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Your Two-Year-Old

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 06:32pm
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It is important to remember that no matter how old a child is, all areas of development are intertwined, and progress depends on nurturing every facet of development – social, intellectual, language, emotional, gross and fine motor. Each child develops at his own pace within a distinct period of time. Every child is unique and requires different care.

Toddlerhood is a balancing act for everyone, as your child struggles between the need to be independent and try so many new things and the need to rely on and feel protected by parents and caregivers. As a result, toddlers shift suddenly in their emotions, going from "me do it" to tantrums when they are frustrated. She wants help, but then again, she doesn't – it's all part of becoming an individual. Lots of patience and encouragement are essential, as parents and caregivers guide toddlers who need to do so much for themselves. Toddlers cope much better with separation and are better equipped to form new attachments. Although routines are important, so are flexibility and giving your toddler easy choices. Parents and caregivers are beginning to see a real sense of their child's temperament and personality.

Your toddler demonstrates a new level of self-awareness - by how he calls himself by name, identifies body parts, recognizes himself and family in a photograph, dresses himself and has a simple understanding of having his own things. Practicing self-help skills is an important part of a toddler's day, and many children begin toilet training during this time. Toddlers can communicate feelings, desires and interests using words and gestures. They also have a good idea of where things are located in and around the house or at child care.

By age two, many toddlers can play on their own and concentrate on an activity for a brief period of time. There is more and more pretend play with props, looking at books and singing simple songs. As toddlers gain more control over their bodies, they love to run, kick balls, jump and climb, get on and off chairs, step backwards and sideways, go up and down the stairs and push and pull toys. As the movements of the small muscles become more refined, toddlers can do simple puzzles, take lids off jars, fit a series of objects into one another, draw vertical lines, turn pages of a book one at a time, build bigger towers and use a fork. It is during this age range that children begin to sort and match things, count, tell the difference between "one" and "many" and start distinguishing colours and shapes.

Toddlers continue to play alongside other children. Sharing can be encouraged at this age, although it should not be expected to be perfect. At times, toddlers become very frustrated, especially if they are unable to make themselves understood, and may bite others as well as hit or pull hair. A lot of play is accompanied by language, as now toddlers have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words. They can name familiar everyday objects, use two-word sentences and communicate whole ideas with one word, such as "milk" for "I want a glass of milk." Sometimes it can be a difficult task for parents and caregivers to figure out exactly what the child wants. Toddlers begin to have a basic understanding of time, such as "soon," "not now," and "after your nap," but do not have a concept of "yesterday." And "no" is still a very popular word with the two-year old!

It is very important to give your toddler plenty of opportunities to cooperate with household chores: setting the table, cleaning spills, cooking, loading and unloading the washing machine, sorting dirty clothes, etc. Your toddler has a fascination for all these activities and by allowing her to participate in them you are not only making her feel important and helpful to the family, but you are also giving her a great opportunity to develop inner aptitudes for concentration, order, calmness, coordination, and motor skills, as well as teaching her to take care of her environment.

 

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How do toddlers learn to share?

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:26pm
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Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn't expect a child to really understand "sharing" until age four.

It's not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child's point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it's okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Toddlers just know that they want something, and they want it now. Toddlers first have to develop a sense of who they are, and then start to learn about ownership of things. Even though toddlers enjoy being near other children, and even want to do the same thing, they still want their own space and toys. It's all part of learning that they're individuals, and that they're important. Toddlers seem to have unique rules of ownership, such as, "I didn't want it until you had it" or "It's mine because I want it." 

If by age four your child still doesn't cooperate with others, and is hostile, it's best to get some help. Consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.

 

How did you encourage your toddler to share? Leave a comment below and let other parents know your tips for this parenting challenge.

 

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Toddlers Who Are Shy

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:33pm
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Some children are shy. They "hang back" in groups. They need your assistance to learn how to become comfortable talking and playing with others.

The main things to remember when trying to help a child like this to cope with new situations are:

  • Don't label a child "shy" or introduce your child as a "shy child." Sometimes children will define themselves as this and never move beyond the label.
  • Don't push your child into situations that he might find overwhelming. It's important that you accept your child's nature and help him develop ways to overcome his shyness - that may take time and patience. Instead of pushing, offer your child opportunities to be involved with others with your support.
  • Prepare your child ahead of time by talking about new situations, such as what she will encounter, or who may be there, and talk with her about ways to become involved in groups.
  • Don't nag your child about being shy. Parents who get irritable or impatient with a child's shyness may find that their child reacts by being even shyer.

Remember, every child is unique. Some children will be shy, to a greater or lesser degree, all their lives. It's important for them to feel valued for who they are.

Is your toddler shy? How do you handle it? What tips do you have for other parents in the same situation? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

 

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Help! My toddler doesn’t like to speak

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 05:13pm
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Some children seem quiet and reluctant to talk. Some don't naturally and easily use language to express their needs and wants, to comment on things, to get information or to entertain others. Other children may use language comfortably, but only in familiar situations. Being quiet in new situations is very common in children, particularly young ones. But you may be concerned that your child is too quiet, too much of the time.

There are many reasons that a child may be reluctant to speak. Two fairly common reasons are:

  • When placed in a new situation, your child may be worried about what to do, or be concerned about being away from home or from parents. For a child, deciding not to speak is one way to feel some control over an unfamiliar, somewhat scary situation.
  • Your child may feel pressured or embarrassed to speak, like the fear that many of us feel of talking in front of a crowd.

The important thing to remember is that your child isn't trying to embarrass you by not cooperating, or "acting dumb." She is just dealing with the situation as best as she can, so be patient and understanding.

If the situation doesn't improve, or gets worse - for example, you notice your child only talks to one parent, or not at all while at day care - it's time to get some help. Consult your child's physician, or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Does your child refuse to speak? Does he start talking after warming up to new people? Leave a comment below and share you experiences with other parents who are just like you!

 

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