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Thursday, 22 December 2011

How to tame a toddler!

Here is a copy of my post over at Prek and K Sharing

Who am I?
I often get asked how I can deal with a room full of toddlers all day, and my response is, “With LOVE”!
I really enjoy toddlers – when they come to me they are still babies, some still on formula and in fact last year I had a little 16 month old boy who couldn’t even walk! Within a two week period I had him walking and interacting with the other children with great vigor. We are now ‘buddies’!

Success in the toddler room comes with a lot of hugs, sweat and tears, both theirs and mine! However we all pull through. J When the toddlers leave me they are little students ready to take on the world. That makes me very happy and proud!
Sometimes toddlers are extremely challenging, after all they are at the “it’s all about me stage of life”. Each child is vying for my attention for the entire time they are with me. I have learned to bounce four toddlers on my knee at one time. I can play cars with seven tots, all shooting cars down a ramp at me simultaneously.  I can also put multiple toddlers to sleep at the same time; I have learned to rub backs with my feet (kidding – maybe – LOL).
All kidding aside there are little tricks to the trade when dividing my undivided attention with 15 toddlers at the same time. First on a rainy day I can whip up a mean batch of play dough and provide a multitude of tools to manipulate this squishy, much loved concoction. [Editor's note: click here for a play-dough recipe.] This keeps at least 10 of them occupied while I colour with the remainder of ‘friends’. Funny thing is though when they are finished colouring, I am still sitting at the table completing my work of art.

Second, I have learned to provide a room full of very interesting activities, which get rotated and added to on a regular basis. There is no such thing as getting bored in my classroom. Garage sales are my friend! I can get inexpensive resources to ensure there are objects to explore, that have not been explored before. If I can’t find any I create my own. Topping that, I network with other Early Childhood Educators who not only inspire me, but they ensure that I am on my best game.

Alongside these points you have to ‘believe’ in the fact that at the toddler stage of life, their brains are like sponges, and toddlers must be given credit for being far more intelligent and capable than people give them.
That is all well and good but, what about the times when I have some behavioural issues in the classroom? Well I have developed a manner of selecting when the ‘quiet voice’ is used and when the ‘serious voice’ is used. How does that work? Let’s just say you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.  However I do admit the ‘grumpy voice’ has reared its ugly head from time to time. Hey I’m human! I have also realized that I will NEVER get Botox – facial expressions in a toddler room are gold! *smirk* :/
I could babble on with some other ‘stuff’ or jargon, but will it make sense to anyone but me?  I don’t want to bore you!
So what does all this come down to? What am I saying here? Well nothing really! LOL
I just resort back to my first point – LOVE! Just love them! If you truly love the children – love your job and love the experiences you have each and every day – you will be a toddler expert.

What does any child need? LOVE! They need to feel secure – they need to know they are cared for and that they have meaning in your life! The children light up my day – I feel joy when I see them come into the classroom. We have a connection. We ‘get each other’.


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