5 Things I Wish I’d Done Better Before They Became Toddlers

5 things before toddlers

When I became a mom for the first time, I was able to read all the books, ok…skim all the books and get a game plan in my head for how I wanted to tackle this little person I was going to raise.

When I had one child, I had a minute to breathe, think straight and follow through with discipline, set expectations, and all that good stuff.

Enter the twins.

We are full on into the three’s with our second and third child which is a double dose of trouble, fun, and love all wrapped up into one chaotic time period. Quite honestly, I thought I was a pretty decent parent until I started raising these two, and now, I question myself daily.

Let’s just say, there is a lot of what Tracy Hogg from the famed Baby Whisperer series calls, “Accidental Parenting” happening in our home and we are paying for it. So here are five things I wish I would have done differently prior to these little lovebugs becoming toddlers – because as they say – “set out as you mean to go” because whatever habits are established at a young age, well folks, they are pretty tough to break without an epic battle.

snaking toddler

Thing #1

Allowing Snacks to be Consumed Around the House You know those handy-dandy “snack-traps” that are supposed to hold everything inside the cup, outside of what the child wants to eat? Yeah, they figure that little contraption out and it became entertaining to spread the goods all over the floor, in the couch cushions, and um, our bed. Do what our friend’s do and have set locations within the home where food can be consumed. You’ll thank me later. 

bed time sippy cup
jennratonmort, Flickr

Thing #2

Having a Water Cup at Bedtime When the twins were little, I was just plain wiped out. So, I did what I wasn’t supposed to do, and gave them milk at bedtime. This made it possible for me to sneak out of their room with two happy campers. Stop judging – I can hear your gasp through the computer.

Then, we swapped that out for water when the teeth started to come in and the brushing of teeth wasn’t happening so thoroughly. Because we were “good parents” and stuff.


Well, now we’re potty training and this water cup habit means there will be no dry morning diapers for a while considering we can’t break the night time water. It also means we often deal with regular leakage. Let’s just say the pee smell, I’m so not a fan. Oh and that whole, no more purchasing those expensive diapers…yeah, we’re still doing that.

boy pouting

Thing #3

Giving into Whining I’m sure you can imagine what our home is like now that we have given in to whining regularly. In my sheer exhaustion I gave in all too frequently. So now, we don’t get words requesting things – we get a grunt or whiney plea.

I will say that we’ve amped up the use of our reply to these shenanigans by saying, “use your words love, what do you want? Mommy can’t understand unless you use your words.” And we’ve made great progress.

target kids

Thing #4

Popcorn at Target Who doesn’t love Target? Coffee, shopping, and well, popcorn for the kids too! This tradition of popcorn at Target started when my oldest was a toddler in an effort to get my shopping done in peace. You’d think I’d learn my lesson. Let’s just say it’s not pretty when the popcorn machine is broken. When you get a treat for them each time you go to the store so you can zip through your shopping list with a smidge of sanity in place, you are putting yourself in for a tantrum when that machine breaks or you have to wait until they pop more. So, make it a habit to just bring your own snack and never introduce them to the Target popcorn so you don’t have depend on the bullseye for your sanity – at least, not in that way. Fun scarves and coffee are still on the table.

mini van movies

Thing #5

Movies in the Car I had to give into the minivan some time ago. *sigh* And with that van came a handy-dandy DVD player that we all too eagerly played for our children. Oh, at first we said we would only do it on long trips. But, the twins and their broken-record-I-want-a-snack-someone-save-me-from-the-looney-bin antics drove me to putting in on more often. And now, “Mommy, push the button! Mommy, PUSH the button!” I’m not really sure what songs have made it on the Top 40 lately, but I do know that James Blunt has a great rendition of “Triangle” to his tune “You’re Beautiful” and I sing that pretty darn well. What would you have done differently with your kids?

{Related: 7 Signs You're the Mom of a Toddler}


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5 Things I Wish I’d Done Better Before They Became Toddlers

Nicole Hempeck is a mom, military spouse and full-time marketing manager. She spends her days working hard to raise three strong daughters and manage the many ups and downs of life as a military family while also working her marketing magic for amazing family brands. Occasionally, you can still find her writing at her little spaces in the online world – Moments That Define Life and Trending Parent. ... More

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  1. nichole says:

    i am trying to read this, but it comes up “page not found” when i try to go past the first page… 🙁

  2. Jessica Cann says:

    I would have come up with a better bedtime routine. We still have a hard time putting my daughter to sleep without screaming and tears the whole time. I rocked her to sleep when she was younger and would do anything to keep her soothed so she could sleep. What can I say she was my first. Now that I have another child I don’t have time for the rocking which I wanted to cut out anyway. My second child has out himself on a sleep routine and doesn’t liked to be rocked he just wants to be put in the bed with his paci so at least I won’t have issues with him once he becomes a toddler.

  3. Jennkomar7 says:

    Great to know especially since I just had twin girls!

  4. lyndsey says:

    these are good to know!

  5. Bob says:

    My apologies if this is a duplicate. I tried to post this earlier, but it apparently did not go through. I enjoyed the article, finding it helpful to learn that my wife and I are not alone in facing some of these issues with toddler twins. My only constructive comment is that the issue with popcorn at Target is much more serious than tantrums. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued strong warnings against feeding popcorn and several other foods to toddlers and infants, because of the choking hazard. They recommend strongly against ever giving popcorn to a child under the age of 4. It takes only a moment to choke, and within only minutes, the result can be permanent brain damage or death. Google it to see the statistics. Even though popcorn is not a leading cause of death or permanent disability for young children, it does send children to the ER regularly, and some do not come home. More important, this hazard is easily avoidable. That’s why every source follows the Academy’s lead in recommending against popcorn for toddlers. It’s also why they recommend cutting whole grapes in half before giving them to very young children, because like hot dog pieces, grapes are just the right size to lodge in a very young throat.


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