Let Your Toddler Help

Aha! Parenting and diaper changing. Here are some skills to learn for now. Most will work…sometimes. You will learn to improvise.

Aha! Parenting and diaper changing.

Is your little person bouncing off the table and twisting and turning? No toddler wants to be swooped up, then disrobed when she is busy playing with her toys. Here are some skills to learn for now. Most will work… sometimes. You will learn to improvise.

Often just slowing down and connecting changes everything.

Get on your child’s level. Make your request an invitation. Let her walk to the changing area and remind her she is all wet. Ask her if she can take her own diaper off. Let her have a toy to distract her. Tell her you are going to clean her all up nice and fresh. Have her participate in the change. Use this time to chat and not see it as something ‘yucky.’ She will hopefully respond in a positive way.

LOL

If you want your baby to grow into a happy person, work your own sense of humor and get him laughing as often as possible.  So smile mom! Don’t hold back. Laugh openly and loudly.

Now is the time to be sociable, optimistic, healthier, and more self-confident.

If you want your baby to grow into a happy person, work your own sense of humor and get him laughing as often as possible. Laughter is contagious, even with infants. Making your baby laugh is, for sure, the most gratifying parental task. Laughing is also a great disease prevention therapy.

Mommy, your face is so funny! Your laugh and your smile is the best way to get your little sweetie laughing out loud. So smile mom!

Don’t hold back. Laugh openly and loudly. Make funny faces. Play hide and seek. She will take her cue from you. The more you make her laugh the more likely it is that your baby will become positive minded. Every time you get her up from nap time, hold her, or change her diapers, look into her eyes and laugh your head off. The more the better.

My Baby Doesn’t Like Tummy Time

Does your baby still protest when you try to place him in tummy time? It is very important, but forcing is not recommended.

At 4, 5, and 6 months, your baby is gearing up for new ‘windows of opportunity’ – times when he’s most ready to learn new skills. His limbs need to interact with the floor so his reflexes can kick off and prepare him for movement. So do try again! Options are key:

  • Begin chest to chest. As you lean back or lie on the floor, your baby will be inclined forward–in tummy time!
  • Also try it in your lap or over your arm.
  • When you place him on the floor, begin on his side and roll him onto his tummy; when he’s done, roll him off his tummy.

If he protests, he’s trying to tell you something important! If he hasn’t spent much time yet on his tummy, he may need to get used to the experience. He may even find it scary. Rather than distract him, go slowly, listen to his cries of ‘this is new and strange, and I don’t like it,’ and investigate what might be making him uncomfortable.

For more tips, see www.enjoytummytime.com. If he continues fussing or doesn’t lift his head, check with a development professional.

New Tastes-Infant

In addition to breast milk or baby formula, there are solid foods you can introduce to your baby’s diet at each stage of development. It’s most important to introduce a baby to new foods gradually, or one at a time, in case of food allergies.

In addition to breast milk or baby formula, there are the solid foods you can introduce to your baby’s diet at each stage of development. Single-grain fortified cereals give your baby iron, an important nutrient he needs now. A baby is born with a natural reserve of iron that begins to deplete around 6 months of age. 6 months is a good time to start.

Mix cereal with baby formula or breast milk, or water on occasion.

It’s most important to introduce a baby to new foods gradually, or one at a time, in case of food allergies. If not, a parent may have trouble tying an allergy to a specific new food. For example, if you give your baby three new foods over the course of a day and she develops an allergic reaction, you won’t know which of the foods provoked it.

You may want to wait until the baby is older to try some of these foods, especially peanuts. In fact, many experts suggest waiting until your child is 3 years before trying peanuts or honey. Ask your pediatrician questions about a food if you are unsure about it.

No Pressure Dinner

Your little person is now feeding herself.

It’s a wonderful task full of self-esteem. Never hesitate to give her a lot of praise as she is eating. Sometimes toddlers only get attention when they won’t eat something, and she thrives on your praise. If she only gets attention when she’s not eating she may refuse food solely to get attention from you. A toddler often thinks, as the saying goes, ‘any attention is good attention.’

If she doesn’t eat much at one meal, that’s okay! Never insist that she finish everything on her plate- this can make her anxious about food. Here are a couple of tips to create a healthy eater.

If your toddler doesn’t finish her food simply take away the uneaten portion without saying anything. If you feel frustrated that your toddler hasn’t finished the meal you’ve carefully prepared for her, keep in mind that she is learning to do things for herself; and that includes knowing when she is full. You are allowing your toddler to take important steps towards her very important independence. I promise she will not go hungry.

