Picking Your Battles With Toddlers

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I have to admit having twin toddlers is a whole other ball game than when I was parenting my older son at this age, who until age ten was an only child. There is a 10 1/2 year age gap between him and my twin, almost 3 year old boys. It is quite a different experience, all their personalities are so different but the picking of battles remains the same, just a little more high-speed with twins.

Everything is on fast-forward with toddlers and even more so with multiple children, and I don't necessarily mean twins or triplets, just more than one child. Getting up, getting dressed, eating meals, taking naps, getting ready for outings - the list goes on. One goes one way and the other goes another way; one needs this, the other needs that. And in between all the routine parenting tasks of each day, I find myself saying "no," somewhere around 500 times a day...at least. "No" to getting into the refrigerator and pulling out the eggs (yes, they break when you throw them, every time). "No" to climbing onto the counters and getting a jar of molasses out (why do they always find the messiest thing to get into?!). "No" to trying to flush bath towels down the toilet (how about trying to go potty on the toilet?).

Then there are those times when I am saying "no" and I think is it really worth the battle? Well, no, it isn't. Toddlers are constantly exploring, experimenting and navigating the world around them with a new gusto of new skills they learn everyday. This is such a great and fast-paced time of learning and exerting independence, and saying "no" all the time to everything really just discourages this important part of developing into an independent adult. Of course we love to see our child independently pick up a book to look at, or pull on their own pants, but there are those other times that the way they figure things out isn't necessarily building obvious skills but it is allowing them to be themselves, which is absolutely a wonderful skill to develop.

Here are a couple of examples of recent battles I found myself in and decided, okay, who cares if they put their snack in and eat it out of the potty they have never used once? At least they are using the potty for something!

This bottom photo is of my son Milo, who in a rush to leave the house, insisted on wearing my older sons shoe. We were already running late and I was spending precious moments trying to get the shoe away from him, and then I thought, who cares? He was so happy and proud to be wearing his big brothers shoe, why take the the moment along with the shoe away from him? I am trying to curb my "no" reaction before I actually say the word, so they will listen to me when I do say no, rather than me relenting or feeling like I have to "follow through" with something I should have never battled with to begin with. Of course climbing counters, running out into the street, biting each other - these are automatic no's, but when I see them eating out of their potty chair laughing and giggling together, I have to stop and think, is it clean? Yes. Are they in danger? No. Are they having fun? Yes. So, instead of saying no, I go get my camera and take a picture.


  1. Wow!! So sweet and cute post. Loved it. Ur kids are sooo sweet. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thank god I am not the only one :). I love this post. i totally relate. I have an 8 and a 4 yr old , both boys. At times i find myself nodding to the things they ask for and then catches myself and ask them " what did you ask me again?" Parenting is such a touch role. You get annoyed, angry frustrated and then they do something so awesome even something little that makes you soooo proud of them that outweighs everything else. Glad to have read your blog.

    " i "

  3. welcome! oh, yes, i know the "nodding" too! that gets me in trouble ; )


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