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Toddler - Week #104

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Your 24-month-old toddler (week 104)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Reaching New Milestones
           Does it seem that every day your toddler is doing something new, or after much determination, finally succeeding at things she has struggled with?  If these situations ring true for your little one, it should be of no surprise.  From this point on and over the next few months, your child is and will be more active and more interested in learning new things than she will be at any other point in her life.  Everything that happens to your toddler right now is meaningful, and with each new skill that is mastered a new stage begins.

       According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are a few specific physical milestones, as well as new feats she should have success with as she nears the age of 2.  Try your best not to blink, because these milestones will occur right before your eyes, and with so many of them occurring at once you wouldn't want to miss out on a thing.

       By this age your 24-month-old should be able to walk by herself while pulling a few of her favorite toys behind.  You may also watch in disbelief as your toddler carries more than her weight in random items, as she proceeds on her journey from one room to another throughout your house.  By this point she has also most likely figured out the stairs, but due to potential risks should not go at it alone quite yet.

       This month your little one has finally realized that she is able to reach things once thought unattainable, and she is able to stand on tippy-toes in order to grab the cookies "hidden" on the counter.  Furthermore, if she is still unable to reach the cookies, she has figured out a more creative way to climb up higher and higher until her goal is reached.

       In regards to activities, kicking a ball has become a favorite pastime, and although her skills may require some fine-tuning, they have improved quite a bit.  Your toddler's drawing skills are also vastly improving, and she is able to spontaneously create a masterpiece for your refrigerator (although you may need to use a little creativity of your own to decipher what it is).  Stacking, dumping, and sorting also occupy a great deal of your 24-month-old's time right now, so prepare to have your toddler redecorate your pantry and build towers out of soup cans as well.  Do be on the lookout for containers holding anything that may pose a danger to your toddler, because at this age she may surprise you with what she is capable of opening.  You definitely do not want it to be after the fact that you realize she has found some new hazard.

       Be sure to speak to your child's pediatrician if you have any concerns regarding reaching "normal" developmental and physical milestones.  Remember that all children develop at their own pace, and do your best not to make comparisons.  If your toddler is more focused on her communication skills right now, she may not be as interested in the physical aspects quite yet.  Furthermore, if she is a more physical child, her verbal skills may be pushed to the back-burner, only to be focused on when she's run out of things to climb on.  Never hesitate to voice any concerns when it comes to your child...there is no such thing as a silly or stupid question, and peace of mind is priceless.


Fine and Gross Motor Skills
           As you near closer to the two-year mark, images of your toddler crawling and learning to walk are becoming fond, yet distant memories.  Your little baby is now a full-fledged toddler, walking, running, jumping, and becoming quite adept at avoiding accidental crashes.

       During your toddler's 24th month, he is quickly discovering how to walk backwards and sideways, and also gets a good chuckle gazing at the world from upside-down.  He may even get a kick out of trying to balance on one foot, but don't expect much success with this initially.

       Your toddler's dexterity is rapidly beginning to improve now, and you will notice that a great portion of his day is spent practicing and then practicing some more.  Tasks which so recently were difficult, like turning pages in a book, or linking Legos together, are almost second nature, and at this point he's on to bigger and better challenges.

       Transporting small items from one place to the next, and trying to figure out how various items fit together can occupy your little one for hours, so be sure to provide him with numerous opportunities to focus on these skills.  Try to think outside of the box when it comes to trying new activities, and by the way, if you thought your little one had moved beyond the "touch everything" stage...think again.


           Simon Says (For Toddlers)       

       Simon Says is a wonderful activity that reinforces your toddler's listening skills while learning to mirror and move her body in new ways.  Of course, at this young age your toddler can not be expected to understand the real rules of the game, where the words "Simon Says" must precede the command in order to follow your directions.  Instead, I've come up with an abridged version of Simon Says that works just as well for this age, so leave that part of the game on the bench for the time being.

       For this version of the game, have your toddler stand facing you a few feet away.  Next, give a command for your toddler to follow and simultaneously do the action that corresponds.  For example say, "Simon Says touch your head," then face your toddler and touch your head while encouraging her to do the same.  Continue to go through all of her body parts then move onto sillier things like, "Simon Says spin around."  Be sure to say "Simon Says" before all of your requests, because if she gets the hang of it this way, it will be easier to teach her the regular version when she gets older.  Get creative and see how many new things you can get your toddler to try.  And remember...the sillier you get, the more fun the game becomes.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           My 24-month-old boys, Andrew and Devin love to mimic.  Lately, I feel as if I'm living in a house with two parrots who are constantly at my heels watching my every move...I've learned to be very careful regarding what I say and do in their presence.  With this in mind, I believed that Simon Says would be the perfect activity to grab their attention, and hopefully hold it for a little while too.

       Learning very quickly that my boys' attention is fleeting lately, I brought them into the living room and removed anything that I thought may cause them to "drift."  I then stood them next to one another but a few feet apart (in order to avoid a fight), and faced them towards me about an arm's length away (so I could separate a fight once it inevitably began).