With this independence and your approval, she will eat all by herself.

Be consistent. This process takes at least 3 months, by the time she is 4 years old she will probably be a good eater.

Ouch

Sure, teething’s nothing new–both you and your baby endured plenty during that first year. But toddler teething pain can be just as tough or even tougher on your little one, thanks to the big molars that are about to poke through those tender gums.

Sure, teething’s nothing new – both you and your baby endured plenty during that first year. But toddler teething pain can be just as tough or even tougher on your little one, thanks to the big molars that are about to poke through those tender gums. Ouch for both of you.

Your baby is drooling, her chin is irritated and sensitive. Yep, molars are coming through.

Keep a super soft cloth handy to pat her chin. Aquaphor ointment will help any sign of irritating rash. Break out those rubber teething rings and toys again, especially ones that can be chilled. Try giving her some cold water, or rubbing her gums with your clean finger.

It’s not a good idea to give her those old standbys such as ‘chilled carrots’ (she can bite off a chunk and choke). Teething biscuits are messy, but can help soothe. If during the molar eruption, a little blood comes, it’s totally normal. Your toddler can now have acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.

Stay calm and smile because you will have a break until the second round in 12 more months. Avoid homeopathic remedies as they are not FDA approved and can be harmful if swallowed. Consult with your child’s pediatrician to discuss remedies you both feel comfortable with.

Picasso

There is more to scribbling than meets the eye. The mere act of using a crayon demonstrates newly acquired finger and wrist dexterity, a good pincer grasp, and improving hand-eye coordination. Children have a powerful instinct to scribble, just as they do to walk. Unfortunately they aren’t praised the same because when a child scribbles it’s usually on a wall, so all she hears is her parent yelling ‘stop that!’ Her art work really needs to be encouraged, she is learning how to express herself. As random as your toddler’s scribbles may seem, they are the basis of every ALPHABET in the world. Get drawing!

Provide your toddler with a wide sturdy unwrapped batch of crayons and lots of heavy drawing paper. The parents who don’t give their children safe opportunities for scribbling are the ones who end up with a house full of graffiti. Keep a close eye on your child, because she will still put things in her mouth. Cheer on her work.

Let her tell you what it is, and when she does, comment “Wow! I can see that, it’s wonderful! Let’s make another one.” Or, “where should we hang this great art work?”

Sharks Are Biting

This game is a great way to develop your little one’s sense of imagination. You can pretend that your living room is the sea and that he has to get to the other side of the room without getting his feet wet! This activity will encourage your toddler to strengthen his balancing skills.

Scatter some cushions around the floor as stepping stones. Show your toddler how to hop and jump his way across the living room. Point out ships, whales and mermaids on the way.

Oh yes… and watch out for those sharks!

Encourage your toddler to step carefully around the cushions. This is a time for your imagination to go wild and help baby to do the same. Have a lot of fun. Watch your toddler’s balance get better and better.

Slow Down!

Your baby’s visual abilities are very limited her first couple of months. In addition to only being able to see 8-12 inches in front of her face, she has very little control over using her eyes in tandem; that’s why you will see them wander or cross.

While she’s working hard to get both eyes to work as a team and focus, help her explore her world. Introduce objects to her by holding them within 8-12 inches of her face. Hold the object very still so baby can focus on the details, and don’t forget to name the objects so she knows what she is looking at!

As she gets the hang of focusing on movement, you will notice her eyes following the objects as you pass them in front of her. You can also try locking eyes with her while moving your head slowly from left to right, and watch as she’s mesmerized by your eyes and head movement.

Social Referencing

Your baby is showing a huge cognitive leap when she begins to respond differently to strangers than familiar people. She may seem more serious, or less relaxed with strangers; maybe even show very apparent discomfort. She’ll be looking to you for emotional signals to know if something is safe or not. This is what psychologists refer to as social referencing.

Throughout this time, your baby will look to you for reassurance in confusing or unfamiliar situations. For example, when an unfamiliar person approaches, your baby may cling very tightly until she sees your kind, relaxed interaction with the stranger. Another area social referencing plays a huge role in, is when dropping off your child at daycare. He will pick up on your fears and become upset. During this time, be reassuring, comforting and patient, while he develops a sense of trust and understanding for his environment and unfamiliar guests.