Teaching Your Toddler to be Gentle
From the moment that I found out that we were expecting our second little babe so quickly after giving birth to our first… My mind raced with a pretty long list of “What-Ifs.” What if I don’t have enough energy for Reef? Or I can’t breastfeed him until at least 6 months? What if they don’t bond or Reef gets too jealous!! What if Reef and I lose our bond because I am too preoccupied with the baby?! They were dozens of fears!! But for some reason, I just hadn’t really thought past the initial double baby stage, to the toddler baby stage. And that is where we are now! We have a 9-month-old and a 22-month-old. And while they are still so similar in so many ways, they are SO different in so many more.
Of course, most of my fears were completely unwarranted. I managed to nurse Reef for 6 months. He got all the love and attention I had to offer, and he is still as much my baby boy today, as he was the day he was born!!
Jealousy, however, was a little bit more of a hurdle in the beginning, and while it seemed to taper off for a while… now that Reef is expressing himself more and more, and loves the word mine, things are starting to get a little bit heated between the two babes!
Now don’t get me wrong, Reef intentionally hurting Roxy is not something that I am really worried about! For the most part, he is really incredibly sweet with her!
It is the unintentional injuries that make me a bit nervous.
Because, let’s face it, he is still less than two years old and sometimes he just doesn’t know his own strength or the consequences of his actions.
So the other day, I sat down and thought. I thought about how I could help him to really understand what it means to be gentle and how it could be applied practically to our everyday lives. And my mind went to everyday staples in our home that are gentle. One of the first things I thought of were Kleenex! And I came up with a great way to teach your toddler how to be gentle using America’s softest tissue!
- Get him more familiar with Kleenex on his own. Since I usually handle the tissues for them, I wanted to give him, and Roxy, a chance to play around a little bit. Both with the box and with the Kleenex themselves. I let him pull the Kleenex out of the box. This took a couple of tries. But the goal here was to teach him to pull the Kleenex out without ripping it. This was to help him understand the power behind his actions and teach him how to better control his strength.
- Next, I had him rub the Kleenex against his own face to practice “being gentle”. He did a really great job with this portion, because of course regulating strength on yourself is much easier than on others! But it is a great practice point and an important step! After that, I let him practice wiping my face and nose with the Kleenex. We did that for awhile and made it into a bit of a game. Lastly, I let him “wipe Roxy’s nose”. After he consistently rubbed my face with the Kleenex in a gentle manner I was really confident that he would be nice and gentle with Roxy as well. (Of course, you never can tell haha. So I was at the ready to prevent any accidental hits and wasn’t able to catch any pictures.) But he did a really great job and we didn’t have any issues!! I am going to continue to do this with him a few times a week and keep stressing the need to be gentle with his baby sister. But all in all, it was a really productive exercise!
If you want to try this method out with your own little ones you can pick up some Kleenex for yourself very easily at Walmart! We like to get the Ultra Soft (4) Count Bundle Pack! That way we can have a box in every room!
Check it out here!
And as always, we would love to hear from you! Do you guys have any other tips on helping your toddler learn to be gentle? Let us know in the comments below!