       Once I had them in position, and while I had control of the room, I quickly seized the moment and said, "Simon Says touch your nose!"  Poor Andrew looked at me so confused, and said inquisitively, "Simon?"  Devin immediately followed up his question so matter-of-factly by saying, "No Simon.  Mommy."  Kids are so literal at this age, it's quite funny.

       Trying again, but armed now with my new version of "Mommy Says," I gave it another shot.  "Mommy Says touch your nose!"  Wa La!  Total success.  My boys and I were able to play our own version of the game going from head to toe, jumping, spinning, hi-fiving, dancing, rolling, and in the end, a whole lot of laughing too.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           How can I improve my toddler's eating habits?       

       Many toddlers nearing the age of 2 do not eat a balanced diet every day.  In fact, it's often difficult to get your toddler to eat the foods that he has approved to be in his repertoire, let alone allow you to make a few additions.  Because picky eating is quite normal right now, do your best to incorporate healthy foods throughout the day, and aim for providing your toddler foods from all of the food groups over the course of the week, instead of over the course of each day.

       Keep in mind that although your toddler may not be eating as well as you would hope, as long as he is growing at a normal rate and energetic throughout the day, there is little need for concern.  This is a time in your toddler's development when he is not growing as fast as in the past, and does not require as many calories as before.

       Ideally at this age, your toddler should be eating like the rest of the family, having 3 meals and 2 snacks daily.  Most likely however, he will only eat one or possibly two full meals, and fill the rest of his daily requirements with snacks.  If this is the situation you are finding with your toddler, try your best to provide your little one with healthy options when he is eating, and set a good example for him to learn from.  Sooner or later he will be right back on track, and your biggest problem then will be stopping him from eating you out of house and home.


Decorate a Halloween Treat Bag
By Julie Stiglets, edHelperBaby

                 If you are looking for something fun to do with your child this Halloween, this may be it.  Try letting your little one decorate a bag to use for their Halloween treats.  There are several different types and sizes of bags you can find: canvas tote bags, cotton backpacks, craft paper bags, etc.  You should be able to find one or more of these bags at your local craft store, like Michael's or on the Internet and my favorite is www.orientaltrading.com.  WalMart also sells craft paper bags, as well as others, in their craft section.  You will also need one or more of the following to help decorate the treat bags:  fabric paint, fabric paint pens, stencils, Halloween stamps, crayons, etc.  You can even cut Halloween shapes out of sponges and do some sponge painting!  Decide which way of decorating would be best for your child and have fun.

             If your child is very young, you may want to just use crayons on a craft paper bag or let them use stamps.  You could use Halloween shaped sponges and let them sponge paint.   If your child is a little older, it may be fun for them to use fabric paint or stencils to make their own "spooky" scene.  Remember to be there to supervise and offer help if needed.  Whether you are going trick or treating, to a festival or to a party, your child will be excited and proud to carry their Halloween treat bag!  Your child can use their bag again next year or you may want to save it for a keepsake and continue this fun activity for years to come!  Enjoy!       

Germ Season
By Stacy Dennis, edHelperBaby

           During this germ-filled time of year, how can we keep our children form getting sick?  Germs are everywhere, but we cannot see them.  That is why it is especially important to take special precautions, especially during the cold and flu season.       

       Toddlers are extremely susceptible to germs because they want to touch everything they see.  Just walking through the mall they will trip and put their hands on the floor, climb up on benches, and touch windows as you walk by stores.  The next thing you know you will look down and see them sucking their thumb.  There is no way to get away from germs, but you can minimize the amount of germs your child runs into.  I try to make it a point to use hand sanitizer on my toddler's hands (as well as my own) every time we get into the car.  I do this as soon as I strap him into his car seat.  This way I know that all of the germs we picked up at the store are gone.  Often times the car is a place where toddlers are rubbing their eyes, or sucking their thumbs.  If their hands are clean, you do not have to give it a second thought.       

       Another big area where toddler's can pick up germs is a restaurant.  Highchairs and tabletops are covered in germs.  Even if they appear to be clean, they often are not.  A toddler spends much of his time touching that table and fiddling with the strap of the highchair.  By the time dinner is served, his hands are filthy.  I recommend carrying disinfectant wipes with you and wiping down the table in front of your child and around their highchair.  Another option is to use the disposable placemats.  These are easy ways to prevent sickness and promote a healthy lifestyle.       

       If you just take these small precautions with your child, you can hopefully prevent them from catching a cold or two this season.  Every little bit we do helps.  It would not be practical, or healthy for us to run around sanitizing everything our toddler touched.  In fact, running into some germs is healthy as it is how we build our immune systems.    What is important is that we take a consistent approach to keeping our hands clean.  This can go a long way towards a healthier life style for all of us!       

Calming Your Hyper Toddler
By Samantha Knapp, edHelperBaby

           A toddler's neurological system is developing and processing an amazing amount of sensory information every day.  Sometimes a child's body requires an acceptable outlet for meeting those sensory needs.  Toddlers learn with their entire bodies and this is why it is often difficult to sit them down at a table and try to engage them in a quiet activity.  They often wiggle, jump and run away from seat work activities.   It is important for a toddler to learn when it is appropriate to jump and be hyper and when it is not.  For example, it is dinner time and your sweet little darling is not ready to sit for his or her meal.  She might get a case of the wiggles or even the giggles.  His toes might jump around and he might just not be capable of sitting still.  Your child is actually behaving properly for this age group.  It can be difficult, especially if you are trying to eat at a friend's home or at a restaurant.  This is why I would like to suggest some methods that will help your child relax and sit still longer.

