I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, and she was inspired by Anne Lamott.
The premise is to consider yourself as a toddler in the third person, and provide the same level of care to yourself, as you would a toddler!
If you’re a parent, you KNOW how important it is to make sure that a toddler has his/her basic needs met: sleep, food, routine, not too much stimuli, etc.
We may be able to handle situations better as adults (we don’t throw all-out tantrums on the floor of the supermarket) but we are guilty of snapping unnecessarily at loved ones, overeating, staying up too late on social media and making bad choices because no one is telling us not to!
There’s a level of comfort to being cared for as a toddler, and it puts some things into perspective. We wouldn’t take a toddler on errands all day without proper snacks, breaks, and naps, would we? Of course, as an adult, we’re able to go without naps most days, but I love the elements of planning as well as care that are intertwined in this concept.
“Stacy needs her coffee before she can deal with the day”.
“I’m sorry, but we need to leave now because Stacy needs her 7-8 hours of sleep”
“Stacy needs to get her workouts in so that she can mentally deal with life”.
Let’s consider this as it relates to food: when we think of ourselves as toddlers in the third person, it also takes some judgment away from our choices. Some of the reasons we often overeat are: boredom, fatigue and overwhelm. If your toddler acts out because of these reasons, we don’t immediately go to unhelpful and judgmental places such as: “you should be ashamed of yourself!” or “you’re so undisciplined” or “you’re a terrible little person”! We simply consider that the actions are resulting from something that the toddler is feeling or experiencing, and we go to work to adjust their environment or experience. Similarly, if they are bored and need stimuli, we offer them a toy or a game and not food.
So the next time that you feel tired, cranky, irritated, hungry, or any other negative emotion, remember that your inner toddler might need some attention. A fresh diaper, J some sleep, less stimuli, and a snack can usually solve a lot of our problems ;)