Thursday, September 27, 2012

20 Toddlers Tips in well... 20 days ish... 20. Toddler Tips

Toddler Tips

So today is the 20th tip for my Twenty Toddler Tips in Twenty Days. I certainly had no idea that it would be as hard as it was to keep up the 20 day tips. I did have a few bumps here and there and I went over my 20 days, missed a day here and there, and I got all 20 tips in, eventually. I have to say I am proud of myself for finishing my mini project in spite of my hiccups. 

I think it is important to celebrate our efforts and not just the end results. I am glad I finished my tips and didn't just give up when I realized I had a day or so lost. At times I was thinking, "who's listening, it doesn't matter, why bother, should I continue?"  But I realized it was important to continue and finish. It may not have looked exactly like I wanted it to, or finish perfectly on time, but that didn't matter anymore. What mattered was how I felt about myself.

We need to make sure we don't put any kind of pressure on our children as we often do to ourselves. As parents we want the clean house, dinner on the table on time, happy, clean kids, perfect relationships, great work life etc... That's isn't going to happen all the time and consistently .. that isn't real life. A real balanced life, means we give it a shot. One day we are better house cleaners, or better parents, or great at are jobs, the next maybe not so much. Each section of our life deserves the best shot, but don't kill yourself trying to make life perfect. Appreciate what you can do.

Teach our children this by allowing them to learn, grow and show us a thing or two in their own time and their own way. There is no right or wrong way to live this life. There is only two choices really, choose unhappy or choose happy. I choose to be happy. Be appreciative of what you do have and look into the future with hope, anticipation and joy. Live a joyful life.

Here are your toddler review tips:

Toddlers are often eager to show their independence, and may not be able to move as swiftly as they'd like or effectively communicate their needs. This can lead to tantrums and misbehavior. Teach your toddler to behave well by providing love, attention, praise, encouragement and a degree of routine.

1. Accept your Child

As your child grows, he or she will display certain temperaments.  Some of these are learned, others genetic. Respect your child's developing individuality. Find your toddlers strengths and help her or him build skills. Choose toys and educational development based on what they are interested in, not what you want them to be or do. People learn faster and keep information longer when they are learning something at their interest level and it is fun. Find your child's interests. Avoid labeling your child's behaviour (especially challenging behaviour) Toddlers become the people you tell them they are. Tell them they are capable, loving, kind, smart people. If they misbehave say something like, "You hit him, that's not like you, your hands are for helping, not hitting. I know you can be gentle." Nurture your child's personality and find ways to help her or him feel confident.

2. Show Your Love

Positive attention will help make your child WANT to do well. Make sure your displays of affection for your child outnumber any consequences or punishments. 4 to 1 is a great rule; for every consequence you'll need 4 positive reinforcements.  Hugs, kisses and good-nature roughhousing reassure your child of your love. Frequent praise and attention will motivate your toddler to follow the rules. Make sure the praise is not false praise, tell them what they did well. Remember children will do well if they can. Help them to feel your love as often as possible.

3. Freedom in Rules

Don't overwhelm your toddlers with too many rules, instead prioritize those geared toward safety first. Other rules can be implemented and changed based on the family dynamic at the time. Help your toddler follow the rules by childproofing your home and eliminating as many temptations. If hitting is the problem, rules around 'hands are for helping' will suffice. Maybe the next month is about lying. Rules can help children learn, but we must tell them what they CAN do, when and how to do it. They learn most by observing. If we are yelling and stomping, they will learn this is appropriate behaviour. A chart of 5 house rules on the wall will help keep everyone aware of what is expected. Such as, "1. Gentle Hands 2. Inside Voices 3. Food stays on the plate 4. Walking for inside, running for outside" and so on. Pictures help younger children with understanding.

It's normal for a toddler to have temper tantrums. But you may be able to reduce the frequency, duration or intensity of your child's tantrums.

4. Child's Limits (your own as well)

Your child may misbehave because he or she doesn't understand or can't do what you're asking. Explain how to follow the rules. Instead of saying, "Stop hitting," offer suggestions for how to make play go more smoothly, such as "Why don't you two take turns?"
Take 'no' in stride. Don't overreact when your toddler says no. Instead, calmly repeat your request. Don't pose a question that can have an answer as no.

