Can moms actually create cranky toddlers?
I did…and I want to share with you exactly how I created a cranky toddler ( and baby!) so you can avoid my mistakes!
It seemed to happen overnight.
I had to wonder…what happened to my baby?
He was so angelic, quiet and kind.
But one day something happened — something that I had never planned.
My perfect little baby transformed into a cranky, demanding, highly emotional and discontent toddler.
How did this happen?
Did I do something to encourage this behavior?
It stings when someone points out something you may be missing the mark on when it comes to this motherhood thing.
It stings because we want to be the best mom ever to our kids.
I have been stung a few times, but you know what? I needed it.
The truth about my parenting failures hurt and even caused a few hot tears to stream down my cheeks.
One night I even cried myself to sleep because of my out of control toddler.
But those tears of failure, helped me learn some crazy important lessons.
Being honest and raw about my mothering style helped me acknowledge some weak points.
And when I acknowledged those parenting mishaps, I could move on.
Move on with love and desire to create a happy toddler and a happy child.
In fact, me journey affected me so much I wrote a book all about raising happy toddlers. You can download it here. <3
I learned that my mothering style not only caused crankiness in my child, but fuels my toddler’s natural frustrations.
I could have tried to blame others or our surroundings…
I could have blamed it on my son’s “strong-willed” personality…(But, boy…did I have a strong-willed child later! Girls can definitely beat the boys in this category..ha!)
Instead, I chose to listen to the teachers in my life.
And it changed everything.
No longer was I crying myself to sleep over bad toddler habits.
If my toddler hit me or other people, I stopped viewing him (the hitter) as a victim.
My husband, older moms and even books helped me see where I was failing.
And for their insight, I’m truly thankful. <3
Let me tell you a secret.
It is possible to have a content, happy and obedient toddler.
Creating a happy toddler takes work, honesty on your part, prayers and an open heart that says, “If I need to change my mothering style, I will.”
Check out this list of mistakes I was accidentally making.
May it help you to encourage your child to be a happy toddler instead of a cranky one!
But I have one simple request…
Please read with an open, honest heart and mind.
Most likely no one is watching you read this, so you don’t have delve into self-defense mode.
And, there is a 90% chance I have never met you and have never seen your toddler.
So, no, I am not judging you, I am only desiring to help you through your child’s toddler years.
So please — sit and think, “Am I doing this? Is it causing negative behavior in my toddler?”
Gulp. Here we go.
5 Ways I Accidentally Created a Cranky Toddler
I rewarded whining.
It’s so easy to hand over that piece of candy your child whines for!
No one likes to hear a child whine or cry — it has to be one of the worst sounds in the universe!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you give a toddler what he whines for, he’ll be quiet and smile — for a little while, at least.
However, when you give your toddler everything he whines for, you are teaching him it is acceptable to whine.
You are also teaching him it is good to whine, because you are rewarding him for his whining.
Here’s what was happening with my toddler:
- He wanted a cookie — he whined.
- He wanted to get out of his car-seat — he whined.
- He wanted to walk instead of sit in the grocery cart — he whined.
What did I do?
I gave him the cookie, took him out of the car-seat and let him walk instead of ride in the shopping cart.
Though none of those desires were bad, I was teaching him to control me with whining.
He could make me do whatever he wanted..
All he had to do was whine.
This created a bigger, scarier and crankier monster.
The first moment he didn’t get his desires, he initiated the no-fail tactic — whining and flailing his arms.
But I decided to stop giving in. Stop teaching him that whining was his ticket to freedom..;0)
And something magical happened…when I stopped giving in to his whining, his attitude slowly improved.
I was beginning to see light the end of the cranky toddler tunnel!
I never established a routine for my toddler.
People told me kids are resilient, but I tend to disagree..and so do these experts.
I’ve seen all six of my kids react to changes in environment and routine in pretty dramatic ways.
When I didn’t have a routine established, my toddler’s day was filled with uncertainties. Some of these included:
- Will he take a nap?
- Will he have outside play time?
- Will he eat dinner before he takes a bath or after?
- Will he have a story before bed or just a kiss and hug?
