Toddler Training!

You probably read the title and thought ‘Oh, must have a read, can never know too much about how to manage my toddler!’. Right? True, we can read volumes about toddler behaviour and still find ourselves frustrated and flabbergasted (love that word) by them. However, this title refers to what I have learnt about my behaviour  from my toddler! Wacky right?

I was having one of those days – you know, juggling loads of things and getting nothing done, resulting in me being too late to find my daughters neckerchief when it was time for her first Brownies meeting. I could have looked for it while she was in school, could have looked for it while she was doing her homework but no – I decided to grab it at the last minute and of course it wasn’t there. Well this was the final straw, I lost my temper with all three children. ‘Where is it Caoimhe? You should know, it’s yours not mine, after all!’, ‘Conan, why don’t you have your shoes on yet, for goodness sake, you will make us late!’, ‘Siofra, will you MOVE out of my way?!’ The older two kept their heads down and got on with things, but the toddler looked up ‘Mam, are you cross?’, ‘YES, Siofra I am!’, ‘Why are you cross Mam?’ she fearlessly went on. The second question was enough to make me pause, stop my nonsense and realise how all this hassle had been created by me and was no-one’s fault, yet I had upset everyone. I calmly got everyone into the car, explained missing neckerchief to Brownies leader who of course said ‘don’t worry’, and went out of my way to be a better Mum for the rest of the day; I’m not saying I succeeeded, but with Siofra’s questions ringing in my ears, I at least tried.

Why are you cross?

Why are you cross?

Then there was the day last week when I sat down to write a post while Siofra was playing away. A good 15 minutes later she came up with book in hand and asked me to read her a story – ‘in a few minutes’, I said. Ten minutes later, she asked me again, and I said ‘I will in a few minutes, just look at the pictures!’. So she went off to the couch and returned a couple of minutes later with ‘please Mummy will you read it now?’ ‘Siofra’, I said I will in a few minutes, just read it yourself!’ ‘But Mummy I can’t read the WORDS!’ Well yes, I felt awful and realised that the laptop had eaten into nearly half an hour of our morning. I sat down, read the book and then re-read it a couple of times. Only after I put my giggling toddler down for her nap did I return to the laptop.

I’m a big believer in everyone sitting together at meal times and having a chat ‘en famille’. At the weekends we always do it but mid-week it is only myself and the toddler at lunchtime. None the less, we still sit down and have our meal together. So, one day last week I had been busy all morning with one thing or another and when we sat down at the table I just wanted to quickly check something on Facebook. Siofra was chatting away to me about this, that and the other, me nodding along with my head buried in my phone. It was only when I heard ‘talk to me Mammy’ that I finally looked up and realised I had not listened to a word she had said. I know the absolute value of encouraging communication within families and here I was too ‘busy’ to talk to my baby. No phones at the table from now on.


Talk to me Mammy.

Talk to me Mammy.

So, as much as we put a lot of effort into managing our toddlers’ behaviour, sometimes it is not so bad to stop, listen and take stock of how our behaviour affects them. Flawless parenting is an unachievable myth but learning from one’s mistakes is not just for children! Have you any example to share?

Thanks for reading



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sophie
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 15:40:30

    So true! I have to remind myself so often to put the phone away and read an actual book when BB is playing next to me. As I really, really want her to be into books. It’s kind of working as she is now the first to ‘read’ House and Home mag when it gets delivered. If mummy likes her magazines it must be fun 🙂 Ditto washing up – ‘surely, it must be mighty fun altogether to splash in the sink if Mummy does it three times a day? I should give it a go! Now, if I just manage to move a chair close enough to that sink….’


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