Q: Why at the end of the day is my toddler so fussy? She misbehaves just when I am tired from a full day of activities.
A: At the end of the day we are all tired. Being tired can make you cranky and not happy, which can lead to bad behavior. Have you ever heard about putting toddlers in "time out" when they misbehave?
The term "time out" indicates that the toddler needs time away from what is causing either bad behavior or chaos for those around her.
During this time out the theory is that the child will calm down, reorganize her thoughts and behaviors and be ready to be a willing participant in the family again.
Usually the time out is spent in either a corner or in a special time out chair. It can also be spent in a separate room, such as the child's bedroom.
Many people use timers with a loud tick-tock sound so that the child has to listen to it. Timers are good because the child knows it will eventually ring and they can rejoin the family.
Well, I want to share with you that I think mothers need time out time, too. We need time away from the chaos and bad behavior of our children.
We need to have a special chair where we can sit and know that we will not be disturbed, or a room where we can close the door and experience peace.
I think more parents should consider taking time in their own time out chair. It should be a chair well within the child's vision so that you can see her.
She should be told you will not speak to her while you are sitting in that chair. Just as when she is in her "time out" place she is supposed to be quiet, you will be too. Set the timer and if she continues to misbehave and yell, as long as she is not hurting herself or anyone else, just sit and be quiet.
Definitely set the timer. She knows about being quiet in the chair and that the timer will go off eventually. At first she may be shocked and just look at you. But she will understand the concept.
Of course if she is throwing things and acting aggressive, then she needs a safe place where the door will be closed so that she doesn't hurt anyone else. She just might fall asleep or get interested in a book within minutes. Either way she will get the message: bad behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
Wouldn't you just love to be able to go into your special room, close the door and experience peace? Why do toddlers get to do it and not their mothers? If your husband is home and she is being bad, tell your husband and child, you need time out in your room and you will be back when the timer goes off.
At the end of day everyone is tired: yourself, your toddler, everyone. I think that is why "happy hour" is usually around 5 p.m. We all need a happy hour. I am not suggesting that you take a drink. I am suggesting that if we had more happy hours we wouldn't need time outs.
Katie Powers, R.N., is a board-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital's Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other week in Healthy Living. Contact her at email@example.com.