If your toddler could talk . . .
Everyone knows that a toddler has no concept of New Year Resolutions, but if toddlers could look back to this time of their lives, here is what they would say.
Mom and Dad – I love you, but you have got to learn to “let go.” Keep me safe but let me explore.
There is no need for helicopter parenting unless I am in an unsafe place, such as a train station. At the park, in my baby proof home, or the child play area at the mall, I need you to trust me. For too long, I have been confined by my own immobility. Now that I have learned to walk, balance, and talk, I am ready for a rapid expansion of my capabilities.
You think that I climb too high, but I know when I feel scared. Let me wander these areas to choose the activities that capture my attention. It may seem to you that I flit from place to place, but that is how we toddlers learn about our world.
Provide me with toys that are just right for me. Make sure the items are easy for me to use.
Let Me Move: Now that I have mastered moving around, I cannot sit still for very long. Let Me Move! If it is cramped in our home, take me outside. I like to run, jump and play, but I also like the right type of vehicle. A balance bike is perfect for me. I don’t have to worry about pedals to whiz around.
Start your LO off as soon as they can walk. This bike provides them the support they need to move quickly as well as giving them an opportunity to improve their balance skills. Enjoy walks along the sidewalk or on the hard packed path in the woods. Your toddler will enjoy the freedom of moving as fast as you walk.
Building: I like big blocks I can stack. They need to fit together easily but include a challenge for me. Those half circles and triangular blocks spark new thinking pathways as I use them in my design. I know that you like helping me build but that often frustrates me. Give me some time to experiment on my own. I like it when you show me something for a couple of minutes and then fade into the background so I can take the lead.
These lightweight blocks are perfect for a toddler. They will not be hurt if the structure collapses. Nor will the foam blocks damage your floor or furniture. They are easily transportable, so you can take them with you if you go visiting or to a restaurant.
Do It My Way: Please figure in some extra time for all those daily tasks so I can do it my way. Let me put my socks and shoes on. I want to learn how to button or zipper my coat. I know that I take longer than if you did those things for me. But I have the drive to learn to do them. Encourage my independence in every small way. Some toys will let me try these practical skills to my heart’s content. You will be surprised at how much time I will spend with them to master these everyday skills.
With this busy board, your toddler can master many different types of fasteners, so they will develop their skills quickly when it comes to everyday tasks. This activity is easily packed for a trip to the doctor or a car ride to grandma’s house. The busy board includes a whiteboard and a place to fasten down a coloring book for creative activities.
Give Me Lots of Choices: Since I like to be in charge, give me choices. It can be as simple as do you want your frog socks or your dinosaur ones? When I choose, then I feel in control. By giving me choice over the things that are not important to you, you are building my independence. If I am given lots of choice, I will be more likely to comply when it comes time for no negotiation.
With 12 pairs of socks, there will always be a choice. With so many unique designs your toddler’s socks will be a point of conversation with everyone they meet.
Set Firm Guidelines: I understand rules better when the rule always applies. You can insist on holding hands before crossing the street, making me wear a jacket and hat in the bitter cold and not touching anything on the stove. These are ways to keep me safe. If you quietly explain the danger and the reason for the rule, I will begin to understand why you are so insistent.
This adorable winter set is bound to be a hit with your young daughter. However, there will come the days when you will need to explain that wearing a hat is not up for discussion. This is the time for no choice. In cold weather, everyone must be covered up.
Putting Up with Teething: Expect that I will not be feeling well when getting my teeth. I will need some help in being more comfortable at this time.
This complete tooth care kit will satisfy your toddler through the teething time. Use the giraffe to massage sore gums. Encourage the use of the flexible toothbrush to prepare your LO for the time when it is necessary to start brushing and use the soother that delivers taste for comfort.
Creativity: Make sure that the crayons are large and mark easily. I like coloring in a scribble pattern. Sometimes I will stay in the lines, but at times, the lines don’t confine my creativity. And yes, I may taste that beautiful red crayon, so having an edible type is a way of keeping me safe yet allowing me to experience the world my way.
This just-right coloring set will leave your mind at ease. The crayons are made so that no harm will happen if they have a bite or two out of them. The images in the book are just right for this age group. And don’t worry about your walls. The crayon marks are washable. Honeystick crayons are made from pure beeswax.
Challenge my Intellect: Find the puzzles that are right for my abilities. Start with ones where I fit one shape, such as a boat into a background. Then find more complicated puzzles. If you rotate my toys once a week, they will seem new all of the time. I also love sensory activities such as food, finger painting, water play, and mud puddles. Let me get dirty. You know I love bath time.
The very first puzzles need to be durable and simple. These wooden puzzles can also act as toys when the pieces are out of their background. These puzzles are easy to handle as they have a grab hole for small fingers. You can add the beginning letters for each animal in their special spot to start some literacy skills.
These sensory balls have interesting features for your little one to explore. Pack some in your purse or backpack for the times when you need a quick distraction. Make sure you introduce them first to see which ones are the most effective. Then put away the best ones for the time when nothing else seems to catch your LO’s fancy. Pull out the sensory balls to smooth your way through a situation.
When Things Go Wrong: Expect that there will be emotional times. Realize that when I get grumpy or defiant, that I may be hungry, thirsty, tired, or sick. You know my routines. I am happiest when I can follow them because the routines take care of my physical needs. And if all physical problems are taken care of and I am still grumpy, I need to be reassured that everything is ok. Give me a snuggle and hold me tight until I feel calm.
As you snuggle your child, you can start a deep breathing app to help them calm down. If you train your child ahead of time, this can be a useful tool to use during a time of emotional upset. The app shows you when to breathe in, when to hold the breath and when to breathe out. It is accompanied by soothing background music.
Manage the Family Schedule: You know I need naptime right after lunch. Explain to your friends that you can meet at 2:30, when I am refreshed. Don’t assume that I can be adaptable as I need my routines. However, if you want to go on a long drive, schedule it for when I can sleep in the car. You will be happier, if you make these adjustments.
Sleep Time: Help me fall asleep. Start off with a bedtime story so I can have some special time with you. It helps to have a comfy buddy to settle down with. After the story, use soothing music and twinkly lights to help me settle down. Help me learn to settle on my own, as this is a skill I will need all of my life.
There are so many good stories from which to choose. But any book that has surprises wins the hearts of this age group. The book is sturdy enough for you to have your toddler lift the flaps for themselves.
These are the things that every toddler needs. Toddlers hope that all parents can remember that these years are the foundation that promotes healthy growth. Yes, our constant demands can seem overwhelming, but oh too soon will we grow out of this stage to face new adventures.
These resolutions are ways to help me be happy, safe, and calm.
A happier me results in a more joyous family life.
Toddler Toys: Select the right Toddler Toys for this developmental stage.
Best Busy Books for Toddlers: These books are engaging, ready-made, and affordable.
The Best Outdoor Toys for Toddlers to promote an active physical life.