There was no rhyme or reason to his day. He always felt unsure of the future…but couldn’t communicate that to me.
Consider our adult lives.
Do you feel like you have it altogether if you follow a morning routine before heading out to work?
Do you have a better start to your day if you follow a coffee first, then breakfast, then shower routine?
Do you feel out-of-whack if you shower first then have coffee?
Just like adults, toddlers tend to thrive and feel secure if there is some sort of schedule and predictability to the day.
If you need tips, sample schedules or printable to get you started on the right routine for your family, check out this awesome ebook from two of my blogging friends.
I‘ve read it and absolutely love it!
After I established a daily routine (which included a predictable and successful 2 hours naps!) I saw my son returning to his calm, sweet self. This mom thing was doable! <3
I spent very little quality time with my toddler.
Busy, busy , busy!
I didn’t work outside the home, but I was planning college banquets, folding laundry, ironing clothes, cooking meals…
Sometimes that meant our daily lives seemed rushed.
My toddler needed me to stop and listen.
I started going this squatting trick and listening to him daily.
He talked to me about Bob the Builder, his Nana (my mom) and all his yellow construction vehicles.
Then, we’d run outside and play for at least an hour.
I quickly forgot about the unfolded laundry on my bed as I soaked in every giggle, grin and “watch this, Mom!”
Even though he was a toddler, I made sure to ask him direct questions to initiate longer conversations:
Did you play with your trucks today?
Did you see a puppy today?
Did you eat a sandwich today?”
It’s amazing how much a toddler can understand and communicate, if you just take the time to listen and connect.
I rushed through daily child-care tasks.
Many times I zoomed through feeding my son breakfast. I rushed him to his room and dressed him as quickly as possible?
We didn’t count the buttons on his tiny flannel shirt or wipe down the table together as we sang “Whistle While You work!”
Instead, it was always..”Let’s hurry!”.
I was buzzing through daily child-care tasks like they were nothing more than a daily nuisance.
That in itself was sending the message of, “I’m not enjoying this task of raising you.”
And I didn’t even see it!
I learned to talk to him as I got him dressed and brushed his teeth.
I learned that it was ok if we got to the grocery store at 10 AM instead of 9 AM because we picked some figs off our fig tree and spent a little extra time getting his socks “just right” so there weren’t any bumps near his big toe.
It was ok.
We were learning to enjoy our daily tasks… together
And we were also learning a most valuable lesson — not be insanely stressed about the little things.<3
I Was Creating a Cranky Toddler Because I wasn’t Consistent With Consequences.
If you set rules in your home, make sure there are consequences when they’re broken.
Why was this creating a cranky toddler?
Because I wasn’t addressing negative behavior on a consistent basis. It was hit or miss.
Because of me being hit and miss, he was only following the rules when I was looking…;0)
How many times did I let him get away with negative behavior because I was busy cooking, texting, talking or even on the internet?
Things had to change.
I would have to:
Turn off the stove and stop cooking when he was breaking a rule.
- Put down the phone and and text or call that friend later.
- I had to fight my desire to relax when he was throwing dirt on a friend.
- I would have to use some of these creative consequences when he disobeyed me and I was busy writing, cleaning or sewing.
Changing those five things about my mothering style helped our parent/child relationship grow.
Now that toddler is 17 years old…17!
Realistically I knew that little chunky toddler would finally grow up into a young man.
But, still, it seems like I blinked and he’s driving, running errands and checking into different universities.
Doing the hard things — being present, not giving into whining and getting out of my comfort zone to address negative behavior — has really paid off.
Don’t give up, dear mom.
The toddler years are precious years…and if you can win your toddler’s heart through intentional mothering, then one day, your teenager and young adult child will look at you and say, “Thanks mom for giving me an awesome childhood. Thank you for teaching me not to whine, hit or be disrespectful. Thank you for dedicating the best years of your life to me.”
And moms, it is worth it!
Don’t give up when your toddler whines…
Don’t give into the tantrums…
But most of all, don’t be too busy that you miss the magical moments of toddlerhood!
Do you have any success stories to share about how your cranky toddler turned into a pleasant one? We would love to hear them on our Facebook page!
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