5. Avoid Power Struggles

Only say no when it's absolutely necessary. Don't engage in power struggles. It takes 2 people to power struggle, one of you has to be the adult.

6. Offer Choices

When possible. Encourage your child's independence by letting him or her pick out a pair of pajamas or a bedtime story. "You can either sit in the stroller or hold my hand when we walk across the street, you chose."

7. Avoid Triggers

Avoid situations that may trigger frustration or tantrums. If your child always seems to have tantrums at the grocery store, hire a sitter the next time you go shopping. Also, know that children are more likely to act out when they're tired, hungry, sick or in an unfamiliar setting. Bring snacks, toys or bubbles to the store, make a plan, talk about what will happen, keep the timing short. 

8. Distract

Make it fun. Distract your child or make a game out of good behavior. Your child will be more likely to do what you want if you make an activity fun. Be silly.

9. Schedules

Stick to the schedule. Keep a daily routine as much as possible so that your child will know what to expect. Picture routines are best with little ones, let them chose activities  Make the chart have Velcro so you can change up your day if you need to.

10. Communicate

Encourage good communication. Remind your child to use words to express his or her feelings. If your child isn't speaking yet, consider teaching him or her baby sign language. (I am a huge fan of this one, as you can imagine!) We have a feelings class where we practice and teach the signs for HAPPY, SAD, ANGRY and more.

11. Tantrums

If your child has a tantrum, remain calm and distract him or her. Ignore minor displays of anger, such as crying — but if your child hits, kicks or screams for a prolonged period, remove him or her from the situation. Hold your child or give him or her time alone to cool down. Walk out to the car and calm down with your child. Ask them when they feel ready to go inside and try again. 

12. Timing

TAKE MORE time with every errand. They are learning, allow for learning time. Leave the house 30 min before you think you need to. Begin bedtime routines earlier and so forth.

13. Enforce Consequences

Natural consequences. Let your child see the consequences of his or her actions — as long as they're not dangerous. If your child throws and breaks a toy, he or she won't have the toy to play with anymore.
If it is raining outside, bring the jacket for the car, let them get cold and wet. Ask them how they feel? Did they think they needed something to keep them warm? Logical consequences. Create a consequence for your child's actions. Tell your child if he or she doesn't pick up his or her toys, you will take the toys away for a day. Help your child with the task, if necessary. If your child doesn't cooperate, follow through with the consequence. Whatever consequences you choose, be consistent. Make sure that every adult who cares for your child observes the same rules and discipline guidelines. This reduces your child's confusion and need to test you. 

14. Withhold privileges

For older children...Withholding privileges. If your child doesn't behave, respond by taking away something that your child values — such as a favorite toy — or something that's related to his or her misbehavior. Don't take away something your child needs, such as a meal.

15. Time Outs

Age appropriate timeout. (The age of reason is approximatly 3 - 5 years old) When your child acts out, give a warning. If the poor behavior continues, guide your child to a designated timeout spot — ideally a quiet place with no distractions. Enforce the timeout for one minute for every year of your child's age. If your child resists, bring back to the timeout spot again and again and again and again. This is your job right now. Your a parent first.
Make sure your child knows why he or she is in the timeout. Afterward, guide your child to a positive activity. If all else fails, tell your child that you are taking a timeout away from him or her for a few minutes because of a specific behavior. Be sure to explain the behavior you'd like to see. Encourage the behaviour your are working on. Label it! Say stuff like, "wow, your responsible when you take your shoes off at the door, great job!"

16. Criticism

Be careful to criticize your child's behavior — not your child. Instead of saying, "You're a bad boy," try, "Don't run into the street." "Hands are not for hitting, hands are for helping." Never resort to punishments that emotionally or physically harm your child. Spanking, slapping and screaming at a child do more harm than good. Hitting a small child, teaches them when you are big, you can hit others.

