Toddler 1 vs. Toddler 2: Raising Different Kids

toddlersI love my kids. Don’t get me wrong, we have our crazy days, but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I have three small children: ages 4, 2, and 7 months. But let me tell you one thing. My two toddlers are as different as night and day.

Sometimes when you have small children together you assume you can raise them the same and relate to them in many of the same ways. I have learned recently that this is not the case. Sometimes you are just raising different kids, and that’s important to remember. Here are some areas to focus on when raising two different toddlers.

Discipline
My 4-year-old daughter has always been a little feisty. I remember her being 13 months old and hitting me in the church parking lot while I was buckling her into her new, mom-approved car seat. I was mortified. Time-outs haven’t always worked for her. We’ve tried different things. Spankings were a big fail with her and not something we do regularly at all. But, I’ve done it in the past. The most effective way to get to her is to take a toy away or give her a consequence for her actions.

My son, who is two, is a sensitive little guy. If I even look at him angrily or raise my voice in the slightest way, he is in tears sobbing in his room. I’ve discovered just isolating him from the issue works best. Sometimes he goes to his room to calm down or sits in time-out, depending on how upset he is. But other times discipline with him is easy, and a firm look and a talk about what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed does the job. Kids are different and respond to discipline in different ways. What works for one kid doesn’t always work for the other. Parents need to use different discipline strategies, and remember that we all make mistakes.

Interests
My daughter has always loved to be active. Sports are something she has started getting into lately. We’ve tried ballet, soccer, and lately, t-ball. She wants to try everything and isn’t afraid to run off from mom and dad and give it her best shot. My son is much more timid. He would prefer to play with mom and dad right there. He doesn’t really care to play sports or run around. He is just as happy playing in his room or reading a new book with us. Get to know your kids and discover how to show them love through their love language. What interests one child may not interest the next. So you may not get multiple uses out of a t-ball helmet? That’s okay.

Personalities
My kids have very different personalities. This is something I’ve grown to be thankful for. While my daughter is just like mommy, my son echoes a calmer demeanor like my husband. Parenting experts suggest there are three toddler personality types: easy or happy, spirited, and shy. I think we definitely have the spirited and shy children in my home. Just like adults, kids are going to be different from each other. I look forward to seeing how my baby girl develops, too. 

I’m learning as a mom of three that it’s not going to be the same adventure with each of my children, and this is something I am okay with. Bring on the tantrums, but make sure to also bring on the smiles and snuggles. Remember to praise your children for who they are. Celebrate their uniqueness.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Arkansas where she love her kids for who they are and can’t wait to see who they become.

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