Baby Calendar Month 19| 5, May 2011
While there are some general baby development guidelines at this point toddlers are individuals and their differences are becoming more noticeable at this age. Some toddlers talk nonstop in full sentences while others have a more limited vocabulary and are just quieter children. However, continue reading to your child everyday and initiating conversations with him throughout the day. Taking time to stop and look your little one in the eye or getting down on her level to talk with inspire your child to talk even more. If you have a chatterbox it can be easy to start zoning out during the marathon talk fest on puppies, but resist the urge to nod and say, "Uh-huh" At the other end of the spectrum if you have a shy child, always respect your child's feelings but nudge him to try new things with gentle encouragement. Don't force or ridicule but be positive and a cheerleader for your child. No matter whether you have a natural extrovert or an introvert accept your child for who she is.
A 19-month old knows his own name and probably will refer to himself by it now. He will also know several body parts. Make a game of it by having your child point to parts of the body as you call them out, then have your child point to the part of the body on your body. Alternate the game by pointing to the body part and having your little one name it for you.
Your toddler is an emotional person and will be prone to meltdowns especially when he she doesn't know how to express her feelings or feels misunderstood. To help with this teach your child how to identify different emotions. Let your child make choices between only a few options. You don't want to overwhelm your toddler, either. Also, the good news is that your toddler now loves to earn your praise and special attention. Catch your child being good whenever possible and you'll alleviate some behavior problems in the process.
Toddlers should be self feeding now and using cups, forks and spoons as well as drinking from a cup. If spilling is still an issue used a training cup when away from the table. Also let your toddler practice those steady cup-drinking skills by drinking water in a cup. Save grape juice for when he is seated at a table not when running by Aunt Jennifer's new white sofa, for instance.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Understand your toddler is not a baby anymore. He resists being whisked willy-nilly from one activity to the next without warning. Transitions are difficult for toddlers so to head off ugly confrontations give your child a heads-up when things are about to change. For an example, if you are at the park let your child know you will be leaving in ten minutes, then five then one. At home timers can help with those difficult transitions. Toddlers are less likely to argue with a timer than Mommy.
Another way to help toddlers transition is to ease them from high activity to lower activity times. Turn on soothing music, or put in a calming DVD. Go from throwing a ball to blowing bubbles to coloring pictures. Enjoy some art time with watercolors, playing with dough, or drawing with markers. Read your child a story or give your child a nice warm bath. Help your child shift gears instead of abruptly changing settings or activities.
Try to be flexible with your child's schedule within reason but adhere to an overall consistent day to day flow of events. Your child may not know dinner is at 6:30 most evenings but she will remember that you usually read a story to her once the dishes are done. If a big change is coming to your family life, ease into those changes whenever possible. Slowly adopt the new schedule in fifteen minute increments instead of suddenly changing bedtime to two hours later.
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