Let's face it. Living with a toddler is no easy feat. No two days are the same and the rules are different too. Granted, most toddlers usually live by just the one simple rule: it's mine. But now and again they like to mix things up so you have to be prepared. We asked on Twitter what your top tips for living with toddlers were and, as ever, you told us. So if you're struggling with a demanding toddler and are looking for some answers, look no further. Here are your tried and tested tips for living with a toddler!
Get out of the house
The lovely Carol (@CarolJS) told us that toddlers can be a little like dogs- they need walking twice a day! Joking aside, this is not a bad tip. Getting out of the house every day with a toddler is a must. Ask any parent and they will tell you. It only take around half an hour for a toddler to fully exhaust every room in the house (and yes, we're talking 'playing' with Mummy's makeup and toilet fishing too. They want to do it all!) and then what? Then you take them out, obviously.
Be prepared though. Getting out of the house can take up to an hour in itself. Have you packed enough nappies/ knickers/ underpants? Have you got spare clothes? Wellies? Bread for the ducks? Pennies for the shop? Have you been to the toilet/ brushed your hair/ washed your face/ remembered snacks? Have you expressly told your toddler at least three times exactly where you are going, in what order, for how long and- most importantly- why? Only once all of the above has been done, will you finally be ready to leave the house. And then you can stop to switch shoes onto the right feet, wrestle your toddler into a buggy/ scooter/ trike and off you go. Twice a day. Believe me, it's better than staying in.
Have some good answers ready for all the questions
Toddlers are naturally inquisitive. That's how they learn, and how they make sense of the world around them. It's also their secret weapon. It's how they wear you down into a gibbering mess at the end of the day. How they get to you agree to an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner, and one more story at bedtime. It's also how they make you smile, certain that they are the most intelligent and interesting toddler that ever there was. But you need the answers, people.
'Why?' is the most popular of questions, and it's not good enough to reply with 'Because.' Toddlers need more than this. They need real answers, so get an encyclopaedia if you need one. Or at the very least learn how to give a convincing answer. Toddlers need this interaction with you, so you may as well make it worthwhile.
Stay strong through the tantrums
Yep. Tantrums. They are totally normal, an essential part of growing up, asserting personalities and testing boundaries. That doesn't meant that they are any fun though. Kerry (@Scrapbookerry) advises lots of cake, chocolate, coffee and wine to get through it all. And you know what? That's not a bad idea. Whatever keeps you calm, helps you to wind down and essentially gives you strength to deal with it all is a must. We don't recommend drinking wine while you toddler kicks and screams at your feet, but there's nothing wrong with a glass once they're in bed. To relax.
In all seriousness, tantrums are not fun, but it's important to keep your cool if you can. The scale of the tantrum is often determined by how you react to it, so try to keep in mind that your toddler is expressing frustration and anger in the only way they know how. Don't take it personally.
Expect the unexpected
Sometimes, you brace yourself for a tantrum, and your toddler remains sweetly smiling. Other times you are sure that your fine rendition of Mickey Mouse Club House will result in peels of laughter (as usual) but instead you are told to stop singing and when you don't, a tantrum erupts. There can be no predicting it. A shopping trip with toddlers can be either heaven or hell. Only your toddler will know. So, as @RowCB recommends, expect the unexpected. Don't assume anything, because your toddler will always manage to surprise you- often in a wonderful way.
Enjoy these precious days
Your toddler is hard work, but this is measured with a healthy dose of cuteness too. Make the most of these precious days, because they don't last forever. Enjoy the sticky kisses and snotty embraces and don't forget to take lots of photos. Your toddler will soon grow up and- believe me- you will miss these days!