Daily Life with your Toddler
From food fights to potty training to those blessed naps, here's how to take daily life with your toddler from defiant to delightful!
The bad news is that some kids seem to be born good sleepers, and some aren't. The good news is that falling asleep is a matter of habit, and all kids can learn it. It may take some time to develop that habit, but your busy toddler can learn to put himself to sleep, and to stay asleep, eventually.
Kids love the new-found freedom. They can’t help but test the limits. So how can you get her to form the new habit of falling asleep in her new big-girl bed without losing your mind?
Your goal is to give him a sense of control over his food, which will eliminate power struggles and later eating disorders. At the same time, of course, you want what he eats to be healthy. And, if possible, not all carbs!
The simple truth about toilet training is that if the child is ready, it happens very easily. If not, a power struggle often ensues -- and we all know that no one wins a parent-child power struggle. They all get out of diapers sooner or later. Fights with your child about his or her body are fights you will never win. What are the signs that your child might be ready for toilet training?
The crumpled face, the arms velcro-locked around your knees, the wail that rips through your heart. Virtually every parent who has left a toddler with a caregiver has experienced this. It's the normal response of a securely attached toddler who protests what she perceives as a life-threatening separation from her mother. Your toddler will learn, over time, that you do return when you leave.
There's no reason structure has to be oppressive. Think of it as your friend, offering the little routines and traditions that make life both easier and cozier. Not only will your kids will soak up the security, they'll internalize the ability to structure their own lives.
Preliminary studies indicate that TV and computer games change brain development. They shorten attention spans and heighten aggression, at least temporarily, and maybe permanently. I recommend NO screentime for toddlers, because I see the difference in so many families when the TV is off. Kids are more flexible, more creative in their play, more in touch with their emotions, more able to entertain themselves. But sometimes keeping yourself sane requires a big distraction, and if you're letting them watch TV for half an hour while you shower, and then you always turn it off, fine. But if you routinely use it so you can get stuff done, it's better to find a babysitter or a preschool program for a few hours a day. Negatively influencing brain development is too high a price to pay for keeping kids busy.