17. Emotional Support

Remember sometimes just a hug, a walk to a different room or going outside can change everyone's mind and focus. Take a breather together. 

Begin each day like this... say to your toddler, 
"Today is a new day with new experiences, we don't know what is to come, it's so exciting. I can't wait to be with you today and learn together." 

End each night like this, "I love you so much, no matter what, there is no condition on this love, remember you are a good person, with a kind heart, tomorrow will be another adventure." 

Your children want to be with you, want to do well for you, want to make you proud and want to be loved. That is all.

You are their everyday teacher. Children learn how to act by watching their parents. The best way to show your child how to behave is to set a positive example for him or her to follow. Love them and be firm, kind and have fun.

Happy Parenting!

Emotional Understanding

Parents may have a misconception when it comes to understanding their child's ability to read and understand emotions from others and themselves.

In Dr. Susan Goodwyn and Dr. Linda Acredelo's book entitled Baby Hearts: A Guide to Giving Your Child an Emotional Head Start we learn more about emotional development in small children.

Here are some highlights to consider:

1.Human emotions are vast in number and subtle in their differences. Consider the following different feeling states: Cranky, Cowardly, Curious, Confident, Coy, Cagey, Confused. And these are just ones that start with “C.” 

2.Emotions, even strong ones, tend to fade over time.

3.People often experience two or more emotions at once, sometimes even conflicting ones (for example, a “bittersweet” experience). 

4.A person can pretend to feel one way when he is really feeling another. 

5.One may not actually be aware of one’s own feelings. **

6.Certain emotions are not appropriate in certain situations (for example, being gleeful at a funeral or sad at a wedding). 

7.Emotions can be powerfully influenced by being in a crowd. ( consider daycares)

8.Talking about emotions requires knowing your culture’s peculiar metaphors for feelings, such as the following English terms for “happy:” Tickled pink, pleased as punch, thrilled to death, happy as a clam, contented as a cat, on cloud nine. Idioms are not even taught until grade 8.

With all this to learn, it’s enough to make a child “as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.” Let’s just take one of the above, #3, as an example. A study published in the May 2007 issue of the journalPsychological Science has demonstrated that it’s probably not until children are 10 or 11 years old that they even experience mixed emotions, and, not surprisingly, it’s not until they are capable of experiencing such emotional states themselves that they begin understanding that this possibility exists for other people as well. 

It’s no wonder, then, that “emotional understanding” develops gradually even into the teenage years. Actually, I’m betting that we all know adults who still have some growing up to do in this very important domain! 

So take it easy on your little toddlers with their emotional journey. Tantrums, talking back, crying, whining. They are just learning about these emotions and what to do with them. Read up for yourself and learn about your own emotions before you begin to try and teach your little ones about theirs.

Teach by showing. Children' learn more from observing than anything else.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 19. Toddlers Whine

Toddler Survival Tip #19

19. Toddler Whine

Like nails on a chalkboard the toddlers whine and irritate the most patience parent. 

Have you noticed that whining polls never allow an answer involving actually trying to find out why the child is whining? Is it because they assume the child is only doing this to annoy grown ups? 

When children whine and we give attention to this, they learn they get attention through whining and therefore do it more often. With better listening skills, hopefully they will no longer feel they need to indulge in this nasty habit.


1. If your toddler is limited in their verbal abilities and they are whining and struggling to communicate. Ask them to slow down and try to tell you what they need. If that doesn't work, ask them to show you what they need. Tell them to take deep breathes and you will try to help them. Give them a chance to communicate it through signing if possible. Teaching simple signs such as MORE, HUNGRY, HELP, ALL DONE can drastically reduce frustrations for your baby and your family.

2. Distractions have been known to work. Try signing a favourite song, putting on a favourite music CD, dancing in the kitchen, acting silly, pulling out a favourite activity as soon as the whining starts. They may shake out of the whining and start engaging with you in a more positive manner.

3. Don't Respond. Sometimes ignoring the whining can work. They learn quickly that if they do not get their needs met with whining, they may get them met another way. You can remind them if you like. Get down to their level, "I hear that your whining, I'll talk with you when you remember your words." Then turn away and continue what you were doing. 

