Wednesday, August 19, 2015

30 more things that every parent should know about their TODDLER:

I have realized that I no longer say I have a child, I find stating the fact that I have a toddler a lot more accurate and gratifying. It really is because toddlers deserve a category of their own, much like teenagers, and toddlerhood is often called the first adolescence.

However, through this journey of sleeplessness, joy and mania, I have found a few pearls of wisdom that help me navigate toddler behavior. Below are some more tips and tricks on toddlerhood.

For Those who missed the first part to this post, click here to read 31 things every parent should know about their toddler.

30 More Things that Every Parent Should Know About their TODDLER:

Toddler Behavior :

(For more on toddler behavior, click here to see my previous post)

1. If you believe that imitation is the best form of flattery, you're in luck. Toddlers imitate, a lot. Not only is it a sign of affection but it's a sign that we have to watch everything we do because sooner or later your little one is going to do it too!

2. One of the reasons kids delay talking is when they have everything handed to them on a platter and do not feel the need to talk. Why bother when we understand their gestures so well? If you believe your baby falls in this category, the next time they point to something, try telling them that you do not understand what they want. Eventually, you can name the object and give it to them. However, do tell them that you do not understand to encourage them to use the vocabulary they are amassing!

3. You will wake up one day to your baby chattering non-stop, and asking questions about everything. Eventually taking you to the point where you will reminisce about the days of gestures and sounds and no speech. So try and be in the moment, no matter how old your little one is. It's just a matter of time.

4. Not only do toddler's love to control what they do, wear or eat - they also like to control it for you. While I put on my sunblock and make my hair in the mornings, my son opens my shoe closet and picks out my shoes. And yes, I have stepped out wearing orange shoes to work and his school, because if these little things make him happy (and more compliant), then it's okay to roll with it. (Though I have drawn the line at wearing mismatched shoes!)
Sometimes the box is as fun as the toy
5. Toddler baths are a whole different ball game from baby baths. Say bye, bye to the baby tub once your toddler is no longer sitting down and get prepared to get at least little wet at bath time. Your baby will be more comfortable  and safe with you standing in the tub or in the shower (note: running water is still not safe so if you use a shower area like I do, try and use a mug and bucket, along with no-slip mats and keep one hand on your baby at all times.)

6. Hairwashing is torture. For you though, more than them. Because of the screams and the head shaking, the struggle to keep the soap out of their eyes and even running away inside the shower. Whether or not the shampoo says no more tears the process is more likely to bring tears. So save it for the end of bath time, and then proceed as quickly as possible. Don't bother with the caps and visors because your child will probably not want to keep those on either. Also, once in two/ three days is adequate unless your baby is rolling around in mud.

7. I recently had a successful hair washing session: a rare gem! We put on the music (shower speakers) and danced inside the shower, and then I used my baby's hands in his scalp to teach him to rub his hair. The more you involve your little one the less likely they are to resist.

8. My toddler gets two baths a day. Because he loves the water and because he sleeps better when he has bathed at night (and I sleep better when I get to bathe him in the morning). It is not the most practical thing though so feel free to suit yourself and do it when is most convenient to you and your baby.

9. Yes - bath books, toys, balls, stickers, alphabets, they all help!
Storytime with dad

10. Toddler climbing - home made obstacle courses may help your baby get some of his urges out and also tire him or her a little..However, vigilance is key, as they will still want to climb up on the couch, chair, closet, and ofcourse - on you!

11. Are you down to one nap yet? Unfortunately, that will happen. But you can move your baby's bedtime a little earlier or expect them to sleep in a tad bit longer in the morning, when it does. This usually happens around 16 to 18 months, but if your tot has always hated to sleep like mine, you may be fortunate enough to receive this gift (repeat: shocking gift) sooner.

12. Potty training is supposedly easier and quicker for girls than boys. While most literature tells you to wait until your daughter is close to two (and even later for your sons), there are things you can do to start preparing even around 1. When your baby goes to the bathroom (in their diaper), use the word poo and make a hand action (preferably one that is not obscene). Do this consistently and you can eventually ask them to do it when they poop. Or ask them if they have done (hand action), and you will reach a point where they mirror the action or respond to you.

13. Closer to 18 months, your child is likely to be more responsive about whether they have to go to the bathroom or not, and may even show you the hand action. Do not force them to sit naked and wait but if they indicate they need to go to the bathroom (usually done first for poop than pee), put them on a baby pot and sit with them and wait, talk, encourage... and cheer! when the deed is done.
This is the only age when you can go to the toystore, play, and not have to buy anything.. (cause they still cant ask)

14. If your child has not gotten toilet trained by the time they are closer to 2, then you can start keeping them bottomless (for boys, girls need protection as they are prone to urinary infections), after they wake up and after meals, and periodically place them on the pot to see if they need to go. (Note, baby pots are better than the toilet seat inserts as the squatting position helps get things moving....)

