Toddler Blog

Category - Parent

What To Do In A Long, Long Queue

What’s a mama to do when stuck in a long, long queue? Even as a grown up, even without a toddler in my arms, I admit I hate waiting in line. But waiting is a part of life and learning patience & delayed gratification is one of the most valuable lessons we can give our kids. Here are our best tips for keeping your tot happy while waiting in line!

1. Play a game of Eye Spy! This is a mini scavenger hunt for the eyes. See if your little one can find all of the red things in the room. How about all the number 2s on a sign?

2. Make silly faces together. You may not have time for much makeup, but you can put that compact mirror to good use.  Your little will learn muscle control and how to recognize emotional cues.

3. Clap out a rhythm. If you tap twice quickly, can your kiddo repeat that beat? Try different sounds and speeds.

4. Play a mini game of Follow The Leader. Encourage your tot to watch closely then repeat a movement the very best they can. Vary speed and size to keep it interesting!

5. Guess the hand! Put a coin in one hand behind your back, then bring them back to have your little guess which hand the coin is in. Take turns hiding.

6. Name your faves. Older toddlers will love to chat and bond with you over all their favorite things. What’s your fave color, number, animal, song, or snack to eat?

7. Enlist the help of a toy friend. An old teddy bear becomes a perfect puppet when stuck in line. Give him a funny voice and let him tell your kiddo a short story!

8. Pack a prop. A deck of cards or a few pipe cleaners can keep tiny hands busy while you wait. Best of all, they require little space and make no mess.

9. Blow bubbles outside. Epic lines at theme parks are a breeze with these! Have your littles pop as many of them as they can!

10. Get tech savvy with your voice recorder app! Kids will be mesmerized by hearing themselves in the play back. And don’t forget, you’ll make your parents day by sending them the undeniably cute audio clips afterwards!

 

 

 

EASE THE GOODBYE BLUES!

Saying goodbye isn’t easy, especially for our kiddos. What may be just a couple hours apart can look like an eternity in their little eyes… But there are some simple steps parents can take to help EASE THE GOODBYE BLUES!

 

Prepare them in advance! Tell your child multiple times when you are leaving, who will be coming to play with them, when you’ll be back, what you’ll do when you return, etc etc. Details and repetition give them security! Just make sure you are super positive every time you go over the plan. You can even ask them questions and let them respond with the answers you’ve gone over multiple times. This technique assures they’re retaining all the info you’ve given them!

Establish a set goodbye routine! Now that you’ve reviewed how the separate time is going to go, it’s time to keep your farewell short, sweet, and predictable. Acknowledging your tot’s feelings of sadness is important, as is reassuring them that you’ll be back, but then you need to move on your way. Maybe you always share a special bear hug or you kiss the cat on your way out. Just keep it consistent. Then exit with love in a positive, confident that way will show you trust whomever is watching over them.

Mix the familiar with something new! If a babysitter is coming over, make sure your little’s security blanket or favorite toy is nearby. Then plan for a fresh and exciting object or activity to be explored once you’ve gone. A new set of watercolors may be all your kiddo needs to see the babysitter’s visit as a positive experience. At the very least, it will serve as a minor distraction to soften the initial goodbye. Even if your child does cry once you walk out the door, the babysitter will have something specific to bring your LO’s attention back to!

 

 

Little People & Their Pets

Very quickly, an innocent baby can become a toddler terror to your pet! A once adoring dog may not know what to make of this mini person teetering around the house. So here are a few of our best tips to help you keep a peaceful household between LITTLE PEOPLE & THEIR PETS! 

Create a positive interaction for your pup! Give your pet a treat every time he obeys your toddler’s “Sit!” or lets your little brush his fur. Even more so, give him a treat as payment if he patiently puts up with ear tugs and the like!

Avoid rough housing. Chasing, wrestling, and tug of war can all escalate too quickly for a toddler or pet to keep calm. Stay safe by steering clear of these rough games so no one gets confused or hurt. A friendly game of fetch is the way to go!

