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Baby Calendar Month 17

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Toddler Development



Your toddler's language explosion is about to begin. Already he may say up to a dozen words, possibly more. She is likely to combine motions and utterances for words she's not quite mastered, for instance pointing to cup and saying, "Mee mee!" for milk.

While the best way to help your toddler with language is to keep the conversations flowing between you, other great ways to expand the language skills is to use books. Check out a variety of books from the library and note how likely his favorites will not just be those with the coolest illustrations but probably those that use rhymes and rhythm to hook kids into the pages. Get books with finger plays and learn them with your child. Songs for toddlers and preschoolers are fun options as well. Create books together by cutting out pictures from magazines or weekly grocery fliers. Make a word book of items your toddler encounters regularly to help her label items in her world.

Health Concerns/Nutrition

Now that your toddler is growing and eating real food, one thing that is becoming a more unpleasant task is dirty diaper changes. It can be difficult at times to know what to expect when you pull off that diaper. Many parents become overly concerned about baby's bm's. First, understand that not all children poop daily. If they go every couple or even few days and the stool is soft and formed, not rock hard or liquid, things are probably ok. If your child is straining to pass stool and it is hard, small pebbles then he is likely constipated.

Children this age typically become constipated because they aren't drinking enough liquids, perhaps since going off the bottle it's harder to ensure enough fluid intake. Or they may not be getting enough fiber in their diet. One other reason is that sometimes a child may delay a bowel movement, perhaps because previously suffering from a painfully hard movement. Constipation may cause cracks in the opening of the anus called fissures.

Applying some petroleum jelly may ease things a bit. Add a little more juice to the diet and see how things go. If constipation is still an issue, talk to your child's pediatrician.

Tips for Mom and Dad

Toddlerhood brings with it many joys. The temper tantrum is not one of those joys. The tantrum may include screaming, kicking, biting, hitting or slapping and likely tears. Sometimes yours, sometimes theirs. When you witness the first one, you may be tempted to laugh. It can be funny the first time. The novelty fades quickly however and you don't want to send mixed messages so stifle any giggles or smiles.

Likewise, don't react in kind. Keep your cool and model how to deal with emotions properly. If your child attacks you physically, resist the urge to physically punish your child. It will not help at all. You may firmly grasp your child's arm or leg, whatever is attacking you at the moment, and look your child in the eye and speak clearly and in a very serious parent-voice, "No! You don't hit Mommy." If possible, remove your child from that situation or environment and tell her you are going to give her a moment to calm down.

When emotions are stable, take a short moment to talk about what happened. Try to give your child labels for emotions to go with the situation. Then give your child better options to try next time. For instance, you got angry because Daddy changed your favorite tv program. Maybe you could ask daddy nicely to turn it back, or you could go play with Puppy then. You could even say I'm mad. That's OK. But you can't hit Daddy because you are mad.

Take heart because while the emotional outbursts are trying, it shows your child is learning and growing. Sometimes however emotions overtake ability to communicate. That's where you can always step in.

The most important thing to do post-tantrum however is supply comfort and affection. Your child needs to know there is nothing he can do that will erase that emotion; your love for him.


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