Let’s talk a bit about Toddler Behavior today.
I am by no means an expert on behavior, or I don’t hold any medical degree (well I am a dentist but not relevant), these are the things I have found helpful during my journey and thought to share with you all. If these things don’t work out for you, keep changing till you find the one that does.
What to do when Toddler DOESN’T NAP anymore. This is the most asked question, and something that scares moms the most. Another question I get asked a lot is ‘How do I manage to do so much in a day?’
Well the answer is introducing “Quiet Time” to your child.
What is Quiet time you ask?
Quiet time is play time where a child spends time alone in his/her childproof room for a certain amount of time. This is NOT a punishment. It’s more like a routine just like napping. It’s a necessity for both, the child as well as the parent/caregiver.
Friends, I am so happy to tell you that this rule has changed my life. Kyra is so much more behaved, and I have seen her develop a lot. She reads books alone, sings all sorts of songs to entertain herself, plays all by herself, does puzzles, colors, whatever she desires. She would even fall asleep sometimes if she is very tired.
I have a tiny camera footage that I am sharing with you all.
It’s not at all traumatic on a child, but just like everything new introduced to a child, this is not going to be easy. We started this when Kyra was 2.5-year-old.
Quiet time essentials?
1.Alone in a room without electronics – TV, tablets, smartphones
Have toys that are quiet or not (I really don’t mind the noise) available for your child to play with – puzzles, toys that encourage make-believe, crayons and a coloring book, stickers are always a hit, lastly don’t forget to add books.
Quiet Books, these are books made from fabric and are full of activities
If they have a lovey / favorite blanket/ toy, it always calms my daughter.
Water and some toddler friendly snacks
Monitoring camera (just in case, but not a necessity)
Alarm or a timer of some sort.
How do I get my kid to stay put long enough during quiet time?
Well, thing with a child is that sudden changes in routine are not well accepted by them, so start slow.Take small steps, this will come eventually with time.
This is how I started with Kyra, I gave her an activity to do which I knew would not take more than 5-10 minutes to complete. I told her that I am going to close the door and once she finishes the task, I will open the door.
She completed the task and I opened it, I gained her trust. She thought this was all very silly. I also had to show her my hand from the bottom of the door to assure her that I was outside.
Around next week we moved on to two activities, then three. Slowly I introduced a timer. Now I would start the timer to 20 minutes and ask her to be in her room. She eventually got so comfortable with being alone that she refused to come out even after the timer went off.
I’m the one who determines when quiet time is over; my child doesn’t get to have control over that. The goal in this is to teach them to be independent and to entertain themselves away from you. I feel like a good length for quiet is one hour. This gives both you and your child ample time to recharge. Kyra however can be left alone for 1.5- 2 hrs and she just turned 4.
Waking from Quiet time? Now this is very important, once you are done with quiet time, praise the child for being alone and independent. But the child gets no incentives for doing this. This is part of routine and not something forced upon. Ask questions about what they played with, praise the picture that they made or anything special that they did in that time.
Benefits of Quiet time?
1.Increases focus and attention.
2 Helps to recharge an easily overstimulated brain in a toddler or preschooler.
5. Strengthens mood regulation and stress tolerance
6.Establishes baseline for screen time tolerability
7. Decreases overall stress, arguing and constant negotiating in the home
8.Allows a rest for Mama.
Emotional Processing: In the book Reset Your Child’s Brain by Victoria Dunckley, she says, “Dealing with constant input lowers the brain’s ability to work through emotions and make sense of what’s being learned”
If Kyra gets too overwhelmed at home, she sometimes asks for quite time. We have been able to dial down majority of the tantrums from her, and to be honest she was the worst kid on block, not anymore
This also comes in handy when I need to talk to another adult or have an important work. Being special needs, our lives are often spent more at doctor’s office, just giving her a verbal cue of ‘do quiet time for some time’ will signal her brain to be alone and not interrupt me. This comes in very handy.
I hope all these tips and tricks helps you all. Remember this is a change in a child’s routine and some tantrums are okay. Don’t give up easily. And lastly, you know your child best. If you think this is not going to work, feel free to change it however you like and make it work.
Happy Quiet time to you all!