4. Decide what is no and what is yes. Don't fill your house with a bunch of no's. Don't give in to the whining. If they whine for some juice, don't give it to them. Tell them you'll wait until they can ask like a 'big boy or big girl' then give them the juice and tell them they asked well. Give them praise for slowing down and asking correctly. Children will do well if they can. You can use other words instead of no for example: "Yes, later." "I'll think about it." "You can have a cracker, but not a cookie." (tell them what they CAN do and CAN have) "You can jump outside, but not on the couch" "We play with water in the tub, not on the kitchen table." When you do say no, mean it. Don't sugar coat it with a "sorry sweety no no," Say it with a poker face and mean it firmly and kindly. "No, do not pull the cat's tail. Be gentle."

5. Talk to them like little adults. Some babies want to be 'all grown up' and get frustrated when they cannot do it. They resort to whining. Start talking to them like they are a lot older. They may respond in a positive way and actually try to carry on a conversation with you. Only they know what they are saying, but a babies babble is better than a whine. 

6. I heard one parent who had a whining chair. When their 3 year old started to whine, they said, please continue your whining on the whining chair. By the time they went to sit on the whining chair, they would get distracted. 

7. Have a timer they can see. When they start whining, put the timer on for each minute of their age 3 = 3 min, 6 = 6 min. Tell them to come back again after their timer has gone off and try asking again. This work well for over 3 or 4yrs.

8. Record the whining with a video camera or recorder. Then play it back for them later so they can see what they sound and look like when they whine, talk to them about how they can change this next time. This is also for older kids such as 4-12 year olds.

9. Pretend play. I love this one. When my 3-year-old starts to whine, I say, "Uh-oh, your nice voice has disappeared! I wonder where it went!" I look around the room and pretend to find a nicer voice in a cupboard or behind the couch, and I pop it in my mouth and then imitate a cartoon character or silly voice. Usually he starts to laugh and the whining is forgotten or he copies my voice and starts to pretend play.

10. Pocket Whining. With older than 3, you can try this. When the whining starts, tell them to whine into your pocket so you can save it and listen to it later. It usually makes them laugh or confuses them enough to distract. You can pretend to open up the pocket and hold it up to your ears when they do start whining again. Make life fun and light and inventive I say.

11. Set limits. If you are ok with it, you can try this. I usually let my 3 year old get something small at the store when we are out. Not every store, just one. It can be a pezz, peanuts, a dollar store toy, a book. Then I say that is your one treat today, so don't ask for another. At the checkout if they start to whine for something, remind them they got their treat for the day. (It is usually still in their hot little hands) If they want to put it away and trade for the candy, that's up to you. But whatever you do STICK to your word. Do NOT give into another toy. Another book at bedtime, another snack after snack, another this and that cause the children to think if they whine, they can get more. 

12. Remind them of you DO want. Whining starts, say, "How can you ask? What's a better way to ask me. Where are your manners? Teach your brother how we ask for that. Tell me in your big boy voice. Slow down baby and try telling me again."

13. Praise them when they do right! No one likes to learn by just getting in trouble. We want to know when we do things well. Toddlers need that too! Tell them when they did ask correctly and they did use their manners. Mention it, make a big deal about it. Point it out to strangers, family members and their friends. "Wow, you have great manners, I like the way you asked for your juice, would you like some more?" "Did you hear how your big brother asked for juice? He said please and used his big boy voice. Great job!"

14. Promise future benefits. If your working on something in particular you can use a chart or reward system. Say your 3-year-old whines every morning when they get out of bed. Example, you can tell him at night that if he doesn't fuss in the morning, then you'll read more than one book to him the next night. Try to put a star on a chart each morning he does well and show him the nights he's been getting two books. Children love to feel successful. Don't we all?

That all said...

PS NOT everything with work all the time. What worked yesterday may not work today. Keep a cheat sheet on your fridge to remind YOU, not them, what to do when they whine. point form is best.

