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Toddler - Week #105

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Your 25-month-old toddler (week 105)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Language Development
           Now that your toddler has reached the age of two, watch and listen closely as she quickly transforms into a little pre-school right before your eyes.  This is the month when you truly begin to understand why it's so important to enjoy every second you have together, because she is growing up faster than you could have ever imagined.

       Besides the obvious physical changes that you continue to see every day, your toddler's vocabulary and mastery of the English language will begin to impress you just as much.  At the age of two, your toddler has a personal dictionary containing approximately 50-100 words, and long gone are the days of waiting so patiently for the occasional Mama or Dada.  This month, your toddler may also be up to a few new challenges, and you will hear her attempting to use pronouns during conversation.  However, if she does find them a little too confusing to figure out, you can expect her to leave them out entirely.

       Keep in mind that your toddler's personal vocabulary may range anywhere from a few dozen words to well over 500 hundred right now, so once again, try your best not to compare her progress to anyone else's but her own.  If your 25-month-old toddler is focused on improving her communication skills right now, she may have already begun to combine words and is forming quite impressive sentences by now.  On the other hand, if she is more interested in figuring out how things work, or how she can manage to climb to the top of the bookshelf, she may have just begun to link two or more simple words together creating very short phrases.

       If the latter situation is the one that you find your own toddler in, watch closely as she grows and develops over the course of this next year.  Most likely as she becomes more and more confident with expressing herself, she will grow out of her comfort zone and be more prepared to take on a few additional challenges.  Remember that sometime during year three, most children will catch up to their peers who have raced ahead, and the playing field usually becomes a much more even course at that point.


How To Help Your Toddler Communicate
           As you have most likely realized by now, the more you speak to your toddler at this age, the more likely he is to reciprocate and want to communicate with you.  Although the majority of parents instinctually do a great job encouraging their toddler's language development, there are a few things that you can do in order to promote it further.

       For starters, when you observe your toddler searching for words to express something, don't hesitate to jump right in and help him find them.  Also, don't pass up on the opportunity to build on what your little one is already saying by adding more and more details to her sentences in response.

       It is very important that when you want your toddler to share in a discussion about something you've observed, that you are very specific and clear in your description.  Don't just say, "Look," but instead tell her exactly what you see and describe in great detail what is occurring.  Even if your little one is not able to keep up her end of the bargain regarding conversations, it is important that you keep it up on your end and set a great example.

       Another essential component, further encouraging your toddler, is to continuously ask him questions throughout the day.  In particular, it is best that you ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer, and challenge him to use more of his vocabulary. Although it is a smart idea to keep your conversations simple and direct with your toddler at this age, it is definitely time to step up the ante a little.  Allow your sentences to be a bit more complex, and feel free to add a few more details than you may have in the past when you talk.

       Now that you are truly beginning to have "real" conversations with your toddler, it is more important than ever to speak clearly and slowly so that he is given the opportunity to follow and learn.  Also, if you see that he is having difficulty following, don't hesitate to repeat yourself, or try explaining yourself in a new and more creative manner.

       This month, try to expose your toddler to the idea of past, present and future, by talking about things that have occurred in the morning, things you are currently doing, and what you are looking forward to later on in the day.  Although he most likely will continue having difficulty grasping any concept of waiting or "later," there's no time like the present to introduce it.

       Now that that baby days are officially over, it is a great time to begin exposing your toddler to the alphabet in preparation for pre-school which is actually just around the corner.  Keep your expectations low, and don't push him too hard, but definitely make it part of your daily choral routine.  Remember, that the more your child is exposed to the ABC's at an early age, the easier it will be for him to grasp the concept that letters make specific sounds a few short years down the road, and this will in turn eventually help him to read.

       Lastly, be sure to keep reading to your toddler this month.  Reading not only increases his vocabulary and exposes him to sentence structure and grammar, it is also a great way to start healthy habits and wind down at the end of the day together.

       Remember that learning language is difficult and can appear very complicated to your toddler.  He will learn a great deal about language by just listening to you, so set a good example and don't be critical of his ability or lack of ability to participate.  Now is still the time keep up the encouragement, allow him to make a few mistakes along the way, and instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime.


           Word Games       

       Playing simple games like "What's That?" or "What's He Doing?" are great ways to encourage language development in your toddler.  While you're reading a book, magazine, standing in line somewhere, or attempting to have a meal at a restaurant, stop and ask your toddler to identify specific objects or describe what someone else in the room or on the page is doing.

