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6 ways to keep your cool when your tot is all fired up

#1. Find your mellow mama mantra.

6 ways to keep your
cool when your tot is all fired up

Growing up, my mom would tell me, “You don't always have to


like your family…but you do have to

love them." I hear this mantra echo in my mind throughout the day.

You see, I have a two-year-old.

It's like he woke up on his second birthday and said, “Cool,

guess I'll be terrible now."

I love my darling boy more than words could express. And

truth be told, he's probably one of the tamer little boys on the playground.

But sometimes…I would rather lock myself in the dishwasher and hit Pots and Pans than listen to another one of his tyrannical two-year-old tirades.

So what do I do when my little guy starts to

grate on my last nerve?

As a developmental psychologist and mama, I have a few go-to moves for diffusing my frustrations when life on the home front heats up.


Here are six techniques to try:

Find your mellow mama mantra.

What

words could you say to yourself (in your head or out loud) to keep you grounded

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when your emotions start to bubble up?

I

know you just need love.

You are only two years old.

I have to be the grown up

in this situation.

I am trying really hard right now.

Take your pick. Whatever it takes to put

things in perspective.

Repeating a short and simple mantra will also give you a

second to step back and calm down before continuing. And saying your mantra is

much better than saying whatever else might pop out at that challenging moment.

Breathe in and out.

This

week, my son took it upon himself to empty all of my limited edition body wash

down the shower drain. Thanks. I was

smelling just a little too nice these days, anyway, kid.

After getting

angry, what did I immediately do? Googled “My toddler makes me so mad," of

course.

I stumbled upon an amazing article with the following advice.

Take this momentary pause

as a chance to ask yourself two questions. Do

I really want to let my toddler get the best of me and my emotions? Who is the

adult here?

Take a walk in your tot's tiny shoes.

Remember

how much bigger and more intimidating everything used to seem to us when we were little?

When you lose your temper with your tot, you might look in the mirror and see a stressed, tired, and frenzied mom. But when your child sees you, they may very well see a fire-breathing dragon staring them down.

You are your child's everything at this age. Their source of food, comfort, support, and

shelter. If you are outwardly angry with your child, even the best attempts at disciplining,

lecturing, or reasoning with them may be eclipsed by their fears of losing

these basic needs.

Make a hand-off.

If

a family member, friend, or your partner is around, pass off your cantankerous

tot for a few minutes.

Leave the room and take a short break. Use this time to

chill out (watch a funny video or scroll through Facebook if you need to). Once you are

in a calmer state, you can re-join the “fun."

If you are flying solo, you can

still leave the room if your child is okay to be alone for a moment.

If you

think your child needs supervision, you can still take a physical step back.

Move to the other side of the room for some personal space. You will feel

better and won't be tempted to reach out in anger.

If you feel the need to discipline

your child, you can (and probably should) wait until you have taken a break to

calm down before deciding what to dole out. The suspense will be punishment

enough for older toddlers, anyway.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!

Sometimes,

you just have to fake it 'til you make it.

If you are feeling particularly annoyed or upset, force yourself to smile. It turns out, facial features can help reinforce our emotions, so even a fake smile can make us feel truly happier.

If it helps, think of your go-to happy song and sing it

loud for all to hear! Bonus: Singing

can also diffuse your tot's Grouch-o Marx routine.

Be proactive.

If

you have noticed a negative pattern developing between you and your tot lately

(e.g., your child throws a tantrum and then you reciprocate), start the day off on the

right foot.

Make it a habit to monitor your tone throughout the day. If you notice yourself being loud, barking orders, or yelling, it's time for a change.

It may

take a few days, but with a little practice, you will begin noticing your

demeanor without even trying.


The most important thing to remember the next time your tot tries to get your goat?

Even if you are the most even-keeled person, toddlers can take your emotions to places they have never been before.

If you freak out once in a while, it doesn't make you the worst mom in the world.

It just means you need to take a step back and reassess how you can improve your ability to regulate your emotions. Wallow in your self-guilt for just a minute and then take the necessary steps to develop a more positive connection with your child.

You've got this, mama.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

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Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

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This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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