Tuesday, April 16, 2013


From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

No! The first word of most toddlers. Why? You know why, because we say it to them all the time. So here are some toddler TIPS - how to avoid saying "NO!" so much...
  • Paaaatieeence - have a mantra, happy place, focal point, whatever. Know that these kids are not trying to make you crazy. Take that deep breath (or 5) and give them a time out so you can deal with the horrible mess they made. I sometimes cry over spilt milk, but try not to in their presence. I tell myself, "It was an accident. It was an accident. But I just cleaned the floor! It was an accident." And when they go to bed, have a glass of wine and read your book or watch your show.
  • Lower your expectations - they're little. Their attention spans, bladders, retention skills, muscles, fuses, etc - are all small! This is the safest time of their life to assume innocence until proven (easily proven I might add) guilty. 
  • Raise expectations as they grow - You can tell what they can and can't handle. Make sure you give them the right amount of pushing out of the nest so they will fly. Trust your gut.
  • Remove temptation - I say again, little kids are like puppies, curious and persistent and destructive! If they want something, they will try their hardest to get it. 
  • Don't be afraid of messes - this is the time for making messes - and it's fun to watch. Need some time to make dinner? Stick little Suzi in her high chair with a bib and a mat on the floor and giver her some edible art - pudding, jello, whip cream, etc. Of course, she might need a bath - Hey, Daddy... Other messy things little ones love - bubbles, sandboxes, chalk, finger paints, water painting (for water painting, dip brush in water and paint on construction paper. Outside, my boys loved water painting rocks, sidewalks, bricks, wood, etc)
  • Terrible Twos AND Threes! potty training, ugh! Don't force, but again give little encouraging pushes. It's a delicate balance. ** More attitude, "Me do!" This is where "Pick your battles" originates ** Preschool Blues - Drop them off, let them cry, they will get over it (or you will get a call) and when you pick them up, they realize you didn't abandon them. It gets easier each time.
  • Pacifiers and Big Kid Beds - hard times. More crying. And crying. Mom crying too! But once it's over, it's so worth the result of them being able to get themselves to sleep - they need to be able to comfort themselves.
  • Door knob covers - one of my favorite kid proof gadgets. We also installed high locks on the doors going outside - I've seen too many wandering youngin's! They are smart!
  • Motivators - reward chart, earn stickers or points and when goal is reached, prize! And prizes can be as simple as playtime with you or a trip to the park, not always monetary.
Bonus N TIP - Don't be afraid to say, "No!" to adults either. Know your limits and don't stretch yourself too thin.

That should be the last of the kid/family posts, I know you might be getting tired of them... but when you get them, they consume your life!

Editing Tips
brought to you by Curiosity Quills

Nearly - weak. Either you do or you don't. Don't bother with nearly.
Numbers - here's the drill
    • 0-100 spell out
    • >100 use the number unless it is followed by thousand, million, etc.
    • wattage: 60-watt bulb
    • spell out fractions and height and age, ex. six-foot-one
    • use numerals for addresses, dates, room numbers, measurements
    • write out decades and centuries
    • 9-1-1 is always 9-1-1
commonly confused "N" words:

nauseous (makes you sick) / nauseated (feel sick)
nosy NOT nosey
night vision (n) / night-vision (adj)
Find more A to Z posts here.


Sheila Siler said...

Though my kids are out of the toddler years, (20, 16, 13) - I find these tips are still good in a modified form! Good job identifying these tips. #madlabminions #atozchallenge

Fida Islaih said...

Thanks for reminding us to say no, I'm glad you didn't say no to posting this. Thanks for the word tips, too! (:

M.J. Fifield said...

My sixth grade teacher told us to always spell out numbers under 100, and it stuck with me. I later imposed it upon my own students.

Nick Wilford said...

You sound like an excellent mum with your head screwed on right. These are great tips!

Heather M. Gardner said...

It's ok. I'm all done. No need for more tips! :)

One and done!

Great post, Tara!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Most adult don't know how to say no. Then they complain about it when all they had to do was say no in the first place.

Jackie said...

Messy time is the best time! Their creativity comes to life and they love seeing us get messy, too.

Dana said...

I have to learn to let my kids be messy. I just hate the clean-up!

Great tips again—perfect for my 3- and 6-year-olds. Thanks!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Lots of great tips. :) I have no problem with messy, just ask my husband. ;)

Mark Means said...

Awesome tips (as usual) and the bonus is something my wife needs help with...she can never tell anyone 'No' (her and her sister have their own business and let people get away with waaaay too much).

I'll have to show her this post :)

Rena said...

Especially keep patience around toddlers when there are computers involved. My little one was playing in the sand box on a sunny day outside and I brought my laptop thinking I could get some work done. She poured a cup of sand into my keyboard.

Then she followed it up with a cup of water (because it's mouth was dry).

Good times.

(p.s. that computer caught on fire, I wonder why...)

LDFerris said...

Love, love, love! All these tips are great and as a mom of a 4, 6, and nearly 9-year old I can attest that they are still completely valid and relevant! LOL - though from what I'm hearing I should expect that patience is going to be the key to getting me through all stages of their lives... :-)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Love your toddler tips. I decorated my living room with kid friendly stuff. People thought I was insane, but hey, I got tired of saying no all the time and it was their house too, they wanted to explore it!

M said...

It's true that we've found age three to be just as difficult (sometimes more so) than two. Four seems to be the turning point. Thank goodness my youngest is 3.5!


michelle said...

You always have such great tips Tara!
There's something for everybody... bloggers, writers, housewives, parents...

Writer In Transit

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I feel like I am now prepared to be the best parent in the world. :)

Samantha May said...

Taking notes for my future young'ins. It'll be a long, long time before that happens though :D

I don't think I was very upset when my parents dropped me off at school. I was pretty ready to get my education on!

Writing Through College

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I used to walk into homes with kids and see toys everywhere and wonder how they could stand it. And then we got two cats and more cat toys than a hundred cat toys need. And yes, those toys are all over the house. Now I know.

Rob-bear said...

A Nu thought, saying "No"? I had lots of practice with that when our children were growing up. Now, I still use it a bit with our grandchildren. (Yeah, the Bear's going soft in old age.)

You're being very creative with the Greek alphabet. But C for Theta? That one's still a bit puzzling. And just so you know, I'm waiting to see what you will do with Xi (or zee).

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Carrie-Anne said...

The 17-year-old co-counselor I had in the nursery bunk the second half of camp last summer could've used most of your tips! She had no patience with these little 3-4-year-old kids, and was constantly taking a harsh voice with them (and me, her elder by 15 years), calling them brats and wild animals, getting bent out of shape by normal child behavior, you name it. She was a very poor fit as a nursery counselor.

Christine Rains said...

These are great tips. I'm heading into the tormenting threes. One more year and it's the fantastic fours, right?!

Carol Kilgore said...

The words like 'night vision' that are either one word or two, yet hyphenated as an adjective, make me bonkers. My editor is awesome and most likely thinks I'm such a bonehead because I usually get them all wrong - LOL.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

The number tips was really informative.

millvallison: mary allison tierney said...

Don't be afraid of messes - no kidding!

Elise Fallson said...

Such great advice. I'm lucky my kids never went through a pacifier stage, I've heard it can be tough to wean kids off those. Another huge relief is when they are finally out of diapers.