We all know how tough it is to raise a toddler, but not many people realise how tough it is to BE a toddler. Toddlers lose all day long! They are weaker, slower, shorter, less verbal, and clumsier than almost everybody they know. That is why they love stomping in puddles (to make a big splash) and showing off their 'massive' muscles. It is also why they can be so darn stubborn, refusing to listen or to give in. 

They just want to win a few!

You cannot protect your child from all the defeats he will suffer while he is growing up. (And you would not want to. They build character.) But you can help your little one become more self-confident and resilient so he bounces back from disappointments more easily. 

Building Confidence: How to Show Toddlers You Believe in Them

The more your child knows you believe in him, the more he will believe in himself. Here are some easy ways to boost your toddler’s self-confidence. . . fast! 

Listen with Respect.

When you listen to your child with patience and respect, you send him the message that you really value him as a person.

Ask for Help: 'Can You Carry This for Daddy?'

Asking your toddler for help tells him, I know you can do it. He will beam with pride when he shows you how capable he is. For example, say, 'Honey, my hands are sooo full, can you please help Mummy and carry my purse?'

Offer Options: 'Which Ones Should We Get?'

There are so many decisions to make every day; let your child make a couple of them. One-year-olds are not great decision-makers. But by 2, your tot will love being asked to choose: 'Which flowers should we buy, the pink or the yellow?' Asking your child his opinion shows him that you think he is smart and you have confidence in his choices.

Two big rules about choices:

  • Do not offer too many options. Your toddler’s immature brain may get overloaded with too many choices. 'Do you want milk in the red cup, yellow cup, green cup, or purple cup?' Thirty-nine flavours of ice cream? Tilt! Tilt!
  • Never ask your child’s choice if you plan to disregard it. For example, do not ask him which flowers to get if you have already decided to buy the pink ones no matter what. 

Let Him Work It Out: 'You Can Do It!'

It may take your toddler five minutes to do something you can do in five seconds, but do not rush him! Put your hands in your pockets, zip your lips, take some slow, deep breaths, and encourage his efforts. ('Wow! You are really trying hard!' 'Good job, you’ve almost got it!') If you can refrain from hovering and jumping in, your patience and body language will give your little one the message I trust you to figure out even tough things. Let him work at it, even if he gets a little frustrated. Of course, offer some help if he is really getting upset. 

Play the Boob

The basic idea of 'playing the boob' is to make your child feel smart/strong/fast/etc. by making yourself seem, well, like a bit of a 'boob.' That might mean acting klutzy, confused, forgetful, or like a literal pushover (maybe you get 'blown down' with one of their huffs and puffs). See more tips about playing the boob here!

Why It Is So Important to Make Your Toddler Feel Triumphant 

This is one of the most important parenting concepts you will ever learn: If you fill your child with many little triumphs and successes throughout the day, he will automatically become more respectful and cooperative. Why? Because even primitive little toddlers understand the rule of fairness: After I win a bunch . . . you get a turn.

Think of it this way: Say you go to Las Vegas and win a million dollars. You feel great. Like a winner! Your pockets are bulging with cash. Then, on your way out, you pass a person begging. You might give him £100, maybe even £1,000. Why not? You won so much, you feel in a generous mood. It is no big deal to you. On the other hand, if you have lost your life savings, you may not even give the beggar a penny. Why? Because when you feel like you’ve got nothing, you have got nothing to give.

That is exactly how it is with your toddler. If your toddler feels like a loser all day long, he is much less likely to cooperate with you. But if you let him 'win' little victories all day long, he is much more likely to let you win a few little struggles (such as trying a tiny piece of broccoli). He will be thinking, You know what, Mum? I am such a winner today, I am gonna let you win this one.

More Toddler Tips:

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.