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Toddler - Week #106

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Your 25-month-old toddler (week 106)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Physical Development
           The moment has sadly arrived when your toddler's chubby cheeks are slowly disappearing, and he is beginning to slim-down looking more like a big kid everyday.  Besides the disappearance of his baby face, you can also expect your toddler's head and body to develop more in proportion, and his arms, legs and torso will slowly begin to lengthen.  Be sure to take a peek back at his baby album this month, because I can guarantee you'll be amazed at how much he's recently changed right before your eyes.

       By this time your toddler has finally figured out that walking, running and jumping are great modes of transportation, and the smooth "heel-to-toe" motion that took about a year to coordinate is now second nature.  His fine and gross-motor skills are also catching up with one another, and you will notice a decrease in having to duck now that his throwing skills are beginning to improve.  Your toddler is probably able to stack many blocks independently by now, have great success with puzzles, feed himself with a spoon and fork (although he is not the neatest eater yet), and is beginning to make attempts at dressing and undressing himself (although not necessarily in the most appropriate places) as well.

       Toddlers this age do not like to be contained in any way, so if you find yourself in a wrestling match when you try to put him in the stroller, don't be surprised.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself this month, try and allow your little one to hold your hand and walk instead of using the stroller, or allow him to hold onto the stroller while you push it.  It's always a good idea to keep the stroller handy though, despite whether it's being used or not, because if you're lucky, all of that extra walking will lead up to a nice long nap while you're out.


Imagination And Creativity
           Now that your toddler has begun to stretch her independence as much as you'll allow, has figured out how to make her little hands and feet do what she wants, and has an insatiable appetite for trying new things and exploring, it is the perfect time for you to encourage her imagination to grow and her creative energy to flourish.

       Provide your toddler with many different opportunities to explore and create, and keep in mind that it is the process that matters and not the end product.  Also, for the time being, your little one's motor skills, although improved, are far from perfect and messiness is par for the course.  Let her break the rules and do a little experimenting on her own, while you try your best to ignore the disaster in the kitchen or the tornado that's hit her room.

       If your toddler becomes frustrated, whether it be by dress up clothes that won't stay on, a crayon that won't cooperate, or a game that goes awry, don't hesitate to step right in and lend a hand.  Although you want your little one to take the reigns and control the direction in which her imagination travels, you do not want the creative juices to stop flowing because of a minor bump in the road.  When she does appear aggravated or disgruntled in some way, find something to compliment her on regarding any progress she has made in her endeavor.  Even if things look a mess, do your best to look past it and teach your toddler how to look on the bright side of things.

       Keep in mind that creativity and using one's imagination occurs constantly throughout the day, and is not just limited to what you may consider "the arts."  Being resourceful and inventive when experimenting, and "thinking out of the box" when problem solving also involve a great deal of creativity, so don't forget to look beyond the obvious.  Encourage your toddler to explore the world of make-believe and let her know that creative achievements are just as important as "achievements of intellect."  Lastly, appreciate your little one's innocence and spontaneity...children are the greatest teachers when it comes to enjoying life and living in the moment.


           Shadow Tag       

       This is a very simple activity for children of all ages, and a wonderful excuse to get outside on a sunny day whether it is warm or cold.  The purpose of this game is to simply "tag" your toddler by stepping on her shadow, and then have her reciprocate by "tagging" yours.

       Prior to beginning this game, point out your toddler's shadow to her, and then show her how she can make it move and stretch according to her placement towards the sun.  Show your toddler how to run towards her shadow, and how to change her position so it is chasing after her.  Then, after she has grasped the concept, go ahead and point out your shadow and let her watch you control it.

       The next step in this activity is to playfully take turns "tagging" one another's shadow.  Make the game challenging by wiggling around and making your toddler run or jump to catch you.  This activity can be stretched out to last a very long time, and is a great way for your toddler to expend a little of her excess energy.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           Last week, my 25-month-old twin boys discovered that they could make shadows on their bedroom walls at bedtime with the use of their flashlights.  Needless to say, this event did not help in getting them to settle down and fall asleep any faster, but nonetheless has quickly become a fun new tradition added onto our nighttime routine.

       Because Andrew and Devin already had a basic understanding of shadows and how they could use their bodies to manipulate them, I thought that this week was the perfect opportunity to try shadow tag.

       On this particular sunny day, we took a walk to the park to get rid of a little extra energy that the boys had accumulated.  Upon arriving, I pointed out both of the boys' shadows that were extended in front of them on the pavement.  Much to my delight, they both immediately recognized what I was referring to and stopped in their tracks to watch more closely.  Taking advantage of their lack of momentum, I then took each of the boys' arms and extended them over their heads to show how they could control the movement of their shadows, which they found very funny.

