Breaking the toddler code

I think from 20 months to 3 years must be the most frustrating time for parents and toddlers. They know what they want to say but we as parents have to try and decipher their code. Isobel seems to be gaining more and more new words every day and even though there is still a lot of pointing and screaming in frustration, 90% of the time we can figure out what she is saying.

Her favourite saying at the moment seems either to be “Mommy do it”, or “Isobel do it”. The “Isobel do it” can be painful to watch as she struggles to get her socks on herself or zip up her jacket. She is so independent and stubborn (gets that from her mom), I cannot intervene at all and help, so I just have to sit back and watch her struggle until she shouts “Mommy help”!

This period of time seems to be such a struggle between me coaxing her into doing something she doesn’t want to do and keeping her away from things she shouldn’t be doing. A lot of the time I try and offer her a choice when she doesn’t want to do something. So for example when I tell her she cannot have my phone I try and distract her with her toys. I will offer her two choices of the toys she can play with or come up with a fun game and this distraction usually works. I can be fairly mentally draining coming up with all these distractions, but trying to make her feel like she is making the choice!

We have also been using the bold corner a lot more to discipline her. Some of you might remember watching supper nanny on Channel 4 about 15 years ago presented by Jo Frost. I strangely enough, remember some of this advise, not sure why I was watching this in my early 20’s, the best of reality TV I guess! So when she does something wrong or when I say no and she doesn’t listen she visits the bold corner. I leave her in it for about 2 minutes or long enough to know something is wrong. And after I get down on her level, tell her again what she did wrong, ask her to say sorry and tell her she cannot do it again, and then we have a hug to say it is forgiven. She understand this process very well, and even sometimes when I just threaten the bold corner, she will walk into the corner herself. Of course it doesn’t work every time, and sometimes when really upset or tired, she will end up doing a poo in her pants in the bold corner, which I feel really guilty about. I just try and be consistent as possible in regards to discipline and myself and Shane try and stay on the same page, although he is definitely the softie!

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