Raise Healthy and Happy Teens By Doing These Things With Your Toddler Now

Photo by amy warner on Flickr.com

 

It’s hard to imagine your sweet and defiant little boy will someday turn into a not-so-sweet and defiant teenager – but they will. 

It’s often said in conversation, “I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are older.”

The truth is you have already begun the process of raising your future teenager – so let’s learn how to steer them in the right direction. 

Does your toddler sit nicely reading a book with you one moment and then starts raging with the blocks the next?

Mood swings are one of the many things toddlers and teenagers have in common.

But unlike toddlers who run to you when their world gets too chaotic, teenagers have a tendency to shut you out. 

Let them know now you are their mother who loves them unconditionally.

Katie Arnold-Ratliff writing for Scary Mommy shares:

It’s crucial to the dynamic you’ll share in your child’s teen years that they know what they can expect from you well before then.”

Be a good listener to your toddler by hearing their side of the story, even if you know they snuck the chocolate chip cookie by all the crumbs on their face and shirt. 

It’s obvious your toddler is mad when they throw a toy train at your head, but let them try to tell you in their own words how they feel – and then validate their feelings!

“I hear that your mad by what you are telling me, and being mad is ok. Lets stomp it out in the yard while your train sits in timeout for the day because we don’t hurt people when we are upset.”

Not only did your child learn there is a consequence for their actions but he or she learned you are a listening ear that doesn’t judge them for their feelings.

Having a good relationship is not the only important thing for a happy home – a daily shower helps too!

Begin healthy hygiene habits in the toddler years to promote habits you want your teens to keep.

Brush your toddlers teeth every morning and every night – while teaching them how to do it on their own.

Educate your toddler on how to properly bathe themselves in the tub with a washcloth so they don’t think sitting in water for 15 minutes is going to keep body odor at bay as a teenager. 

Hygiene shows respect for your body but it must be complimented with a healthy mind.

Make mental health a priority in the home for your toddler, yourself, and your future teenager. 

Pew Research estimates that 13% of teenagers suffer from depression, so begin incorporating coping skills into daily life early on. 

Help your child name their emotions and how it makes their body feel, as well as identifying what caused them to fell that way. 

Explore ways to help them overcome their negative emotions and remind them how they were able to work through it the next time they are upset. 

“The last time you were frustrated when your block tower kept falling, reading a book together on the couch helped you feel calm.”

And when your child succeeds at independent play – let them be!

It is so important to let children learn to be happy playing alone. 

Parents want to entertain their children with games, outings, television, and screen time, but it interferes with their ability to explore things they love. 

We don’t want a teenager who constantly needs the company of others and is unable to be content on their own, so don’t treat your toddler that way. 

With all this said, don’t worry too much about your little cuddle monster growing up too quick. 

Enjoy the sweet moments only available in this precious phase of life when everything is still new and exciting – and you’re still the coolest person in the world to them.

Just be mindful of the opportunities to set your babes up for success in their future development.

 

Comments are closed.