       I then ran over to Andrew's shadow and said, "I've got you!" as I touched his shadow with my foot.  Quickly catching on, Andrew looked down, saw my shadow and jumped onto it without hesitation.  We went back and forth for a few moments tagging one another, and then I encouraged Andrew to go get Devin's shadow.

       Andrew didn't walk, but bounced over to Devin who was watching and observing our game from a distance.  Devin appeared a bit hesitant about engaging, and gave Andrew quite a look as he bounded over.  He then proceeded to push Andrew away as he edged closer to making the tag, shouting, "No Andoo, my sadow!" and made every attempt to keep Andrew at a distance.

       Fortunately for Andrew, Devin didn't realize that when he began to walk away in the other direction his shadow moved from in front of him to behind his back.  As soon the opportunity presented itself Andrew proudly strutted up right behind Devin, jumped on his shadow's head and shouted, "I did it!"


  Have you begun to wonder...
           Why does my 2-year-old keep taking off his clothes?        

       "Spontaneous disrobing" is a very normal occurrence for your toddler right now.  For some toddlers it occurs simply because they feel more comfortable in their birthday suit, but for most there is usually a little more to it.

       Because your little one has just figured out how to dress and undress himself, he is looking for every opportunity to practice this new skill (however, he is not yet aware that there is a time and a place for everything...).  Also as I'm sure you already know, toddlers this age love to be in control and show-off their independence.  What better way to make sure that you're aware of this than to undo what you have done, or more specifically, take off the clothes that you have selected and put him in?!

       However, lastly, and probably the most likely culprit is your 2-year-old's desire to see how far he can push the limits and get a reaction out of you, and everyone else in the room for that matter.  Once your toddler streaks through your living room with a house full of guests, leaving behind a trail of doubled-over adults laughing in hysterics, I can guarantee that it won't be the last time.


Read, Read, Read
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           Most toddlers love to be read to, so take advantage of this desire while they are young.  It makes a big difference in their vocabulary, language, communication skills and overall intelligence.  Studies show that children who have exposure to language have social advantages over their peers.  Reading is the best exposure to language.  Start a daily ritual of reading at bedtime or nap time.  The sound of your voice is soothing to your child and makes them relax which helps them to fall asleep.  This does not mean that you should not take every advantage of reading throughout the day.  Keep books where your child can reach them to encourage independent reading and give them the opportunity to bring a book to you when they would like you to read to them. Some toddlers will want the same book read over and over again.  Be a good role model and let them see you reading whether it is a book, magazine or newspaper.       

       I have personally seen the effects of reading on a child.  I decided to home school my fifth child.  The home school curriculum is based on a classical learning approach.  Their belief is that children will retain more knowledge by reading books about children that lived during a certain period instead of just memorizing dates and names.  I am learning so much along with my daughter because of all the great books we are reading.  My daughter has a very large vocabulary and reads at a level well above her own age level.  In our curriculum, she has books that she reads at or just above her level.  Then I have books above her level that I read to her, thus exposing her to a vocabulary she would not have been introduced to until she was older.  I have to admit I was really worried when the first year's books came when she was only four.  We opened up the boxes of books and then we noticed they were mostly chapter books with NO pictures.  I did not know how I was going to get her to sit and listen to me reading a chapter a day when the book did not have pictures. I was amazed when we started to read these great books that not only did she sit and listen but she begged me not to stop reading at the end of the chapter.  She is now nine years old and her test scores are well above her age level.  I attribute this all to the books that we read.  She loves to read and will sit and read books on her own time even though we are reading so many "for school."       

       You should continue reading to your child after they have started reading on their own.  Books can serve as great communication starters.  Every good story has conflict and use the ethical dilemmas in good books to help your child learn to make the right choices.  Reading aloud with your child creates a unique bond between you and your child.  Do not let this opportunity slip by you and continue reading at bedtime with them as long as they will let you.  Maybe when children have difficult issues to face, the 'reading time' will give them the opportunity to talk to you about what is bothering them or issues they may be facing.       


Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah

           A two year old child begins to learn important math skills through play and daily routines.  They can sort shapes, complete puzzles with eight pieces and stack a set of rings on a peg by size.  At this age, children begin to recognize patterns and understanding concepts of time such as today, tomorrow and yesterday.  The other day my two year old grand-daughter, Leah, was on her way to my house so I could watch her while her parents went to work.  On the car ride over, Leah informed her mother that I, Mum Mum Pam, was her best friend.  Her mother responded, "What about Mommy?"  Leah informed her that tomorrow she could be her best friend.  Whenever she is anxious for her daddy to come home, she will ask me, "Daddy be home soon?"  I will tell her, "Yes, Daddy will be home soon."  Then, she is fine and goes back to playing.


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