Happy Parenting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 18. Toddlers and Safety

Toddler Survival Tip #18

18. Safety

By now, you have probably child proofed your home. With a toddler running about, you may have even 'un-child proofed some parts of your home thinking they are old enough now to 'learn or know better.'

But actually you have to be even MORE careful now as your toddler gets more mobile and curious. I have talked in the past about allowing your children to learn important life skills by doing for themselves. In order for this to happen your home needs to be safety proof. Remember toddlers are EXPLORERS, DETECTIVES, CHEMISTS, COOKS, GARDENERS, MECHANICS... and they need your supervision and guidance.


To keep a toddler safe, you should:

According to the latest car seat guidelines, toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old or until they reach the weight and height limits of their seat. Children will remain in booster seats until the age of 9 or until they reach the weight and height limits.

Covers still need to remain on outlets, latches on cabinets, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors up to date. Make sure all climbing hazards are removed or secure in your home. A friend of mine lost their 2 year old in a toy box accident because the lid crashed down too on his neck. Make sure there are no lids or they are shocked absorbent. My husbands best friend had a dresser and a large shelf fall on him when he was a child, which hurt him but he was ok luckily. It was from climbing up. Put anchors on tall shelves. 

Curious toddlers love 'chemistry' KEEP all dangerous chemicals out and reach AND locked up. This includes alcohol, vitamins, prescriptions etc. My oldest son accidently ate a couple of my birth control pills, I was so worried I called the hospital and they assured me he would not get pregnant. (funny for them, scary for me, he was fine.)

More info on Child Safety:

NEW BABY Child Proofing:
  • Setting the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees to prevent scalding burns.
  • Installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Making your home smoke-free, so that your baby isn't exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Reviewing your home's risk for causing lead poisoning, especially if it was built before 1978.
  • Making sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as a used crib, hasn't been recalled for safety reasons.
  • Learning to use baby products correctly and according to age appropriate recommendations.
  • Checking your labels of what is in products before putting them on your baby.
  • Learning the numbers to poison control, police and other emergency numbers. A great one to know is 811.  Call 8-1-1 from anywhere in British Columbia to speak with a nurse any time of the day or night. On weekdays, you can speak to a dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating. At night we have pharmacists available to answer your medication questions.
  • Learning CPR or Child CPR is a great tool to have in your home, as well as an updated first aid kit.

Happy Parenting!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 17.Toddlers and Sleeping

Toddler Survival Tip #17

17. Toddlers and Sleeping

We are all told when we were pregnant, "Sleep now."
 "Sleep when you can." 
"Sleep when the baby sleeps."
"You'll be pretty tired at the beginning."
"Eventually they'll sleep through the night."
and other quotes I'm sure you know by heart...

BUT no one told us "YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!"

What happens when your perfect infant sleeper turns into a sleep defiant toddler?

Everyone is different, every family is different. Each family is unique and what works in one household may not work in another.

Some people allow their children to decide when it's bedtime.
Some families co-sleep.
Some families have children in separate rooms.
Some have siblings bunking together.
Some have strict bedtimes and routines.
Some have a more around about times.

Whatever your family design is, is fine, as long as it's still working for everyone. If bedtime or nap time are a problem, then we need to ajust our thinking and take a look at what our ultimate goal is? 


Just like going in the potty or eating, it is a body function that only they control. You can invite and there are some tips that may help, but ultimately this is not a power struggle you want to engage it, as they have the winning power of not closing their eyes! You can bribe, coax, argue, threaten, plead, but it's their doing.

That said, Of course I have some tips for you.

Often child experts have found that these unnecessary battles, such as potty time, eating, or sleeping are based on lack of knowledge, lack of skills, lack of faith, lack of confidence in yourself and your little one.

There are ways to invite cooperation, using respectful and developmentally appropriate methods. All humans sleep and eat to survive. Toileting eventually happens through social conviction. They will do it -eventually! We need to learn as parents, cooperation instead of power struggles.


1. Sleep is your child's responsibility. You can explore the options of rocking them to sleep, whispering and tiptoeing around the house, night lights versus darkness, music versus silence, warm rooms vs open windows, still, SLEEPING IS THE BABY'S JOB! Don't you have enough to do? You will invite a battle if you begin to make his/her sleeping your responsibility.

