2 ways I made my toddlers behavior change
Like many moms who have two under two or kids close in age I decided to get a little relief from stressful atmosphere by introducing my children to technology. When my oldest was young she watched cartoons while she played with toys. This was not a big deal although many moms shamed me over and over again. Fact was she liked it, and she was occupied enough for me to drink my coffee. So why not everyone get a little slice of happiness in a stressful time.
Then it became a routine. In the morning when she woke up she would get an episode of a cartoon while I drink my coffee and she drink her juice. It actually was great! We had finally set into something that made us both happy and that helped us function without wanting to beat each other up LOL!
Where it began…
Everything was fine and dandy until my oldest daughter Evy was 10 months old and I found out I was pregnant for our second child.
She was a grand surprise no doubt about it but when I was pregnant you can only imagine (if you have not experienced it) how exhausted I was.
When you are pregnant you have to limit your coffee and all of your energy is just purely drained out because you are growing another human being. It’s a very magical experience and there is nothing else like it. But the exhaustion is real!
I found myself snoozing on accident on the couch while “drinking” my coffee in the morning. I would nod off while cooking breakfast. Heck, I didn’t even feel safe driving!
Pregnancy is different for everybody but for me in particular there is one word I could use to describe it. Exhausted. The exhaustion was endless for me. And it never let up. But anyways that’s a story for another time!
What ended up happening is I started using technology as a way to occupy my toddler so I could get just a little bit of sitting time. I shamefully let a lot of things slip while I was pregnant for my second. It’s not like I would let her watch hours and hours of TV, but I started making less healthy foods and letting her watch the iPad a little bit more And I sat on my phone more often..
Here was the mistake.
Doesn’t sound so bad right? Wrong. I didn’t keep it in check because lack of energy. And like a normal kid when I would go to take the iPad away she would get really mad. But instead of taking it away from her and asserting my parental power on her… I just let her have it.
Do you know that feeling when you are at your wits end so you just let your kids run around naked around the house all day and I just like whatever? That is exactly how I felt the whole time I was pregnant! Nine months of it guys.
So when my new bundle of joy was born I also faced a similar issue. I would try to put my newborn down for a nap and my toddler wanted a part of it. Which is so so so sweet but at the same time it is counterproductive especially when she was only 18 months old. So what would I do to keep her away and not screaming?
I gave her the iPad.
She began to expect it when she knew it was time to put Cecilia down for a nap. It was the only thing I could do and know for SURE she would be on the couch and occupied and she wouldn’t be getting into mischief or waking the baby up.
Looking back I wish I would have done things so differently, because here’s the problem that was created.
She began to act out at me and my husband. Heck, even at her grandparents! She would get sent to time out constantly for things my Evelyn would NEVER normally do. I thought it was ‘terrible twos’ and all that stuff that comes along with getting a new sibling and trying to express her self. And that might be a part of it! But where I noticed it most showed was
- When she had the iPad
- When we (hubs and I) were on our phones
It took me a few months to realize there was a pattern. I had to make a change because it was getting out of hand. Once I regained my strength I started to take back my responsible and healthy role as a parent and teacher. So we started getting back into our routine, or at least I was trying.
I tried… and everything snapped. Hours of crying because she wasn’t getting her way. This was ridiculous! I finally put my foot down and set rules. Rules that were made to be followed and if you didn’t like it too bad.
What I had to do
1.No more Ipad
She could still have her morning cartoons when she woke up and after nap but other than that it’s playing with toys and engaging time. We can watch TV as a family But as far as hiding in the corner sitting on the iPad streaming YouTube kids, it is a no go.
2.No more cell phones in front of the children
I also noticed that her acting out had increased when my husband or myself were on our cell phones.
Through multiple blog posts and experiences I realized that this was her trying to get our attention. It should be a given right? Well it’s not.
We didn’t even realize it would be such a big deal or realize she wanted our attention. But she definitely did and she needed it. She needed more attention and it makes me very sad to think that I was neglecting her in someway. If one of us has to go on our phones we are to leave the room and browse.
I noticed within the first few days she suddenly had a better attitude. She started listening more. She began respecting her adult figures. And the tantrums dissolved almost completely, aside from the normal toddler stuff. She became more interested in toys and outdoor activities.
She had more energy in the Good way and started eating healthier foods that I would offer her. Taking her vitamins (affiliate link) was easy! Then very shortly after that began potty training by her choice!
We still have TV time together as a family on the weekends and it’s very relaxed here. Don’t take that as I have super strict rules because we definitely are free styling parents! LOL
One thing is for sure and that is setting limits and eliminating most technology helped us. I hope I don’t get a bunch of bad feedback about how I had decided to occupy my time when I was in one of the roughest parts of my life. We all make mistakes and we never know how things turn out.
We all are just trying to survive this thing called life LOL also I just want to mention again, it’s not like she spent hours and hours and hours on the iPad but it was enough to affect her. Still to this day if somehow she sneaks the iPad it is a complete disaster to get her off of it.
I do genuinely believe that her love for the iPad was also driven by the amount of time my husband and I were on our phones. This is my experience and luckily I caught it early enough and we got over our little slump. If you have any questions about anything regarding this, I am all ears! I would love to answer questions or hear your experience.
I’m telling you this because maybe you have noticed some changes in them that you are unsure of the reasoning to. Maybe you are debating letting them watch more? I just wanted to share my little slice of experience in this matter for any moms that are searching for behavior explanations the way I was.
What has been your experience? HMU in the comments 🙂