15. Yes, one year olds refuse food. Even their old staples. Try not to be too quick to offer a yummier alternative, unless you are prepared to keep a back-up option at every meal. Instead, involve them in the process. Tell them what they are going to be eating, show them how it's going to be made, and show them how much you love eating it too.
Instrument time.. 

16. If they are still refusing their meal and you have to offer an alternative. Let them off the high chair for a few minutes and then back on with the new meal (so that the new meal is not positive reinforcement for the dismissed one).

17. If they still do not eat, which does happen.. do not panic, your child will not go hungry for long, it is okay if they miss a meal or two. However, if you are really worried, fruit smoothies can help keep them fuller for longer.

18. Did you expect your tot to put themselves to sleep? A lucky few moms will see their kids do this, however, most of us may still have to engage in some kind of ritual after the sleep routine. However, try not to walk your kids to sleep as they are likely to be heavy now, if it's a cuddle, or a book, or some music, or they need you to sit with them, and you do not mind it, then do it and don't stress about it. However, kids do tend to wake up and wonder where their bed time accompaniment went (and if it's you that can be a problem). So make sure that whatever you do, you put them down in bed when they are sleepy but not passed out. So that they do not get a shock when they wake up in a crib and mommy or daddy is nowhere to be seen.

19. Somethings your child will learn (and want) to do all on their own around this age - feed themselves with cutlery, undress themselves, brush their own teeth (it's okay to let them but at least before bed make sure you go in and brush them yourself a second time), bathe themselves (let them hold the mug and rub their own hands and body, you can always help), and choose their own books and toys.. Let them! It will be easier to control the things you have to (like bedtime).
Proceed with caution: a heavy mess my occur

20. Appropriate toddler toys (that will help develop major and fine motor skills) - stacking things (cups/ boxes/ rings etc), blocks, baby lego and things they can join and undo (duplo etc), puzzles, pouring cups, cars/ wind up toys, balls (yes, for girls too), dolls (yes, for boys too! to encourage their nurturing tendencies), stickers, slate/chalk, crayons/paint and paper, puppets, shape sorters, clay, musical instruments and household items. (note: while using our cellphones may be another kind of skill, it does not make the list!)

21. Music and books are always appropriate, but limit screen time as much as you can, even if it is something you think is educational, they learn more with their hands and from books and from YOU than they ever could from a screen.


22. It is definitely not easy to keep coming up with new things for your child to do everyday. Fortunately, kids love repetition. The same songs, the same books, and even toys and activities. So as much as it may bore you, don't worry about it boring them.

23. It is not easy to keep saying no, and eventually your child will keep saying no to you if they hear that too much. So try offering alternatives when you do not like what your little one is up to.
Household items galore..

Just for you, Exhausted moms: 

24. They say the first two years are the hardest, and for those planning a second one in the next year or two, like me.. well, the next two will probably be harder, but try and relish the simple pleasures. Your baby is showing you in many ways how much he or she loves and needs you, (even if it is only in the tantrums they reserve for you and noone else.)

25. There is nothing more priceless than an unsolicited toddler kiss. 

26.  Try not to feel too guilty about closing the door (on your supervised tot ofcuorse) if you can and getting in a nap or 15 minutes of reading time or just staring at the ceiling if that is what you need to do. It's important to keep your calm. 

27. We worry, it's just what we do. However, our kids feed off our stress so try and be positive and ask for help when you need it. 
Clay time: I came home with pink pants.

28. Your biggest support is other moms (sorry, no matter how great your husband is he has not been through what you have) so try to find friends with kids in a similar age bracket, you will be amazed at how wonderful it is to have that kind of support. 

29. As exhausted as I get everyday between working and being home for my baby as much as I can, and then trying to fit in the gym.. it's important to keep activities reserved that are just for the two of you. Even if it's bedtime. You may hate that you're the only one who your baby wants to fall asleep with, but on some level it's also gratifying to have your little one cuddled up in your arms and knowing that they love having you there. 

30. Take a minute and pat yourself on the back (or reward yourself with a glass - ok fine,a bottle - of wine..), you deserve it. 

Anything for those smiles..

I will be back soon with a post on traveling with your toddler.
More to come!
- TKV





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