       If your child has difficulty with any identification, be sure that you offer assistance and are not critical of her struggle as this may cause her to clam-up in the long run.  At this age it remains essential that learning is fun and not something that causes frustration or embarrassment.  Remember that you are beginning to set the foundation for many years of school and you want to be sure that it is as stable and secure as possible.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           I have found that a great way to distract my 25-month-old twin boys is to ask them questions.  Whether it be in line at the grocery store or on a walk to the park, pointing out different objects or activities occurring in our vicinity, and discussing what they are observing helps to not only get from point A to point B without incident, but encourages language development as well.

       On this particular day, Andrew, Devin and I were on our way to the park when we began to play "What's That?"  I alternated between the boys, providing them each with an opportunity to show off their growing vocabulary.  As we exited the driveway, I began to point to cars, trees, clouds, and familiar faces asking the boys to identify them.  For the most part, both boys were able to correctly label the majority of the sights, but did require a little assistance at times.

       As we continued to proceed down the street, I pointed to different signs asking their shapes, and then to various objects asking about their colors.  Although Andrew and Devin did mix up these more difficult questions quite often, they were still very proud to give it a shot.

       At one point on our way to the park, Andrew began to point out things that grabbed his attention before I had a chance, and put a new twist on our game called, "What's That Mommy?"  For a little while all three of us took turns, and the boys got a kick out of seeing what I knew too.

       I am continuously impressed by how in only two short years Andrew and Devin have been able to grasp the English language.  Listening to them spout out new words every day makes me feel very proud, and gives me confidence that all of my babbling while they were so little has finally paid off.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           What type of books are appropriate for my 25-month-old?       

       Reading to your toddler every day is a wonderful way to enrich both her vocabulary and language skills.  Purely by listening to you read and practicing saying new words, your toddler will learn most of the basic rules of grammar before she enters school.

       Keep in mind that at this young age, your toddler is able to follow a simple story line best.  Now, she will even be able to understand what is going on with the characters and recall parts of the story that stood out and caught her attention.

       At this age, it is still wise to choose books that are short, as well as those that are more "activity-oriented," allowing her to interact with the story and encouraging her to become more involved.  It is also a great idea to look for books that are well put together, have strong, thick pages, and a heavy-duty binding that can withstand the hands of a 2-year-old.

       Towards the end of this year, when you notice your toddler's language skills advancing more and more, you may want to challenge her a bit more in regards to the type of literature that she is exposed to, but for now, it's best to keep it short, sweet, simple, and to the point.


Fun Summer Activity for Toddlers
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           I have found a fun summer activity that improves fine motor skills while your toddler is having a great time and it is Finger Painting!  I have a homemade recipe for watercolors that are nontoxic just in case those tiny fingers end up in their mouth.  You can do this outdoors while the weather is still nice and then have them jump through the sprinkler or in their wading pool for a fast clean up.  Hang their beautiful art work on the clothesline to dry.       

                              Watercolor Recipe       

       Materials Needed:

       3 tablespoons baking soda

       3 tablespoons corn starch

       3 tablespoons white vinegar

       1 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup

       Food coloring       

       Mix all ingredients and then divide into small containers.  Small plastic lids off water bottles, ice cube trays or plastic margarine tub lids work well.  Add food coloring until you get the color you want, about 5 to 8 drops.  Be careful on how much food coloring you use so you do not stain their fingers or body.  You can use them wet for finger painting and whatever you have left, let dry and use later with a wet brush for more painting fun.       

       If you want to store the paint for later, you can place lids in a plastic bag after they dry.  An old pill container really works well and the lids are attached.  You could use them throughout the winter months with a wet paint brush.       

       Be creative and teach your toddler about color mixing!       

Design Your Own Shirt!
By Julie Stiglets, edHelperBaby

           If your little one likes to paint, then she will love this activity!  You will need to supervise your toddler while she designs her very own t-shirt.  You can either choose to have your child's hand prints all over the shirt or you can have your child paint her own artwork on the shirt.  Here is what you need:
  • You will need some different colors of fabric paint, a cotton t-shirt and a piece of cardboard.
  • If you are choosing to do the hand prints, then these are the only materials you will need.
  • If your child wants to paint her own design on the shirt, then you will need to have either paintbrushes and/or sponges.
  • Before your little one can start painting, make sure you put a piece of cardboard to fit inside the t-shirt as this will prevent the fabric paint from bleeding through the material.
  • Now let your child get started.
  • Make sure you are there the entire time to supervise or help.
  • If your child wants to do the hand prints, you will need to help clean the hand after each hand print so that she may do another hand print of a different color.

