Wednesday, August 29, 2012

20 Toddler Tips in 20 days Today: 4. Create Ease

Toddler Survival Tip #4

4. Creating Ease in toddlers 

Toddlers struggle each day trying to show independence and coordination. It is difficult to learn how to communicate and to move swiftly and accurately. Here are some general tips to help with everyday frustrations.

1. SIGNING For those that know me, they know I am a signing mom and have been since my Geran was born 3 years ago. I have found signing to be a huge improvement in my life and my children's lives. Not only has signing given us the ability to have earlier communication, it has increased our bond as mother and child. 

Benefits of signing that I have personally seen in my own children include:

-reduction in frustrations, tears and tantrums
-increase family bond
-increase IQ and early literacy skills
-easier and sooner speech

Because of signing, my baby Nashville who is now 14months has been able to tell me about his world. 
-He tells me when he is frustrated and needs me by signing HELP and leading me to what he was upset about.
-Nash signs all kinds of food he wants like Cheese, Water, Milk, Berries, Nana's, Cereal, incl. More and All Done.
-Nash can tell me to STOP when he is finished being tickles or MORE wants more bubbles, kisses, food, playtime
-He signs DIAPER for a change or POTTY if he sees his brother on the potty
-He signs LOVE when he wants a kiss or cuddle

The list goes on and on. I cant tell you to use sign, but I can say I consider it essential in my family. It's how we communicate and show love to one another.

2. ACCEPTANCE Notice your child's unique temperment. Respect how your child develops and don't expect him to be exactly like mommy, daddy or big brother or sister. Avoid labels, let him or her show you who they are. Nurture your child's personality by finding ways to have him feel confident. A strong willed child has perseverance. My Nashville is all about 'physical play' balls, soccer, swings, climbing etc. My Geran is all cerebral wanting letters, books, puzzles etc. So different.   

3. ALLOW INDEPENDENCE AND EXPLORATION  Safety proof your home and let them explore, get into cupboards that you have empty containers in and new things to play with and learn about. Include them in cooking, gardening and cleaning up with you.  Don't overload your child with rules with may frustrate him and decrease his self confidence. They learn by doing and watching you. Include them in projects like wrapping birthday gifts. Let them tear paper, crunch chips, squish berries. It sounds bad, but it's exploring and learning and growing. 

They are investigators. They like to examine, put fingers in sockets, play with television knobs, empty cupboards, play in the cool water bowl called a toilet, unravel toilet paper, eat lipstick, spill liquids, and pull on cords or climb bookshelves. They are not bad, they are explorers. If you slap their hands or spank them or yell at them when they are learning, they may develop a sense of shame. 

Well meaning parents who have not learned about this important development may not know that too much confinement and punishment can instill doubt and shame instead of a sense of autonomy. (self assurance and independence) 

A healthy sense of autonomy is critical in healthy development, giving a child a sense of confidence and the ability to pursue his own ideas and plans. A strong sense of trust in the first year and a strong sense of autonomy in the second year and third years also build the foundation for healthy self worth.

We all want our children to grow up with respect, understanding, love, compassion. They learn this by watching how we react. We want them to develop confidence, perceptions of capability and strong life skills. It's our job as parents to teach this. They learn it through patience, kind and firm positive discipline.

Good Luck!

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