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Calm cooperation: How to respond when your toddler challenges you

Most toddlers go through periods where they’re trying out new behaviors. They are both testing your reaction and learning about the world around them. Our instinct as parents is to tell them “no” and to stop the behavior immediately, either because we think it’s wrong or other people think it’s wrong and we’re embarrassed in public.


The more you tell a kid that their behavior is wrong, the more they want to do it. After all, they’re getting a reaction from you.

To change the behavior, connect with your child and shift the ‘bad’ behavior into a fun and silly behavior.

1. Screaming

If your child likes to scream loudly and this is bothersome to you because you’re in a public place or because it simply hurts your ears, teach your child to scream with no sound. Together, open your mouths really wide as if you are screaming, but teach him or her to be silent. Silent screams are silly to kids and you can do this together.

2. Hitting parents or siblings

If your child goes through a hitting phase as many kids do, you can suggest that instead of hitting, your child tickles you in the chin. And when they do, you let out a huge laugh! Toddlers will find this hilarious and it is a redirection from hitting and a way for you to connect instead of reprimanding them.

3. Not listening

If your child isn’t listening to something you’re asking him or her, don’t yell to get their attention or grab whatever is occupying them. Instead, say something silly like, “Are your ears clogged? Are there cotton balls in your ears?” and go check in their ears.

4. Siblings fighting

It’s inevitable that siblings will fight with each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to pull out the mean mom act every time. Sometimes kids deserve a chance to stop, rewind and re-do.

Have a discussion about what other choices can be made. Allow your kids to try again and make different decisions. It’s important to teach kids that people make mistakes and you can apologize and make a new decision. Maybe next time they’ll think about the behavior in advance and hold back from doing it.

5. Throwing

Babies and toddlers love to throw. They are thrilled by watching items go up and then down or fly across the room. The trouble starts when the thrown item is food, which ends up staining your floor, or something heavy or sharp, which can be dangerous. Set aside time to throw together. Throw pillows on the floor or throw pretend food into baskets.

6. Tantrums

If your child asks for something and is denied, it’s likely that tears, whining and tantrums will follow. Before this tornado of emotions happens, use rhymes or silly nonsensical statements to grab your child’s attention and engage them in something silly. Redirect your child away from what he or she was upset about by using a mixture of language development and silliness.

7. Impatience

Whenever my child appears to be lacking patience, I start singing. If you’re waiting in line at a store and the whining starts, get your kid to sing a song with you. If you’re feeding your baby and your toddler wants some attention, start singing a song he knows and loves. Singing is soothing for both child and parent and puts everyone in a better mood.

8. The morning struggle

Getting ready and off to school in the morning is a battle for most parents. The key to getting your child out the door is to make it fun. Make it a race between siblings or challenge your kid that he can’t get his shoes on and tied before you are done singing the alphabet.

9. The dreaded “Why, why, why?”

Once your kid gets to the age where every statement of yours is followed by, “why?” you’ll wish you never knew the word. You can keep answering the question, but your kid will most likely keep saying, “why.”

Instead, say “I wonder…” Ask your child what they think and give them the confidence to come up with an answer. Regardless of whether their answer is right or wrong, it will begin a conversation between the two of you.



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Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.


This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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