Children benefit greatly from open-ended time where they are in their parents' view but have some independence in solving problems and determining how the play proceeds.
We all have heard the dreaded ‘terrible twos’ and no doubt raising a toddler can be a tough job. Temper tantrums, power struggles, the highs of boundless energy and the inevitable crashes when that energy runs out are all part of the territory. However, raising a toddler can also be a lot of fun. Toddlers are fascinated by even the most mundane tasks and objects. Have an old flashlight that doesn’t work? Give it to a toddler and he will be enthralled in seconds. Toddlers still see their parents as the center of the universe. They will want to show off for you and connect in ways that they will change over time.
here are some simple strategies that you can use to help ease the stress of parenting a toddler and allow you to enjoy this time:
- Budget in extra time to go places. We’ve all been there, you were supposed to be somewhere fifteen minutes ago but somehow you’re still trying to get your toddler ready and out the door. Instead of seemingly always rushing around to make it to an appointment on time, plan in some extra time, even just five or ten minutes, into your schedule. This way you won’t be stressed when he can’t decide what shoes to wear or wants to do it himself.
- Take time to play. Toddlers are learning at a record pace and one of the ways they learn is through play. So take the time to just play with him. Set aside your work, the dishes, laundry or whatever else needs to be done and build a fort, read stories, bake treats, color or just run around outside. He is going to grow up so fast so make the most of the moment.
- Enjoy your little parrot. As your toddler begins talking she will mimic what you say. This is one key way that she learns new words and how to pronounce them correctly so encourage her parroting behavior and talk to her often. You’ll be amazed at how much her vocabulary expands. Just remember that she will likely repeat what you say so be careful what you say around her.
- Take time for yourself. We all need a break sometimes. Accept offers from those you trust to baby-sit and take some time for yourself. When your child goes to bed relax, nap, read a book, listen to music, take a bath, or call a friend. Seek out friends or relatives to give you help when you are tired, frustrated or just need someone to talk to. It helps to share those special moments, or those difficult days, with another adult. Playgroups, parenting groups, and family centers can be great ways to meet other parents who may be going through the same things as you.
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This guide contains a variety of age-appropriate activities that can help support and strengthen your child's learning and development skills.