This month our PreSchool Parents Book Club has a Self Help guide on the reading list.
I was a sceptic and have most certainly not been converted.
But after I got over being irritated by the shallow, simple, self-obsessed thinking it projected, I couldn’t help thinking my tantrum-throwing toddler might still be able to gain something from such basic principles.
So here is my Self Help guide for toddlers. If only they could be bothered to pay attention…
Just Say Yes!
“No”, might be your favourite word, but have you ever tried running around, stomping your feet and shouting, “Yes”, just to see how that feels?
Saying, “Yes”, to something and then finding you actually quite enjoy it doesn’t make you any less independent.
There is a reason that when you’re happy and you know it you nod your head – it makes you feel even more happy.
Accept The Things You Cannot Control
There are some things in the world that you have no power over.
Gravity will make that tower fall over eventually. Once that bread stick breaks in half it cannot be put back together again. If you chose to wear the red shoes they will not turn blue after you have left the house, no matter how hard you cry. You can’t put a square peg in a round hole.
The day you learn to accept there are just certain things that neither you, nor your parents, can change, life will become a whole lot easier.
Be Open To Other Options
You can’t know for sure that you don’t like something until you’ve tried it.
So the swings are already taken, give the slide a go instead. There are no bananas left in the house. Eat some grapes. You can’t wear the duck jumper because it’s in the wash, but you have got that smart new fox jumper. You can’t go outside this close to bedtime, but Daddy is offering to read you a story.
Before you start to lie on the floor wailing and kicking your legs, just consider the alternative. You might be surprised to find you like it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Admit You’re Wrong
We can’t all be right, all of the time. Not even Mummy.
Admitting you are wrong can be a very freeing experience, and save everyone a lot of pain.
Say, “Sorry”, to the little boy you just pushed away from the slide, he might let you play with his ball.
Just carrying on with that behaviour means you’ll have to go home and you’ll all have a miserable rest of the afternoon. Except the little boy, who now has the park all to himself.
Learning to do things on your own is freeing.
Others may be trying to hold you back when it comes to skills you have just mastered. Like walking, for example.
But just because Mummy can’t bear to read The Tiger That Came To Tea for the tenth time in a row, doesn’t mean you can’t read it yourself.
Accepting Help Is Okay Too
Letting someone give you a helping hand does not make you a failure.
If you are struggling to get the fork to your mouth without all the food falling off and Daddy is offering to do it for you – let him.
If you can’t get the box open and Mummy says she is willing to give it a go, don’t throw it across the room – place it in her hands.
Try taking help when it is offered. The end result can be much more beneficial.
It’s Not A Mistake, It’s An Opportunity
Don’t get angry when something goes wrong, stop and think what you can learn from the experience.
That puzzle piece doesn’t go there. If you throw the whole thing in the floor you won’t be able to find out where it does go.
Pushing the cup over means the water spills all over your sandwich and you have no food and no drink. Don’t do that again.
Giving Holds Its Own Rewards
Thinking of others can make life better for you too.
Give Mummy a hug when you head butt her in the nose. She might be more open to playing with you.
Let Mummy finish her cup of tea or her conversation. She’ll be in a better mood when it comes to reading that extra story at bedtime.
Let It Go
Princess Elsa doesn’t just have great hair and magical powers, she has a really good point.
Life is too short to waste having a tantrum over things that have already happened.
Just stop, take a deep breath, and let it goooooooooo!