Learn the signs – Try to notice the signs your child needs changing, for instance, if he recently had a full meal or a cup of milk, if he’s pulling or tugging at his diaper, walking funny, or just seems uncomfortable Take time to talk and create a routine – “How’s my big boy?” “Let’s check your diaper.” Describe what you are doing – “Let’s get this soggy diaper off and put on a nice dry one.” Following a similar routine at each changing helps your child know what to expect. Be Patient – Toddlers can be little wiggle worms on a changing table, but don’t worry, as their physical skills develop, you’ll get faster too. Talk to your child throughout the entire changing process. Give choices – Keep a few plastic toys near the changing tableland ask your child which one he’d like to play with, this may distract him from wiggling and make the whole process easier. If your child is noticing when he / she has the urge to go, and doesn’t like the feel of a wet diaper, it may be time to start potty training. There is a wealth of information on this subject on the internet. When a child is truly ready, they learn in just a few weeks. When they’re not ready it can be a frustratingly long process for both parents and child.
Talk while you dress your child – Describe the clothing or the process, “Ryan do you want to wear your Big Bird shirt or your Elmo shirt?” “Let’s but on your blue socks, they match your shirt.” Be patient and have fun – Remember, a squirming toddler isn’t trying to make your day more difficult they’re just finding out what their little bodies can do. Clap hands when finished dressing, “Yay, Max is dressed and all ready to play!” Plan on extra time if you have to be somewhere with your toddler at a specific time, such as a doctor’s appointment or a family gathering. Always leave extra time to get ready. Always have more than one outfit ready for your toddler as well as yourself. Spit-up happens when you least expect it, so when little Sophie spits up on her red velvet dress, or you, just before the formal family Christmas photo, don’t say you haven’t been warned!
At this age your toddler is probably eating most of his meals at the table, she may even have graduated from a high chair to a booster seat or regular chair. She probably also has some definite food preferences and dislikes. Basically, you’ll want to make meal times enjoyable by offering your toddler a wide range of heathy foods. Your toddler can have the same foods the rest of the family is having as long as it’s not too spicy and it’s cut in to small 1/2-inch pieces. Never force a child to eat, it’s a losing battle. As long as there are healthy choices available, let your child choose what, and how much, she wants to eat. Even the pickiest eaters will not starve, if they don’t eat very much at one meal, they usually make up for it at the next. Don’t resort to special meals, your child needs to learn you are not a short order cook. Toddlers love to be included at the table with the rest of the family. Their conversation and eating skills will improve as they try to imitate other family members.
Your child’s rest schedule should be relatively the same each day. As your toddler gets older, he may require less sleep and want to be awake more. Take a cue from your child and eliminate naps he doesn’t seem to need. Create a routine, check your toddlers diaper, perhaps read him a story or sins a lullaby to help him transition to nap time. Let other caregivers know what your child’s schedule is. Whether your child is in daycare or being cared for by a family member occasionally, knowing the child’s sleepy times and fussy times will help them understand your toddler’s needs and feel more confident in caring for them. Take time for yourself – New Moms will benefit from napping while your toddler is napping. Just taking time to put your feet up, grab a healthy snack, or read a magazine can do wonders to help you re charge. Taking care of an active toddler all day is hard work!
Humans are social creatures, and toddlers are “wired” to seek interaction with their care givers. Daily play time with your toddler reinforces the adult-child bond, helps your child discover new things, and promotes communication. Talk about what you are doing, “Let’s play blocks.” or “Roll the green ball to me.” Encourage your child’s interests – Whether she is learning to stack blocks or put them into a container, praise her efforts and encourage her to do it again. Have fun – Sing, read, and laugh together, really take the time to enjoy each other’s company.