Raising a toddler can be tiring and at times, frustrating. But it’s also a very special stage in your life and your child’s. It’s important to make the most of the years between babyhood and starting school and keeping some of these tips in mind will help ease the journey.
Toddlers like to keep busy
Toddlers constantly explore to make sense of the world around them. This doesn’t make it easy for parents though…turn your back for one second and your child could be into something they shouldn’t be.
What can I do?
Keep your toddler busy with toys, games, walks, visits to the park and library and play dates with other toddlers. Toddlers love hands-on activities too such as finger painting, playing with blocks, or even filling little containers with water helps them to improve their hand-eye coordination while introducing them to new sensations and experiences. Remember that playtime isn’t just fun but is also an extremely important part of your toddler’s intellectual, emotional and physical development.
Plan multiple activities for every play session
Every toddler is different, but in general their attention spans range from about 20 minutes to one hour. It’s therefore a good idea to line up a number of activities for your toddler so that they can look forward to something new when their concentration runs out. It also makes it easier for parents… no more scrambling for ideas when the first activity loses its shine! Visit Hands On As We Grow for activities you can do with your toddler to stimulate their hand-eye coordination, language development and other important skills.
Learning to walk
Learning to walk opens up a whole new world to toddlers and once the developmental skill of walking appears – which varies widely from child to child – an intense desire to master it comes. As a result, your toddler will likely start walking constantly which can give them access to all sorts of new and interesting things.
It’s important to encourage your toddler to explore their world by foot by allowing them to walk in front of you. You’ll be able to keep a close eye on them and they’ll have a sense of independence while knowing that you’re close by. Safety is a big consideration at the toddler stage and you can find excellent information on safety for children inside and outside of the home by visiting NHS Choices.
The development of language skills makes it easier for parents to understand what their toddler wants and needs. While baby words can be hugely entertaining, there will be times when parents feel frustrated because they’ve missed their toddler’s meaning. Learning to speak includes trying out all sorts of new sounds: screeching, yelling and babbling are all important steps for toddlers learning to use language. When a toddler learns the word ‘no’ parents might find it challenging
Tips to consider
- Don’t worry if your child isn’t speaking at the same level as other children their age. Toddlers develop language skills at their own pace and in their own time.
- Encourage your toddler to learn new words by reading to them regularly; speak to your local librarian for suggestions on age-appropriate books.
- Encourage your toddler to mimic everyday sounds to build on their new language skills (a cat purring, a dog barking, a running bath).
- Introduce your child to age-appropriate music; it often includes new sounds designed to stimulate the development of language.
Enjoy these years!
The toddler years are a very special and fulfilling time. While they can be a major challenge, you’ll feel more prepared for each stage if you know what to expect. Visit Baby Centre for a useful guide that details every stage of your toddler’s development – month by month.