When you first have a child it is human nature to put their needs above all else. I remember feeling like there was nothing more important than my baby. He needed feeding, I would feed on demand. He needed cuddling and comforting, I would drop everything and make sure he knew I was there. However now that he is older his needs are more complex. They are not so much needs per se, but more wants. I have quickly discovered that though the drop everything approach was essential to building my infant sons confidence and trust in his parents, it is not doing him any favours now as a toddler.
There are times in my household where I seriously have to ask myself who is the boss here. It can feel like we have raised a mini dictator who will have no mercy on us unless we do what he wants.
The Rise of Our Mini Dictater
It came to my attention one night after Gabriel’s bath. His routine has always been the same, dinner, bath, bottle then bed. However this time Gabriel had decided that he couldn’t wait the few seconds it took to warm up his bottle. He needed it 5 minutes ago! Little did I know that me giving in to him this one time opened the door to something far worse. My son from then on became hell bent on dominating everything!
It wasn’t just his milk this time, which may I add I have never been able to warm up again since that day. It became him dictating to me when we left the house, when we had dinner, what TV show we had to watch and when we refused? All hell broke loose. Tantrums because the bath was not filling up fast enough, because he wanted to go downstairs at 5am. Or because he wanted his dinner now even though I told him it is still hot ( I am a horrible mum for not letting him eat his food while it is burning hot!). This child had no patience and we were exhausted.
Time to Nip it in the Bud
How is this happening? My sweet little boy was developing a character, and a fierce one too (Where did he get that from? *cough *cough), and if we didn’t start making boundaries he was going to walk all over us. So we decided it was time to teach him how to be patient. Teach him that he is not the centre of the universe. He is not the boss of this family. He is a member of it. But how were we going to do that?
As ironic as it sounds, it required that Lee and I be patient with him in order to teach him patience. We both set out to explain to Gabriel when he needed to wait and why, and we vowed to not give in no matter what. When he become angry because he wanted his toast now. I would explain that the bread needed to be put in the toaster and we needed to wait for the pop. He now patiently waits for the pop and asks to put the bread in the toaster.We encourage him to play independently at times while explaining why mummy and daddy are busy. To our surprise it he quickly got the memo.
What to do when your toddler is impatient?
At first he resisted and there are still times when giving in feels like the easy option. Trust me, I know there are times when you just do not have the energy and you will do anything for a little peace and quiet. However we knew it would make things harder for us in the long run. We didn’t want him to grow up thinking that everyone everywhere needed to do what he wanted at all times. I am scared to raise a son who would grow up believing that the world revolved around him all because his parents gave in to him his whole life. Check out my post on Helicopter Parenting
Better to start earlier rather than later
One thing that has really helped in developing his waiting skills is his Gro Clock. A clock that is used for sleep training toddlers. The sun indicates when it is daytime and the star means it is bedtime. The idea is to teach the child to stay in bed until the sun appears. It has proved wonders with Gabriel. It didn’t take him long to understand the concept and he will now sit and wait for the sun to appear before he calls out to us.
I know that his behaviour is very normal for his age and it is still a work in progress. Parenting will always be a work in progress. However I believe it is necessary for us to start teaching him to be patient and learn to respect others around him sooner rather than later. They understand a lot more than we give them credit for and us nipping it in the bud early on has potentially saved us from a lot of problems in the future.
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