Baby Calendar Month 16|24, March 2011
Since walking is becoming more fluid, expect some new fancy footwork to show up now. For instance, walking backwards (not quite moon walking yet, but still impressive) attempting to go up stairs, or combining skills like turning/pivoting, carrying objects, squatting and dancing/bouncing to music. The carrying objects part can become an obsession all its own. Many toddlers love the feeling of being powerful and will test their strength limits by picking up full laundry baskets, pieces of furniture like footstools or small chairs or tables, or armloads of toys or books. Or canned goods. Or pots and pans. Keep a watchful eye and set up toddler obstacle courses every now and again to make this extra fun. Your child is also busy with labeling the world, starting with the two of you. Body parts are simple to teach to toddlers. Use a doll at bath time and discuss which part you are washing. Then have your child point to the body part you name, first on the doll then on himself, then on you. Later point to a body part and see if your toddler can supply the name. This will be awhile in coming but always good to practice anyhow.
With all the gross motor skills and the emerging confidence, spills and falls are common. Your child may become quite concerned with a cut or bruise. Don't overreact and make her think she should be worried, too. Instead, show empathy and awareness. "Oh, did you get a bruise on your knee when you tripped? That's OK. It's just a little bruise. We can fix that up with some ice!" Have a bag of frozen peas or a special chilled owie fixer on hand for such emergencies. Also, amass a large supply of band-aids. Because while nothing is more healing than a band-aid, except perhaps a kiss, nothing is more intriguing than checking under the bandage every few minutes or so.
The beginning of the picky eater. No one hopes to raise a picky eater, but it can be a delicate balance to raise a good eater and not get drawn into a battle of wills. Expect your toddler to eat like a famished teenager one day, and to be on a virtual fast the next. Never overreact. The best strategy is to provide a nice balance of healthy foods and encourage trying new things with praise, stickers or the ever popular bribe of dessert. Just make that dessert a healthy one so it is a win-win for all. Serving fun in fun methods, like lots of finger foods and dips or in colorful displays also helps. Also never give up on a food even if it's been rejected the last six times you offered it. It could well become the favorite on attempt seven.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Teaching empathy to toddlers is no simple task, but odds are you have already started without even trying. When watching a favorite TV program or DVD discuss feelings as they arise. "I think Joe is sad. Do you think so? Why do you think he's sad?" Make puppets with different emotions displayed. Discuss those emotions and label emotions when you observe them around you, or when you or your child is experiencing them. Then give some ideas of proper ways to handle those emotions. For instance, you can say, "You are angry that Grandma put away the cookies. Maybe we can ask for one after nap time. " Next, try to show your child how to help others when they feel sad or scared, or angry. "The baby is scared of the loud noise. Maybe if you whisper nicely to her she'll feel better." Teaching a child about emotions and empathy is important to overall health and happiness.
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