       This may get a little messy, but you are there to help prevent or clean up any major messes!  Besides, kids love to get messy, right?  Relax and watch your little one have fun!  They will be so excited and so proud to wear a shirt that they painted!  Have fun!       

Redirect Instead of Scold
By Samantha Knapp, edHelperBaby

           I have always believed that there are no bad babies or toddlers.  People often admire a young child and then ask the parent, "Is he a good baby?" I believe that children come with a lot of curiosity and energy and sometimes this curiosity or energy can get them into trouble.  We, as parents, are here to help guide this energy and curiosity into positive behaviors.

  Let us imagine a little girl who has an abundance of energy.  She continues to jump off the sofa and the parents are concerned that she is going to get hurt.  This little girl is learning how to use her body and its energy and this is the only way she can meet her immediate needs.  Instead of telling the child "no" or scolding her about her continual unsafe activity, it would help for the parent to find an acceptable activity that would meet this child's needs to expel energy.  Instead of saying "no jumping", "no", or giving time-outs, I suggest that you concentrate on positive words and activities.

  First of all, determine what the child's needs are.  In this instance, the child needs an outlet for her energy.  Try taking her for a walk, swinging her in a swing, or playing jumping games on the floor.  There are all kinds of great songs and rhymes that can help you make it fun.  What about  jumping in and out of a hoola hoop? Perhaps you could make some stepping stones out of those sample carpet squares that you can often get for free at the carpet store. All of these activities would provide your child with an acceptable outlet for her energy.

  The reason it is so important to redirect a child's behavior is because when you constantly say "no" to your child it creates a struggle between the child and the parent.  If the child's behavior is redirected in a positive way this helps the child's self-esteem stay high. It does not make the child feel as though he or she is misbehaving.  The best and most effective way to deal with toddlers is in a positive way and redirection is positive and actually fun.

  Good luck as you help your child meet all of his or her needs in acceptable and fun ways.       


Building Up and Taking Down
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah and Melanie

           At two years old, Leah is very interested in building with blocks.  Blocks were her favorite birthday present.  I think she actually loves taking them apart more than building them up.  Maybe it is the only thing children can destroy without being told "no" that attracts them.  Her dad will spend all this time helping her build a structure and then with a big smile she has to take every block apart until there is nothing left.  My daughter, Melanie, was the opposite.  She never wanted to take apart what was built.  I had to convince her that the only way we could build something else was to take apart her first project.  It took her a few days but finally she would let us take it apart.       

       Another thing Leah enjoys is lining things up.  I bought Leah a tube of miniature horses to play with when I take her to Melanie's horseback riding lesson.  She loves to go and pet the horses but gets bored watching for an hour.  The toy horses keep her occupied.  I was surprised that she did not play with them like she has done in the past but now she lines them all up on a bench.  If one falls over, she has to set it up again making sure they are all even.  Maybe this is the beginning of her organizational skills!       

Emma and Riley Love Their Shirts!
By Julie Stiglets, About my child Emma and Riley

           I had my girls do the t-shirt activity.  Emma is four and Riley Kate is two.  They love to do anything that deals with paint and they do not mind getting a little messy.  We did the hand prints and they came out so cute!  Things did get a little messy, but it always does when I let them paint or do any other kinds of arts and craft.  They had a lot of fun and loved wearing their shirts.  I had to help clean their hands after each hand print.  I also had to help my two year old daughter paint her hand, but then she just placed her painted hand on the shirt and voila!  They giggled and laughed the whole time.  What a fun activity and wonderful memory!  I hope you have as much fun as we did.

My Busy Little Girl
By Samantha Knapp, About my child Raina

           Raina is always on the move.  She forgets that she should walk instead of run in the house.  One day she was having such a hard time with this rule that I had to come up with something that would make her slow down.  With a home full of five children, this rule is very important because running in the house usually ends in somebody getting hurt.

  I had asked Raina to become the "Police Officer."  I told her I needed a helper  to make sure that nobody runs in the house.  I explained that if she was going to be this special helper that she needs to set an example and not run as well.  She was excited to be my helper and proudly reminded others of the rule if they had been running in the house. Just having her think about the rule and help others remember, she remembered the rule herself which was a fun activity to help her remember this important family rule. She now corrects herself if she forgets and runs in the house.


     "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

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