Babies are the sweetest. Once they start walking and talking though, parenting takes a slightly different turn. Sure, they’re more fun and their personalities develop. But with that comes defiance and the strength to hit, bite, and throw things (including very loud tantrums). Don’t worry; it’s not all bad. We all go through it, and we all make it on the other side. All it takes is, “just a little patience” (kudos if you get that reference). Bad jokes aside, here are a few tips on how you can make the most of your patience so you and your kiddo make the best of the toddler years.

1. Take more walks. This works in a few ways. Walking daily means you’re getting plenty of vitamin D (important!) and also getting exercise (so you’ll feel better overall, meaning better mood and more patience). And taking a walk (even if it’s just a short one to the next room for a moment) means that you’ll have a moment to truly assess whether what your child is doing is normal kid behavior or if it’s getting actually out of hand.

2. Commit to yoga and then teach it to your child. One of our favorite tricks these days is asking the kiddos to join us for yoga whenever they’re being a bit unruly. Sometimes all it takes is a few deep breaths to get them (and us!) to chill out. Other times, doing a longer practice can really help to calm everyone in the process. Yoga is so great for everyone’s stress management.

3. Avoid giving your little one sugary snacks. We’re not about to shame folks for giving their kid a cookie or a lollipop once in awhile, but it’s always best to limit the heck out of these simply because you’ll be paying for it later. More than a couple of sweets means most preschoolers will be bouncing off the walls, and our patience will wither away to nothing in a matter of minutes. Less sugar is good for *everyone* involved.

4. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. If you have a rough time sleeping, it’s a guarantee you’ll feel awful and have zero patience the next morning. And the thing is, that’s not your kid’s fault, so why should they pay for it? Same thing goes if our kids don’t get enough sleep. They’ll be way wilder and crankier the following day, which results in our having very little patience. But again, also not the kid’s fault. As long as we make sure to get plenty of rest, we’ll all feel refreshed come morning.

5. Stick to an easy routine. Most kids seriously thrive when it comes to sticking to a routine. When we know more or less what to expect throughout the day, it causes less friction. Without routine, meal times and naps might get shifted (or skipped altogether). There are few to no fights prior to nap when they know that there’s a story beforehand and a snack to be had afterward.

6. Get into meditation. Most young children aren’t great at sitting quietly with their eyes closed. That’s totally fine. But we find that doing just a little bit of meditation first thing in the morning can truly set the tone for the rest of the day. Even just five minutes goes a long way. Set a positive intention and then get on with your day.

7. Use timers. In order to avoid arguments with your child, consider using a timer to indicate the start or end of an activity. Like many adults, kids aren’t always great with ceasing a fun activity. But when you tell a child there’s 10 minutes on the clock and they can visualize the time, they somehow just do better about not throwing a fit once time is up.

Share your tips and tricks for improving your patience @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)