2. Temperament matters. Some babies are born active, others colic or physical issues, some need more touch and comforting. Knowing your babies temperament will help when establishing good sleeping habits at a young age. Learn more on temperament here:

3. Time for a change? If you find yourself asleep in a toddler bed because they needed you to ly with them and really you fell alseep while they played, then maybe it's time for a change. When children fall asleep by themselves, they learn, "I am capable." If you have a child who cries every night before bed, when you try to implement a change in pattern (for the better of your family) they will resist, expect crying to continue for a couple nights before they realize this is the new routine. They will eventually settle. Decide if you are going to quit lying with them cold turkey or in stages. You can go in and reassure them you are there every 5,10, 15 minutes but NO LYING down, only checking on them. Wean them off you.

4. Keep bedtime soothing. Establish a bedtime routine. Consistency creates a feeling of safety and reassurance. Even with older children in the house who may not need that routine anymore, keep it up with the little ones for sure! Let the older ones help the younger ones with bathtime, teethbrushing, book reading. It may do more for your family than you first expected.

5. No screen time. 1 hour before bed turn off all TV, computer screens, DS or anything else. Even computer readers like Kindle can stimulate the mind and does a disservice for your toddlers sleeping pattern. Behaviour that activates the brain is not conductive with sleep.
“Sleep is nocturnal, because our circadian rhythm directs us to be sleepy in dark, low-light conditions,” says Philip Alapat, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and medical director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Sleep Center. “Bright screens disrupt our circadian rhythm which intrudes on our sleep, especially if we are prone to insomnia.”

6. Create a bedtime chart that they can follow along to. I personally have a bedtime routine chart laminate for my 3 year old, he can follow along as to 'what's next' on the list. He loves to show it off to babysitters as well. It gives them a feeling of being capable and knowing what is next. It reduces stress and fear. It triggers their body and mind to 'gear down' for sleeping. Encourage your child to take an active role in bedtime. You want your 2 and 3 year old to practice putting their own PJ's on. Make it a game, make it fun.

7. Practice bedtime at other parts of the day. Play "Let's Pretend." Pretend play isn't just fun! It helps develop language skills and life skills. Role-play going to bed crying and going to bed happy. Show her what each looks like and then have them do it. Pretend to put teddy or dolly to bed, ask if dolly is happy and what dolly needs before bed. Model cooperation and understanding. Maybe dolly was scared of the curtain or that they light was too dark, you may have a window into what your child is going through later on when he's trying to get to sleep. It may reduce stress and fear.

8. Avoid Power struggles. If you child says, "No bed!" Don't argue the point, you may say, " You'd like to stay up later" or "You don't want to go to bed yet." Validating feelings and thoughts are sometimes the only thing they needed in the first place. This tells her you heard her, you understand and you respect her feelings. AND she's still going to bed. Practice being kind and firm at the same time. (it's harder than you think.) Just continue with what's next on the chart honey? Do you know where your Dora toothbrush is? Let's brush teddy's teeth first. Trying to convince her that she's cranky or tired will only make it worse. Just continue and stay firm and kind.

9. Make decisions and then STICK TO THEM! Decide if they will have 1 or 2 books before bed. If each child has the same bedtime or different bedtimes, stick to it. Don't allow them to sucker you into one more book or 5 more minutes up. Have confidence that you made the right decision in the first place and stick to your word. They will respect, trust and love you for it as they grow. You are building TRUST, stay true to your word.

10. Make bedtime a sharing, loving time. This is the last thought before they sleep. You are the last face they see. You are the last voice they hear. Even with a hard, long day, suck it up and tell them "Today was hard, tomorrow will be better." "I love you, you're a good person." "I'm glad to know you." You can do my favourite game, "What's the saddest part of your day and what's the happiest part of your day." or just ask the happy one. Remember you want them to see your smiling, loving face and hear your soothing, sweet, I love you voice and feel your warm, embracing hug before they drift off. Try to love them BEHIND their difficult behaviours. 

