With the right attitude and a little thought life can be a lot less stressful
- Leave the house. Seriously, this is not news but it is precious advice and something a lot of parents will relate to. Everything seems worse when you and your toddler have been in doors all day. There is a lot of energy to be burned and shouting to be done. Giving your child the freedom to run around and exert themselves makes a huge difference. It might even help them sleep better. Wrap up when it's cold and if it is even mildly possible to visit the playground or go to a playgroup then do it. The day can be very long otherwise.
- Routine Routine Routine. I've dabbled in lots of different approaches to parenting. I was always a routine girl and lost a bit of faith when my 20 month old still did not sleep. I wondered why I was rubbing salt in the wound for myself. I focused on this valuable routine and it made no difference whatsoever. These days things are starting to improve in that department. I find that bed-time is always in or around the same time every evening. There is no battle to get him off to sleep because he expects it now. It also helps us parents have some sort of an idea about how to structure the day. I actually enjoy tidying up in the evenings in the peace and quiet. Maybe I need to get out more...
- Get out more. That goes for you parents. We've devised a little ritual where myself and my partner have a monthly date-night. Going to the cinema or out for dinner does wonders for your mental health and relationship. It's nice to have a break, and even better when it's during your child's sleeping hours.
- Keep it simple. I'm all for trying new recipes but there are days where I have felt like a slave to the kitchen only for my toddler to turn up his nose at my creation. I then find myself exhausted, disappointed and with an enormous kitchen mess to deal with. Beans on toast probably would have gone down a treat. Some days it's better for everyone to keep it simple.
- Make the most of nap-time. If your child still naps then this is a precious time for you. Some days it is your only opportunity to sit down and have something to eat. Other times it is a chance to catch up on house-work. Whatever it is for you, make it count.
- Lower your standards. If you are house proud and enjoy a very clean house you will end up losing your mind during toddler hood. Food will end up in places that you never could have imagined. Accepting that it is often out of your control can be liberating on some level. Just remember these years will not last forever.
- Play. This is so simple and yet is something I find myself forgetting about constantly. We can be so consumed with the stress of getting everything sorted in our homes that we don't realise how much our child just wants to play with us.
- Remember that you are not alone. Someone else in a house not too far from yours is currently scrapping avocado off the walls while their little darling is rummaging through the fridge, make up bag or bin. We are all in the same boat. Together in numbers!
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