Thank you, Daniel Tiger.
When I first started this parenting journey I never imagined a cartoon tiger would be one of my greatest mentors. If you don't have a toddler you may not be familiar with Daniel Tiger, but if you grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s then you probably know Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I used to love Mr. Rogers as a child. My sister and I would watch all the time. Well, around the time Liam was a year old Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a sort of spin-off from Mr. Rogers, started playing on PBS. We loved it from the start.
Each episode centers around a certain lesson and there is always a little musical phrase to help reinforce what the kids are learning. This is a great little system because Liam always remembers the songs and I can use them in my everyday parenting as well. Today we saw an episode in which Daniel Tiger has to learn that when it's time to stop playing he shouldn't throw a tantrum. The little song said, "It's almost time to stop so choose one more thing to do, that was fun but now it's done." Well, later in the day we were playing with puzzles in Liam's room and I told him it was almost time for nap. He said, "okay," and then sang the little song. He then chose one more puzzle to work on and when he finished he happily climbed into his bed for nap. What?!
I remember when we potty trained Liam we used to sing the potty song from Daniel Tiger, "If you have to go potty, stop, and go right away." There was even a time when I had to take Liam to the doctor for vaccines. This kid was so excited to go to the doctor just like Daniel Tiger goes to the doctor. When it was time to get his shot he sat up and rolled up his sleeve like it was nothing. There have been so many instances (trying new foods, behaving at restaurants, having fun with a babysitter while mom and dad go out...) in which Daniel Tiger has been helpful to us and all I can say is - THANK YOU!
I have even learned how to handle certain stressful situations with a little more patience like good ol' Mama Tiger and Papa Tiger. Granted, it's a tv show and real life is sometimes messier than in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, but it's nice to be reminded that a little bit of patience can go a long way.
Have you had any good influences in your parenting from a surprising source?