The more confident you are in routine, time and your kind, firm way, the more safe, secure and loved they feel. That's our true goal!

Happy Sleeping!


Monday, September 17, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 16. To Save or Not to Save

Toddler Survival Tip #16

16. Save or not to save

Are we really saving our children from distress when we rescue them all the time?

I watched my frustrated little 14 month old this morning try and try to erect his walking toy that fell over. He kept climbing into it and unable to lift it. I watched and sat right near him, keeping my hands off lifting it. I wanted to so bad, but I wanted to see if he could achieve it on his own.

He wasn't in danger.

He wasn't full out crying, just whiny and complaining and pretty mad.

I waited. I offered him to ask mom for help, using his sign HELP. He chose not to use it, so I waited. 

Eventually he found if he stepped out of it and came at it from a different angle he could do it. I clapped and said what a great job he did, he had this proud look on his face. He was learning to be independent. He was learning new skills. He was proud of himself and he gained confident. I enjoyed watching him build this self esteem and positive emotional development. 

If they children are safe, let them try on their own.
We want to encourage our children to be self reliant, self confident and self assured. We need to find opportunities to do this. I found one this mornings.

Other things you can do to help encourage autonomy. (Independent skills)

1. Let them help put dishes in sink.
2. Help dig in the garden
3. Let them try to retrieve a stuck toy
4. Let them put puzzle pieces in, resist helping hold the piece, you can adjust the base board or offer suggestions.

Suggestions to offer when you see frustrations:

"Did you want HELP (Sign HELP), sign help baby."
"Hold the piece a different way."
"Try taking your hand out."
"Try the puppy puzzle piece."
"Use your other hand."
"Go behind, up, around, in, out."
(these are great vocabulary builders as well.

Happy Parenting!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

20 Toddler tips in 20 days 15. Signing Babies

Toddler Survival Tip #15

15. Signing Babies

What do they want?
Why are they crying?
How come I don't want to go to him again when he's whiney?
Why do I feel lost?

Ever feel frustrated or disconnected with your baby? It is NORMAL! You are not going crazy. You are not a bad parent because you feel frustrated or you cannot understand what it is your child wants. Many parents struggle in the first two years of parenting because of the guessing factor.

Recently a TV station in Washington DC raised the concern that signing with babies might diminish interaction between babies and parents. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as any parent who lives with a signing baby can testify. 

As a parent of two signing babies, I found that signing with my babies increased the bond we have. I have an older son who is now 21, and I did not sign with him. I found our communication level was difficult and he was speech delayed as well, I wish I would have known about signing back then. My 3 year old and my 14 month both are able to communicate their needs, wants, desires and love to me daily. I was shocked when I heard about this outrageous claim. It is so far off, it's backwards thinking. Signing has only proven to increase the relationship I have with my boys.


First of all, modeling signs for babies means parents:
A. Make more eye contact
B. Activity search out for opportunities to communicate and sign
C. Tend to be more involved in observing what their baby may or may not be signing and communicating to them

Parents tend to sit more with their signing babies for mealtimes, bathtimes, bedtimes, teaching them sign such as MORE, ALL DONE, COLD, LOVE, HELP etc.
Result? MORE interaction other NOT less.

since parents are watching for possible signs they are watching to see if baby
A. Understands the sign
B. Imitates the sign
C. (Most exciting of all) Spontaneous using the sign to direct the parent attention.
Result? Closer observation means more interaction.

Third, once a baby is able to request specific items with signs, everyone's frustration is reduced. 
Result? Fewer tantrums and tears mean more time and emotional energy for pleasant interactions.
Forth, once baby is signing, parent experience the magic of seeing their babies thoughts and ideas. Finding out what fascinates your baby. (ex: butterfly, sound of dog barking, train whistles) You can join in this experience.
Result? Richer and more rewarding interaction for both parent and child.

Next time you hear something that feels so off-base of what you know to be parent/child enriched, consider sharing these points with others.

I love to educate other parents to help better their lives.

Happy Signing!