Favorites for Toddlers
Toddlers. Everything is new and exciting for them. Every child comes with their own personality and sense of adventure. Some may be ready to take on the world head on while others are happy to see it all firmly attached to mom’s leg with one eye peeping out. I firmly believe that raising kids is as much about developing the character of the parents as it is about developing the character of the child. Keep in mind, parents, you’ve been at this “life” thing a lot longer than your child has, so be patient with them. You’ll both make lots of mistakes, but being willing to grow from those mistakes is what makes all the difference. I’m a mom of 5 so this isn’t my first rodeo. Here are some of my tried and true resources for getting thru and thriving in those toddler years.
- Words are limited when you’re a toddler. We found that Sign Language can help ease the frustration and give your child the tools to effectively communicate their needs. We started at about 6 months of age using the sign for “Milk” when they wanted to nurse. We then incorporated “Eat”, “All Done”, More”, “Please”, and “Thank You”. There are printables all over Pinterest to help you get started. I didn’t find out about the videos from Signing Time until our 4th child, but you can usually find them at your local library. Ours were a hot commodity at our library so we eventually started streaming them from our Amazon account. I’m not sure there are many things more fun than tickling your child and having them sign “more” when you stop.
- Teething. You can’t escape it. Depending on your child, you’ll battle this anywhere from 4 months thru 5 years! With my oldest 2, we resorted to Tylenol (I no longer recommend this route.) And eventually found Hyland’s Teething Tablets. While those miracles in a bottle are no longer available, our other favorite has been Amber Teething necklaces. These aren’t for chewing on as some would assume. Amber is a resin from trees that contains Succinic Acid, a natural analgesic that is absorbed into the skin when worn. We noticed a reduction in drool and I my last 3 children were much more mild teethers than my first 2. From what I’ve learned, you want to find a raw amber necklace that has individually knotted beads. Here’s where we’ve gotten ours most often. When my oldest daughter wore braces recently, she wore an amber necklace. Even after having her braces tightened, she didn’t need any pain relief or numbing cream.
- Sleep & Food. If your child is cranky these are the 2 most likely culprits. I learned early on that behavior is closely tied to these 2 necessities. So, head off bad behavior by making sure your child has enough rest. Toddlers ages 1-2 years old need between 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Little bodies are growing so fast. When we sleep our bodies grow and mend. I know when I’m tired, I have a hard time controlling my emotions. Keep that in mind when your little one is cranky. With all the new things a child is learning every day, it’s important to give them time to rest to process it all. There have been many times my kids may have missed out on a playdate that fell right around nap time. I know that if I had attended a play date at the usual nap time, everyone would have been miserable. Save yourself, your child and others around you the frustration by hitting the grocery store or running errands when your child is refreshed and not when they are near the melt down zone. Kids need fuel. We keep apples and bananas on the counter so that they can grab a healthy snack whenever they need one. Ever been “hangry”. They say that most arguments in marriages happen when people are hungry. So if you find your child melting down mid-morning or mid-afternoon, it’s quite likely they just need a little snack to help bring out the happy again.
- Consistency. Let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no” be “no”. Do NOT give in to whining and fits. Make a decision and stick with it. If you tell your child they can not have a toy when you go to the store, for goodness sake, DO NOT buy them a toy when they start to beg or whine in the store. I know it’s not pleasant to hear your kid cry for the toy as you walk thru the aisle feeling eyes of all the other customers peering at you. Trust me. If you give in, you will have just taught your child that all they need to do to get their way is to whine. Sure, giving in is easy in the moment, but we’re in a marathon here, people. Parenting is for the long haul. In the same way, when you tell your child yes, be sure to follow thru with those promises. Don’t make empty threats and don’t break your promises. One of my pet peeves is when a child is melting down and a parent tells them “if you don’t quit, or if you do that again, we are leaving.” The child continues crying or repeats the offending action and the same threat is made 15 more times with no follow thru. Clearly, the parent had no intention of leaving and the child has learned that words mean nothing. It only takes a few times of following thru with your words for your child to know you mean what you say. It’s character building for both of you and will serve you well in the long run.
Thanks for stopping by. How have you found these things to help in your family? I’d love to hear from you.