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|How to care for your Toddtler|
A toddler is defined as a child between the ages of 18 months to about 3 years old. This is the time when your child will learn to walk, talk, and start “potty training”. In short, this is the time during which your child will learn about his world. This learning is done through exploration, mimicking, and experience.
Safety is a major concern during the toddler years. Your child will purposely be looking for things to pull himself up on. This pulling is an effort on the toddler’s part to learn to stand and walk. Make sure that there are no sharp corners on your furniture, cabinets, etc. Use cloth or plastic corner covers to cover up any sharp edges in your home. Keep small objects away from your toddler. Toddlers are constantly putting things into their mouths. They do this as a way of exploration. By using the sense of taste, your toddler is learning what things are. Small objects are dangerous because your child can swallow them and choke. Cover up electrical outlets so that your child can not put objects into the outlet and get shocked. Make sure that electrical cords and curtains are tightly secured so that your child can not get hurt by pulling on them. Put locks on your cupboards, cabinets, and medicine chest in order to prevent accidental poisoning.
Be prepared for accidents and emergencies. A first aid kit is a must have in your home. A good first aid kit will have bandages, antibiotic, ointment and emergency phone numbers (your child’s doctor, the nearest hospital, etc). Parents with toddlers are also advised to take a class in first aid. In this class, parents will learn what to do in cases of choking, drowning, and falls resulting in major bleeding and/or broken limbs.
During the toddler years, your child learns by mimicking his/her parents. It is important that parents exhibit the types of behaviors they will want their child to have. It is not okay to smoke, take drugs, or drink alcoholic beverages in front of your toddler. Instead, teach your children the proper respect for elders, and good nutritional and exercise habits.
The terrible two’s is the time when your child will be constantly testing your authority. This is because the toddler is discovering its’ place in the world, and which behaviors are acceptable. By giving in to your child, you are reinforcing the idea that the child can get what it wants through misbehavior. Instead of giving in; parents should set limits and stick to them. Make sure that punishment is consistent through out. A good standard for punishment is “time out’ or a favorite toy being taken away for a set amount of time. Time outs should equal one minute for each year of life (for example: a three year old would get three minutes in time out).
The toddler years are a time of discovery for children, but can lead to headaches for parents. It is important to remember that your child’s behavior is based on his/her need to learn. Make safety first by following simple safety guidelines. Have a set standard of rules and keep punishment consistent.