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Why saying 'yes' could be the key to disciplining your 2-year-old

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It isn't easy to be a 2-year-old, compelled to touch, taste, and possess nearly everything in the environment, even when it isn't safe, respectful, or healthy to do so. Their impulsive nature also makes delayed gratification very difficult.

Fortunately, as the adult, you can give them appropriate outlets while keeping them safe from danger. Your child needs you to empathize with their current moods, give clear boundaries, model appropriate behaviors and intervene in ways that foster their developing independence rather than preventing it.

Here's how to do just that:

1. Say "yes"

How often do you restrict your child's activities or behaviors because they are unreasonable, irritating or disruptive? If you're not sure, get a piece of paper and make a checkmark every time your response is "No." If the checkmarks seem excessive by the end of the day, you may want to evaluate how you can say "Yes" instead.

Many times, you may be able to provide a positive alternative by creating a new opportunity for action or redirecting to a different activity altogether.

For example, if your child grabs a fragile object and bangs it on the floor, instead of saying, "No," affirm your child's need for exercising the arm muscles, saying, "Banging is fun. Yes, you may bang. Let's find something that isn't breakable."

By saying "Yes" as often as possible, even to the things that are mildly irritating, our children will learn to trust that we are looking out for their best interests when we do set those limits.

2. Offer limited choices

Letting your child choose between two acceptable options can be an effective discipline technique. When you give them simple choices, such as whether to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt, you are empowering them to make decisions on their own.

Asking for someone's opinion is considerate and respectful. Just don't be surprised when they practice their decision-making skills by choosing their favorite, only to quickly reject it in favor of the other option.

However, having too much freedom will have the opposite effect, causing your child to feel stressed and insecure. If they are given an entire closet full of shirts to choose from, they may well toss them all out and play in them, unable to cognitively handle all of the complicated choices.

As much as they need to have some say in their life, they also need you to show that you are ultimately in control. This helps them to feel safe and protected as they explores decision-making and problem-solving. Do them a favor and pare down their options in advance.

3. Be consistent + follow through

Because they are learning social boundaries, it is your child's job to push to see if you will change your mind. They're not trying to manipulate you. They're really just trying to figure it all out.

Therefore, it is your job to make sure that when you establish a routine, you stick to it as much as possible. If they ask, and the answer is "No," there should be no waffling, whining or conceding. They need you to mean what you say and follow through with calm consistency.

Since no family will have the exact same routine or expectations for what is allowable, you will need to first decide what your limits are and also how you will enforce them. For example, if your general rule during mealtime is that food stays on the table, you will need to supervise your child closely during this time.

If your child tries to take the food elsewhere, it is your job to always respectfully intervene. You might respond with a simple choice by asking, "Do you want to eat some more or are you ready to wash your hands? When you stand up, that tells me you are finished. I will help you go wash your hands."

After your child makes the choice, you need to make sure you are not being pulled back into a game or battle of wills. Affirm that the choice has been made, acknowledge feelings, and stay true to your word.

4. Be playful + physical

Certainly there will be times when you need to have your serious "I mean business" face on when setting a limit, but remember that the more you bring joy into your parenting strategies, the more positive behaviors you will see. Toddlers need to feel your love and devotion through playful movement and physical affection.

There are so many fun ways to encourage compliance. When offering your child a piece of broccoli, why not sing a silly song about healthy vegetables? During a transition period where you need to get her peacefully from the playground to the car, why not play airplane one day and "fly" there instead of walking?

Is your little monkey jumping on the bed? Put a cushion or two on the floor and jump with them while chanting the rhyme. Facing a teeth-brushing battle? Perhaps they'd be happy to play along if you're brushing their "alligator teeth."

When all else fails, sometimes a romping chase around the house is just exactly the energetic emotional release that she needs. Give in to the temptation and embrace your silly side—even if just for a minute or two.

5. Remove your child from the situation

Toddlers may not be able to stop themselves from repeating an inappropriate behavior, even when redirected. Dangerous or hurtful behavior must be stopped immediately and prevented from happening again.

The best thing to do when you are in this situation may be to physically remove either the object from your child's view or your child from the situation entirely. Do not spend any extra time giving choices, wheedling or bargaining. Since a 2-year-old often will not willingly walk out of a tense situation, you will need to pick them up and carry them.

This technique is especially useful if you are in a public area, such as a grocery store, and your child is on the verge of a tantrum. Instead of handling the issue in front of an audience, you both might feel more comfortable addressing your emotions in a neutral zone, away from the place of conflict.

You can also use this technique on yourself. If you are feeling angry or out of control, and your child is already in a safe space under the supervision of another adult, you may find that removing yourself from the situation is helpful.

Note that removal should never be used to isolate or punish a child for misbehavior. What you are doing here is taking a break together so that you can resolve the problem and emotionally reconnect. Instead of giving your child a "time-out," which breeds resentful feelings and is rather meaningless to him, you are creating a safe place to work through the issue.

If your child has a tantrum after removal, he may be confused afterward about what happened. Make sure to acknowledge his feelings and express your love for him. When you are both calm and ready, you can go back and try again or you might suggest a different activity altogether.

Excerpt from Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage: Effective Strategies to Tame Tantrums, Overcome Challenges, and Help Your Child Grow, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2018 by Aubrey Hargis.

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."

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We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"

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The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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