Exercise elsewhere. If you have a particularly energetic pet or kiddo, let them exercise and expel excess energy before interacting with one another!

Lead by example. Teach your little to never pull something out of a dog’s mouth, to approach from the side, and to use gentle actions.

Designate safety zones! Keep pets out of kids’ bedrooms so there are less issues when it comes to missing toys or sleepless nights. And make one elevated spot in the house off limits to your tot for your pet’s sanity!

Alternatives To Time-Outs!

Whether you’re a fan of the ol’ Time Out or not, every parent needs a variety of discipline tactics in their arsenal to help keep the family peace! Here are a few of our favorite Alternatives To Time-Outs!

1. Try a Time-In! Sometimes when a kiddos is super tired, hungry, or just plain overwhelmed – They’re acting out because their needs are not being met. Why not take a few moments alone with your child to help them adjust? Maybe a snuggle, a snack, or a calm chat is all they need to cool down. Your focused, undivided attention is often a cure-all.

2. Aim to distract! Littles may continually act out even after you’ve told them no what feels like a million times. When they can’t resist the temptation and your patience is wearing thin, try completely changing the situation. Bring out a new item to explore, get up and change locations, do a silly tap dance if you must. Humor goes a long way in parenting! Anything to distract them and move on to a new adventure together.

3. Call a Do-Over! Instead of just jumping to a Time-Out, take a crack at empowering your child to make a wiser decision on their own. Even as an adult I often wish for a chance at a Do-Over. If your kiddo makes a better decision this second time around, make sure to celebrate it! Letting go of the previous mistake and keeping positive will make everyone’s lives a lot easier!

Alternatives To “NO!”

No parent or caregiver wants to hear themselves saying “NO!” every minute. And the heated word loses it’s power the more we use it. So what’s a grown up to do when trying to raise a kiddo in the safest, most positive way possible? Try out our favorite Alternatives To “NO!” and see which can be most effective for you!

1. Ask yourself, is this actually dangerous or just inconvenient? Sometimes our gut reaction is to say No to a child’s natural exploration. Mostly because their curiosity often leads to a huge mess. Instead of wasting a No on a silly situation, pick your battles. Is it really the end of the world if your kiddo takes out the tupperware from the drawer? If not, let them be. A small inconvenience isn’t worth a fight. But if you have company coming over and it is a definite No, save your words and distract your child instead. Move into a different room and take out a new thing for your kiddo to examine.

2. Play with your language! Saying, “Stop!” when a toddler is getting ready to touch the oven is more powerful than the hundredth No of the day. It’s an action that warns of danger ahead. Saying, “Not for Julie” when your little one keeps ouching your makeup bag makes it clear that this particular item is off limits to her. Saying, “We cannot play here if you bite” is a sure-fire way to get your point across. Vary your language and even your tone, and you’ll be more likely to get a positive outcome.

3. Offer a better solution. Simply stating, “No, we can’t stay at Oliver’s” is no doubt going to illicit a negative reaction from your little one. Lessen the impact by giving two options. We can hug Oliver bye bye now OR we can call him from the car to say goodbye. What do you think? Empowering our kids in even the smallest ways can help them make wiser decisions and keep the family peace!

What To Do When Expecting Baby #2!

What if just when you think you’ve got this Toddler thing figured out, a new baby is on the way?! We’re here to help ease the transition for you and your tot with “WHAT TO DO WHEN EXPECTING BABY #2!”

1.  Don’t expect your toddler to get too excited right away. Even if Jacob has a little sister, your little guy may not fully understand what’s to come over the next 9 months. With that said, things will become a lot more real when he can feel a tangible belly kick or hold his new sibling.

2. Reminisce about when your toddler was also a baby! How small were her feet and how cute was her toothless grin? Toddlers love to be the center of attention, so show off their old baby pictures and tell stories of how tiny they were once too!

3. Set realistic expectations. Babies cry A LOT. They wake us up in the middle of the night and use a ton of diapers. Have your toddler take care of a baby doll along side you, just make sure he knows the real thing will be a lot louder!

