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September 30, 2013 | in Babysitting Jobs
10 Ways to be a Great Parent to Your Toddler
September 30, 2013 | in Babysitting Jobs
- Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. This is a stage filled with lots of challenging behaviors. Your child will test your patience over and over again, and you’ll react in a less than perfect way because, well, you’re human. When your child is challenging you, it’s easy for you to feel that you’re not the parent you should or could be. But remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so just keep loving your kids and doing the best you can.
- Understand what’s developmentally appropriate for this age group. When your child screams “NO” at you and you recognize it’s what he’s supposed to be doing at this age, it’s much easier to stay objective and act calmly. You can see the behavior for what it is, your toddler learning to assert his independence, and not take it personally.
- Have fun! This is such a fun age. Don’t let the challenges that come with it take away from the sheer enjoyment that comes from watching your child grow, explore, giggle, learn, play, connect and love. Let your child bring out the silly in you and see how much fun you can have together.
- Give him the freedom to explore his physicality. Your toddler’s desire to explore his surroundings and his body’s capabilities is exciting to him, but can be really scary to you. It’s essential that you make sure your child is safe, but at the same time, don’t let your fear discourage his natural need to explore. While giving him your full attention, let him climb the ladder to the top of the slide, balance on the big kid swing, and jump off the climbing platform. Yes, he will fall and yes, there will be tears from time to time. Your job isn’t to keep him from ever getting hurt. That’s impossible. Your job is to make sure he takes reasonable risks while building confidence in his body and his abilities.
- Expose him to lots of new things. At this age, everything is interesting to your child. Take him to the usual places like the park, the zoo and the aquarium. They’ll give him tons of things to see and do. But don’t forget about the other things your child might enjoy. Explore the art museum, a kid’s art class, or a local hiking trail. Don’t be surprised if your toddler latches onto a new interest with an amazing commitment. This is the age when a child can get focused on everything from dinosaurs to train to bugs, and just about everything else in between.
- Don’t push learning. Many parents believe that they have to engage their toddler in formal learning activities in order for their child to learn his letters, numbers and colors. The truth is your toddler is naturally programmed to soak up information. All you have to do is provide him with an engaging environment and the freedom to explore it. His natural curiosity will take care of the rest.
- Help them manage big emotions. Kids at this stage are feeling some very big emotions and they don’t have the skills yet to successfully understand or manage them. But you can help. Talk with your child about what he’s feeling and help him name his different emotions. Let him know that while certain behaviors are not acceptable, all his feelings are.
- Limit your screen time. One of the biggest gifts you can give your toddler is your uninterrupted attention. As hard as it is, turn off your phone and be fully present in whatever you’re doing together. Read a book, build a Lego tower, dig into the pretend box and spend hours indulging in imaginative play. What you do isn’t important. Letting your toddler know he has your full attention is.
- Get him into a play group. This is a great time for your child to start making friends. By finding a steady playgroup, he’ll have the opportunity to develop relationships and practice important social skills. These groups can also be a sanity saver for you during summer and winter when the weather doesn’t allow you to spend a lot of time outside.
- Enjoy all the hugs and kisses. There’s nothing better for your child’s spirit than hugs and kisses from Mom and Dad. He’s still young enough that he won’t be embarrassed by your public displays of affection. Physical connection does all kinds of wonderful things for his physical, emotional and mental health. And of course, it’s just as good for you!
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