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Distract & Redirect: The key to managing toddlers!

Distract and redirect

Distract and redirectWith toddlers (children under 3), Distract and Redirect is one of the most powerful parenting tools you can use!

Children at this young age are often interested in doing things that they can’t really do appropriately.  Ie. They want to touch baby sister, but even when you show them 3 times how to do so gently, they might still slam their hand down over baby’s face.  Taking time to teach the appropriate skill is important (ie. “Here is how we can touch sister gently…” – and show them and guide their hand to do it gently).  However, some children at this age might not have the muscle control or self-control to be able to follow through appropriately.  There is so much still developing in their little neurons that they may not fully understand the speed and location of their touching sister is not the same as when mom demonstrated.  In this case, after a few tries, it is totally okay to distract the child and redirect them to another activity that they can do appropriately.  This might mean redirecting to a toy, an activity, or a different way to interact with sister: “Hey, could you bring over that toy for sister?”  All are effective ways to use distract & redirect with a toddler.  It’s also the perfect alternative for using “No” too often.  Instead of “no”, you can just focus on distracting and redirecting the child to what they CAN do.  I will write some more on this soon because it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

Read more about this great parenting tool: Distraction & Redirection here.  And check out the great Positive Discipline Books that are available to help you learn and use similar tools. Cheers to your happy toddler parenting!

An awesome, easy & inexpensive Birthday present for a 2 year-old party

Birthday present for 2 year-old

Birthday present for 2 year-old If you are like me, you are starting to get invitations to Birthday parties for kids as young as 1 or 2. A trend in this neck of the woods is that most parents write “no gifts. Just come enjoy!” on the invitation. Boy did I mess that one up the first time around. I got to the party and apparently everyone but me knew they should still bring a gift. whoops!
In talking with friends, I think most parents write “no gifts” because their living rooms and play rooms are already bursting at the seams with gifts from family members. So, they are really trying to say, “Please don’t get me something that I am going to start storing on my kitching table because that’s the only place left with space!”
So, now I come prepared with what I think is a good compromise. I bring a batch of home-made bubbles and play dough, with the recipe included. Parents seem to love this. It’s useful and something every child will enjoy…and yet, it can also be thrown away guilt free when they are done playing with it. Completely sustainable!:-) Here is the bubble and play dough recipe that I love (below). They come from my post on activities to do with a 1-year old, so I think they could make a great gift for any 1, 2, or even 3-year old. Hope you enjoy! Would love to hear if you have a favorite gift to buy/make for friends’ children.

BEST HOMEMADE BUBBLES RECIPE (http://artfulparent.com/2014/04/how-to-make-homemade-bubbles.html)


  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap


  1. Whisk the sugar into the warm water until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the dish soap and whisk to combine.
  3. Blow bubbles with your new bubble solution!

Best Homemade Playdough Recipe (http://welovebeingmoms.blogspot.com/2013/05/10-homemade-play-dough-recipes.html)


1 C Flour

1 C Water

1/4 C Salt

1 T Vegetable Oil

2 t Cream of Tarter

Food Coloring (4 drops)

Sauce Pan and Wooden Spoon

Directions (Cook all ingredients over stove)

1- Pour all ingredients (order does not matter) into sauce pan.

2- Stir until everything is mixed well.

3- Once the mixture is mostly clump free heat over medium heat.

4- Stir and keep stirring, after a few minutes it will start to clump up.

5- Stir until one big clump is formed and remove from heat.

6- Knead by hand


Update on Potty Training


potty Training.failSo…… we tried to start potty training.  I had been convinced by others that 20 months was too early (and the summer schedule was so busy, there wasn’t a convenient time anyway). But now Chunky Monkey is 23 months and I have started to see so many other children around me (around age 2), who were starting to use the potty.  So, I thought, “I must not be too crazy to think about trying”. Right?

Well…..like everything else with our son, it has not been a text book experience.  With tummy time, crawling, walking, eating…and now peeing/pooping – it seems my son doesn’t ever fit the mold of what has worked for so many others.  Countless moms and dads have told me that if you try a 3-day sort of Potty boot camp, the child will figure it out.  Well, I’m here to say that on day 4….my child is nowhere close to figuring it out.

We have had minor successes, so I’m not giving up completely.  But I am frustrated that the well-meaning promises from experienced parents who said, “It will totally work!” have not come to fruition in this household.  And believe me – we tried so many things that Pinterest promised me would work! We used a star chart, prizes, candy (which he never gets), a “potty party” for him and his dog, an Elmo potty video…and the list goes on. We celebrated every fake time his dog took a poop or pee in the potty (using a small snickers as fake poo was fun!), and did countless celebratory dances when he got even a drop of pee in the potty. Really all we could get was for him to stand on the seat of the potty with pee dripping out of his underwear that he insisted he keep on. And yes – we celebrated. I’m exhausted! This has felt like the longest 4 days of my life.  

All I can say is that it seems like this child is really teaching me a lot about how to let go of my expectations and be willing to be patient with his unique process of adjusting or learning new things. Today I found an awesome video on toilet learning from the Montessori perspective.  I’m past their 18 month suggested time frame, but I did appreciate the reminder that children will learn in their own time, and that it is a process.  Even if they are just doing part of the process, it is a step in the right direction.:-)


Montessori Monday: Toilet Training

when to start toilet training

So….I’m interested in starting toilet training for our 20-month old.

I have been reading “Montessori From the Start” throughout Chunky Monkey’s first 2 years,
and embraced most of the ideas.  Unfortunately, I became a floor bed drop-out though, and I’m nervous that early toilet training could end up being another “floor bed idea” (as my husband says).

I just started getting a gut sense that our little man was ready to use the potty recently.  Well, maybe this influenced me a bit (ha!):

potty video

So I started doing some research.  Montessori theories often recommend toilet training around 15-18 months of age, instead of the typical Western age of 2-3 years old.  What is a mom to do?  I think I am going to follow my instincts and at least give it a try.  I bought him some big boy underwear and plan to go with a method that blends ideas from “Montessori from the Start” and ideas about non-coercive potty training from Godiaperfree.com.

Those of you who have done it before, I would LOVE your input.  Otherwise, I’ll let you know how it goes soon enough.:-)

Author: FLORA

I am a post-career SAHM (Stay-at-home mom), living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little ones.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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