       Before a toddler needs to sit down and quietly do an activity or sit and eat a meal, I suggest that you give him or her a 20 minute energy buster activity.  This means that you can set your timer for 20 minutes and tell your busy beaver that it is time to move their body.  Put music on and dance. Jump on the trampoline.  Gather some carpet squares and play a "jump to each carpet" game.  Have fun, laugh and get that body moving.  It is a great workout for both parent and child and it is so much fun.  Allowing your child an outlet for the energy he or she has, will help when it is time to sit down and focus on the quieter task that is pending.  This does not mean that your toddler will magically stay seated at the table and not get up to leave but it just helps calm him or her down.  Humans are a very sensory species and we all crave certain activities that help relax us or help us get rid of excess energy.  Once the timer goes off, tell your child that his or her body needs to rest now and that it is time for a quiet activity.

       Now, I choose the 20 minute energy buster time out of a hat but you will have to learn what the best energy buster time is right for your child.  Have fun. Get your body moving and bust that energy!       

Is a Halloween Party too Scary for my Child ?
By Emilee Rogers, edHelperBaby

       Depending on the age of your baby and what kind of party you have, your family can enjoy a spooky Halloween party.  Most children do not like anything scary and will be petrified if you have a big party with everyone dressed up scaring each other. Your child needs to know that a stranger is not picking her up, yes, you are the lady in the wig.  Make sure she is familiar with everything you are putting on before hand. You will need to re-introduce her to people as they arrive so she feels safe.       

   If you are throwing a party for a playgroup, try not to over do it. The party should not last more than forty-five minutes for two year old children. You can easily put together a party by hanging some orange and black crepe paper, matching tablecloth, cup's, and napkins.

       Line the room with pumpkin's ( carved or not ). Since the theme is Halloween, you could have each child decorate paper bags as lanterns with crayons to take home. Below is a quick recipe for a ghoulish snack.       

       Earthly cupcakes       
  • One box cupcakes cooked and cooled according to directions on back
  • Gummy worms ( two per cupcake)
  • Chocolate pudding prepared
  • Chocolate cookies crushed in sandwich bag
       Take the chocolate pudding and frost each cupcake.       

       Place a tablespoon of crushed cookie and put on top of frosting.       

       Place two worms in the cupcake so they look like they are coming out of the "dirt".       


Our Halloween Party!
By Julie Stiglets, About my child Emma and Riley

           Two years ago we decided to have a Halloween party for our girls.  Emma was two and Riley was six months old.  We invited a bunch of family and friends.  I purchased the large white craft paper bags and had markers, crayons and stamps for the children to use to decorate them.  Most of the children we invited were young so this worked out great for them.   Emma was able to do more on her own, whereas I had to help Riley my six month old daughter use the stamps and colors.  She really did not know what was going on but I have cute pictures and great memories.  My girls did use them for their treats on Halloween.  Emma was proud to have her own bag that she colored!  I hope you enjoy this activity as we did.

By Stacy Dennis, About my child Jackson

           My niece is in town for the weekend.  As I watch her and my son Jack play, it makes me a little nervous about what is to come.  I am pregnant, so Jack is about to be a big brother.  He is such a show-off when his cousin is around.  He is trying to get all of the attention back on him.  He cannot stand for us to clap for her.  He has to automatically do something bigger and better so we will clap for him too.  He does not want to share his toys, the word "mine" has been heard over and over again.  I am hoping that this stage will pass and he will enjoy being a big brother.  I am not sure what I can do to help ease the transition into brotherhood.  I am hoping that he will not feel the need to be a show off forever.  For now, I guess we will just enjoy the stage he is in.  I am really trying to make a point to do that, even when I get frustrated.  They grow up too fast.

My Nipple Name!
By Samantha Knapp, About my child Sienna Brooke

           We have been talking a lot about names in our family and I told my toddler that her middle name is "Brooke".  She said her name over and over "Sienna Brooke", "Sienna Brooke".  She seemed to grasp the idea of first name and middle name.  Later in the evening some friends dropped in and Sienna promptly  told them her middle name.  She then turned to the father of the family and asked him, "What your Nipple Name?".  We all knew what she meant but it was the funniest thing to hear.  Our friend promptly answered and said, "My nipple name is David".

Our Halloween Party
By Emilee Rogers, About my child Keianna Rogers

           When Keianna was little, I tried taking her to go see all the Halloween things around town. I ended up scaring her so bad that she did not like anything that even looked scary for a long time. Then we found the Halloween pumpkin patches that magically pop up around town in October. They have a pumpkin patch, kid rides, and jump houses. Some have petting zoos and train rides. It was a way to show her that Halloween can be fun and I had fun at the same time.       


     Dinner Time
Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!
Pretty Colored Bubbles

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