4. Give your little helper a specific job! Can they rub the baby’s lotion onto his arms? Or choose the baby’s pajamas? Your toddler will feel a special sense of pride as a big sibling if they have a say in the baby’s life.

5. Allow your toddler a few toys that are private and off limits to the new bundle. This will help keep her identity in tact and help her to feel like she too has privileges as the bigger kid.

Finally, quality alone time and special treats never hurt either. But most important is just remembering that your toddler is still a baby too! And so they need as much attention and affection as your newest addition. Enjoy cuddling two with both arms!

Top Tips For Toddler Transitions

Toddlers and Transitions are words that do NOT flow together. Any parent or teacher can tell you that. But learning how to move from one thing to the next without throwing a tantrum is a life skill all of us (from tots on up) need to learn! Here are our top tips for helping your toddler learn to transition!

1. Recognize and acknowledge their feelings. “I can see you’re sad because you don’t want Mommy to leave.” Just hearing their inner feelings said aloud is sometimes enough to calm a child down. Many times most of their frustration is caused by feeling unheard or misunderstood.

2. Get down to their eye level and speak calmly. Okay, we admit this is easier said than done with a screaming kiddo. But they will feed off of your energy. Try your best to keep perspective, even when they still have none, and you’ll be leading the way to a more communicative future together.

3. Give your little one a warning. Imagine you were at a party having a grand old time when someone unexpectedly told you, “Time to put your shoes on and go!” Anyone would have a hard time with that. We all need a warning to know what is coming next.

4. Offer two choices. “Would you like to hop or get a piggy back ride to the car?” Two choices offer toddlers independence while still giving you the desired outcome you need to keep your day moving forward.

5. Create some transition rituals. The best teachers do this beautifully! Singing a favorite Clean Up Song helps saying goodbye to the toy trains a little bit easier. Picking a flower on the way home from the park makes leaving a little less terrible. When kiddos know what to expect, they can relax into the next activity, and so can you!

Getting An Early Start Appreciating Art!

We believe it’s never too early to start appreciating art! But how do we get those little pair of eyes ready for some big art adventure?

A great way to begin is just to ask “What do you see?” or “What do you notice?” You may be surprised to learn which detail is most captivating to them.

Next, ask them what the story is! If it’s a portrait, ask who the person in the picture is. If there are multiple characters, ask who they are to one another.

If the art is more abstract, start literal and then dig deeper. Ask “What colors do you see?” before asking “How does it make you feel?”

Try your hardest to use open ended questions instead of leading your little to what you believe is the “right” answer. Kids of all ages will love that their opinions are being heard. Especially if you can validate them by saying things like, “I see that too!”

PRESCHOOL PREPPED!

Getting ready for the start of preschool is one of the most exciting (and challenging!) times in a toddler’s life. Moms often ask us to share how to best prep their little one for this new chapter. So here are our top tips on how to get your kiddo PRESCHOOL PREPPED!

1. Visit beforehand. Plan a mini tour with your little, taking note of all the fun details the space has to offer. The red door, the caterpillar picture hanging on the wall, the green leggo table, etc etc.

2. Snap photos to bring home with you! Having the visual reminders of all these things will become a huge source of comfort for your soon-to-be preschooler! It’s especially helpful if you get a great snapshot of your soon-to-be teacher too.

3. Tell the school story! For example: “When we go back to school on Monday, we will push open the big red door, say Good Morning to the caterpillar picture, and then you can play on the green leggo table! What will you build?” Play this story out over and over again until your kiddo can tell it themselves.

4. Plan a post-preschool date. To assure kids you will be back, talk about what you will do after you pick them up. Will you listen to a special song in the car or get an after school snack together?

5. Listen. Sometimes a little one’s fears are kept inside because no one thought to ask them.  Although it’s tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on, instead let your child know that their worries have been heard.  Then you can address any fears before moving forward with this milestone together!