Our son Wyatt turns 2 today!
As he takes strides out of toddler phase and into becoming a big boy I have some thoughts I want to share, thoughts that hopefully inspire you in your parenting journey!
The first thing is that the transition to becoming a big kid is a big deal! Whether you start making changes in your children’s life around a milestone birthday or a random day of the week doesn’t really matter. What matters is the message we are handing to them through the power of our words and actions.
For example, we decided that Wyatt was old enough for a “Big Kid Bed” meaning he would no longer sleep in his crib, but a twin bed with a real comforter and a regular size pillow. He got promoted! But with this promotion comes with it a Big responsibility. Every night we remind our son that he is a big boy in a big boy bed and that his responsibility is to stay in bed and sleep. We don’t slack on the lecturing of why this is important and how we are building trust with him. Just because he was promoted doesn’t mean he has the freedom to roam about the house after we have tucked him in. In case you are wondering, he is doing great with this responsibility. And in the morning he comes out of his room wide-eyed, smiling from ear to ear, shouting “MAKE!” letting us know he is now awake.
I’m sharing this with you to give you an idea of a practical way we show this message we give to our growing boy. Other ways include making him clean up after himself when he is done eating, sitting still for family bible time in his own kid camping chair, and inviting him to do school work with the big kids during art time.
I am also sharing this with you because we believe it is important to give children responsibility, yes even at two. It is important to take the time to explain how they are growing up, what they get promoted to, and what is required of them. Would you agree that too often children are thought to not be able to understand big concepts or be trusted with responsibilities?
How else will they mature unless we are willing to go there, even if it takes them some time to catch what we are saying or asking of them?
So I want to encourage you to go there with your children. Be patient and understand how they will best receive this message, but please don’t neglect to go there on the basis of them just being too little. Give them responsibility and see how they respond! Encourage it in them!
I also have a thought about my son turning two, and something my husband and I have said since the beginning of our parenting journey. We don’t ever refer to our two year old, or that season of our life as parents, as “Terrible Two’s.” We never liked that phrase very much! If we let ourselves say those words we are not only saying that our children are terrible based on their behavior, which makes me cringe, but we would be negatively addressing that season of our lives as a family as terrible. Yes this season can be difficult, it requires constant training and correction as we guide our child(ren) who is growing and hitting huge developmental changes, but its not terrible.
We also didn’t want to get in a habit of letting poor behavior slide just because they are two and using a phrase like “Oh its just those terrible twos” to distract us from the important work we do as parents.
Now two year olds do have some BIG emotions there is no question there. And those BIG emotions can be a cause or motivation for their actions, but that doesn’t make them terrible, it means they are in need of parents who will lovingly come alongside them to teach them how to manage those emotions and behaviors. Its not easy or convenient…but it is fruitful!
The BIG question is….
How can we teach our children how to operate with self-control over our emotions if we ourselves do not choose to operate with self-control when our big emotions flare up?
Being mature ourselves plays a huge role in how we set an example for our children. And being intentional of the words we say helps us change the way we think of our children and the different seasons we experience as we lead them.
I hope this encourages you and gives you some things to think about with your kids! If you don’t have kids or they are grown, send this to someone who you know will benefit from it!
Happy Birthday Wyatt! You are one awesome BIG boy!