Nancy is pretty much your average toddler. (Although, yes, in my eyes, she's not average at all!) But as toddlers go, she's a typical one. Loves playing all day, hates a lot of vegetables and demands a treat after eating said vegetables. That's how we roll in our house.
Some might frown upon it but it works for us. I think it was something I resorted to one day when she wouldn't eat her soup at lunch. "You get some chocolate if you eat your soup!" And so, a habit was created.
She also gets a hot chocolate nearly everyday. Either after her breakfast or before bed. Although if she forgets to ask, I don't remind her! I ain't a super mum, a mother of five or someone who thinks that the same works for every family. But over the past two and a half years, there's three things that I've learned that seem to be key to this little girl's happiness. I can't stand parenting blogs and forums that exude unrealistic expectations and ultimately make you feel like a bad parent. So this is my, not so strict advice and tips for raising a happy and healthy toddler.
Diet. Moderation. I let her have treats like chocolate and ice cream everyday but I also make sure she's been muncing on an apple and there were some sneaky carrots in her potato mash! Toddlers are picky so my theory is compromise. And cross my fingers that she'll enjoy fruit and veg as much as I do when she gets older.
Play. Being outdoors is good for everyone. If I've been cooped up inside all day, I often feel anxious. And I think when it comes to toddlers, it's pretty clear that they're much happier when they get a few hours outdoors, weather permitting. That's why winter kinda sucks when you have young children!
Chats. It's not always a conscious decision but I will nearly always find myself in a deep and meaningful with Nancy everyday. Obviously, due to her vocabulary, it ain't that deep and meaningful but it probably is to her I suppose. Sometimes I notice if there's lots of housework to do or I'm spending too much time on my phone (hey, hands up, we're all guilty!) that she gets in a bad mood. And why not? She can't just say, "Ok mum, you seem busy, I'm off to hang with my friends!" So little or big chats throughout the day remind her that I love her, she's important and I enjoy her company.
If all else fails, buy a bouncy castle and an endless supply of ice-cream! Jokes. Kinda...