your munchkin? What I mean is, are you playing for 5-10 minutes at a time, or for long periods? Set aside at least an hour a day to devote to just her. Do creative things that make the wheels in her head turn. Don’t just sit out a toy and play. Really get involved. Believe me, I understand how hard it is to just drop everything for an hour to play, especially in this busy world we live in. But I promise, no matter how busy you are, this is worth it! Believe it or not, once you get used to taking out that extra hour during the day, you won’t miss the lost work. It will also keep YOU happy and healthy, meaning you will have more patience to deal with those “stop” moments. I used to do this during the spring and summer of last year. But of course when the cold weather came along, I curled up on the couch and have been there ever since. Find activities to get yourself up and moving! I know I’m going to have to again!
#2 Count to 4
“When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to 4.” – Daniel Tiger
Yes I just quoted a cartoon character. And he’s right! When you’re angry, don’t count to 10. To be honest, it takes too long and you’re probably not going to hold yourself to it. It also gives the monster, I mean beautiful little munchkin, time to get into trouble again. Instead, just take a deep breath and count to 4. That’s all you need. That deep breath will help you focus and calm you enough to at least talk your way through the situation.
#3 Stop and give love
When you’re doing something such as checking your email and your munchkin insists that he just has to have Mama lovin’s, instead of saying “stop”, try stopping what you are doing and give him some love. Chances are after you give him a moment, you can direction his attention to something else and will actually give you more time to get things done than if he kept pestering you every 2 minutes. Which brings me to my next point.
#4 Redirect his attention
When your munchkin insists on playing with the stereo as you and Daddy keep saying “stop”, maybe he’s bored. All the toys in the world could be scattered across your living room floor and I guarantee he’ll decide to put his little fingers all over the stereo, computer and your hot coffee. Why? Because he’s played with those toys a million and one times, I’m sure. So here’s what you do. Put away ALL of his toys. Yes, all of them, even his favorites. Now give him something completely different. It doesn’t have to be a toy. Everything is a toy to a toddler. It’s time for them to learn! Remember “keep it simple”. Even a bowl and spoon can be interesting to tot. I have already started this and it really works! Check out Pinterest for awesome simple ideas.
#5 Sing a fun song
Now, I’m not saying that this will work all the time, and you may feel crazy for doing it, but trust me on this. Make everything into a song! One, it gets their attention. Two, it makes it less stressful for you. So I’m sure you want examples. I’ll use the classic in our house: the stereo. So Kalel has his sticky fingers in the stereo again. AGAIN?!?! Yes… again. Instead of saying “stop it! quit it! … etc. etc.” because we know that won’t work anyway, I sing his name. “Kaleeelllll…” Huh? What? Got his attention! “Come here! Check this out!” Of course I don’t have anything so I have to make up some excuse as to WHY I called him away from his important business of making trouble, but at least I got his attention without wanting to strangle the cute little monster. ;) Again, I promise I don’t beat (or strangle) my child! :) Just get into the habit of singing everything when things are good and you’ll find yourself automatically singing during the bad. Sing when you take a bath. Sing when you get strapped into the car seat. Sing when you get ready to eat. Sing when you brush your teeth. You get the point. I know I’m not the only crazy unpaid maid out there that sings everything… right?
#6 Distract her
Distraction can be a lovely thing. “Mary look at this!” or “Hey Lissa, can you grab that for mommy?” or “Wow! Look at what’s on the Teee-veeee!!” See what I did there? I sang TV. BOOM! Mastered #5! Here’s something that I use way too often that many experts say is a no-no: TV! And don’t we all? Or most of us anyway. It’s something that I will admit and I’ll just have to work on in time. Some healthier ways to distract your munchkin is having them to do something else that will be just as exciting and interesting. Interesting to adults isn’t always interesting to toddlers, so keep that in mind. BE YOUR MUNCHKIN! She’s learning how things are working, so distract her by showing her how something works, however simple that may be.
#7 Keep her busy
Turn up the music and DANCE! Once you get her dancing, you probably won’t have to dance anymore and she’ll just continue to go for it while you get things done. Sing along though. That keeps you involved while still getting your maid business done. Dancing in the beginning is important. Once you move, she’ll move. Once she moves, she’ll move… and move… and move… WEAR THAT MUNCHKIN OUT!!! But come on though. Do some dancing yourself. Dancing just makes chores fun!
#8 Involve him in chores
Instead of saying “stop” when he grabs the broom, let that little munchkin do some chores! Let him arrange your laundry. Most importantly, PRAISE him for doing such a great job! The most important thing to a toddler isn’t doing something right but doing something, period. As long as he’s trying, that’s the most important thing at this point in his life. If you’ve never let your munchkin “help” you clean before, you may be surprised at how little it’s annoying and how fun it really can be.
#9 Praise, praise, praise!
Praise her when she does something right. Acknowledge her when you’re busy. Talk to her. Explain what you’re doing. Point out to her what she can do instead. And then when she does it, praise, praise, praise! Give those sweet cheeks some sugar!
This is the most important by far. Even when you want to scream, LAUGH! Even if you sound like a maniac, laugh and laugh and… you get it! Smile as wide as you can. It has been scientifically proven to put you in a better mood, or so I’m told.
So that’s it. If you plan to take this challenge, let me know in the comments. I will make another post soon to tell you all how this challenge has worked for me!
I am not an expert and never claim to be. If you find any flaws in this challenge, it’s probably because I’m just an unpaid maid, and proudly accepting kisses and giggles as payment daily!