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Toddler - Week #107

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Your 25-month-old toddler (week 107)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Emotional Development, Vulnerability And Sensitivity
           Laughter may truly be the best medicine this month...for both you and your toddler alike.  At this moment emotions are plenty, frustrations are vast, and I'm certain that your patience has been tested on more than one occasion.  You may have even earned a time-out after having your own tantrum in response to the deluge you've been presented with, and learned that trying to love unconditionally while sticking to your guns can be exhausting.

       This month, although your toddler may take pride in showing off his new-found independence, don't be surprised to suddenly see an increase in anxiety, particularly when he is doing things which were once second nature.  Quite often as your child makes strides regarding his own emotional development, he becomes more aware of and increasingly nervous about everyday situations.  Areas in his life where he recently exuded confidence may now leave him feeling quite vulnerable and even frightened at times.

       Your toddler is also likely to begin feeling sorry for himself this month, particularly when he is unable to do something, feels left out, or wants something he can't have.  To make matters worse, his self-confidence can also disappear when you least expect it, so stay close by and prepare for a few running leaps into your arms on more than one occasion.

       Right now, don't hesitate to step in and lend your child a helping hand whether it be for emotional or physical reasons.  The one thing that must be predictable in your toddler's life right now is you, so fine-tune your listening and observation skills and jump right in feet first.  You are now entering an extremely sensitive age with your little one, and he is counting on you more than ever to help him get through it to the end...in one piece.


Cognitive Development
           After revving up for the past two years, your toddler's brain is going through some major changes right now.  Not only is it becoming much more complex every day, but it is now allowing your little one to do things once impossible because both sides of her brain are now in gear.

       By 25-months, your toddler is finally figuring out why things happen and what she needs to do in order to make things work.  She is also getting much better at remembering, and is able to pay attention and focus on tasks longer than ever before.

       Most importantly though, your toddler is now more in control of making her body do the things she wants, and her thoughts and actions are becoming closer and closer to being on the same page.

       Along with this increase in brain function comes your toddler's interest in comparing.  Over the course of the next month, you will begin to notice your toddler furthering the development of her categorizing skills, becoming more and more specific every day with the use of her language.  Ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks will no longer just be "cars," Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel will no longer just be "dolls," and sneakers, boots, and sandals will no longer just be "shoes."

       Because of your toddler's more sophisticated brain, she is also more in tuned to your non-verbal cues right now, and is starting to develop the ability to have empathy for others.  Sooner than you know it your little one will even be able to manage her own impulses more appropriately, and she may even develop a little bit of patience too.

       If you are one of the fortunate few, you may notice that "power struggles" are beginning to fade as your toddler's desire to impress and please you is on the rise.  However, for the majority of parents with a 25-month-old terror...I mean toddler...all will come in due time, but the time has not arrived quite yet.

       Try and think of these next few months as the time when a lot of "fine-tuning" will occur, but not a lot of "inventing."  Encourage your toddler to practice what she already knows in order to make improvements, and focus on helping her to lay a solid foundation for what will be built in the future.


           Hide-And-Seek Safari       

       Running with the knowledge that 25-month-old toddlers love learning new words, categorizing and going on little adventures, I believe that this activity is a great way to incorporate all of these things into one neat, little package.

       To begin, gather together all of your toddler's stuffed animals, and then hide them in obvious and inconspicuous places throughout the house while he's not looking (or keep it simple and solely focus on one room).

       Next, help your toddler to make a pair of "binoculars" by taping two paper towel rolls together, and show him how to hold them up to his eyes and search for hidden objects.

       Lastly, with binoculars in hand take your toddler on an adventure throughout the house in search of the stuffed animals that you previously hid.  Because your toddler will most likely want to carry all of the animals that he finds, have him carry a backpack so he does not become frustrated when his arms are too full.  Also, with each animal that is found, talk about its name, what it sounds like, and then show him how to pretend to be that animal.

       Once the adventure is over, go ahead and allow your toddler to try to hide the animals by himself, and then have a go at trying to find them yourself.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           I had no idea how many stuffed animals my twin 25-month-old boys had accumulated until this activity, and after having such a great time going on our safari I'm really glad that we had so many.

       While Andrew and Devin were taking their much needed afternoon nap, I collected every stuffed animal from every toy box and bin throughout our house.  After coming up with a grand total of 20 different animals, I then proceeded to hide them in various places throughout our house.

       After Andrew and Devin woke up from their naps, I helped the boys to make one pair of binoculars each, and showed them how they "worked."  Earlier in my travels throughout the house, I had come across two straps that I attached to their binoculars, preventing the tantrums that would inevitably occur if they got lost (just on a side note...the straps I attached were held together in the center by a piece of Velcro.  That way if either of the boys got caught on something the strap would quickly break apart).

       Then, with binoculars and backpacks on, off we went!  I led the boys throughout the house and found it funny that I had to point out the animals precariously hanging from the planters, as both boys had managed to walk right by without a second glance.  However, from that point on and with very little direction, they were able to figure out our little game and had a field day going on our little safari.  After we collected all of the animals strewn from one end of our house to the other, I then encouraged Andrew and Devin to hide the animals so I could find them.

       I waited for about 5 minutes listening to the boys opening and closing drawers, slamming cabinets and giggling, and then decided to see what they were up to.  Needless to say, all of the ruckus that I heard was not the boys hiding the animals as I had hoped.  Instead, I found the two of them sitting in the center of their room surrounded by all of the animals, eating the snacks that they had helped themselves to in the kitchen.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           Why is my 25-month-old still sucking his thumb?       

       Thumb sucking is a very normal behavior for many young children, and is a comforting ritual for many toddlers.  More often than not, it becomes a source of great comfort that your toddler has learn to depend on when he becomes upset, frightened, sleepy or bored, and for the most part, this "habit" is a sign of self-reliance and exhibits how your toddler has learned to literally take a situation into his own hands.

       Many professionals believe that problems may arise with your toddler (such as sleeplessness) if you prevent him from sucking his thumb, or "make" him stop before he is ready.  They also state that more often than not thumb sucking will completely disappear on its own by the age of 3, and if you try to eliminate it too early it may actually last a lot longer.

       Although there is some debate regarding thumb sucking and dental problems, there is no evidence that any permanent problems actually occur.  Dental problems are much more likely to occur after your child's permanent teeth erupt around the age of 6, and even at that point there may be no "ill effects" from thumb sucking.

  Just on a side note, if you have a toddler who sucks his thumb, you might want to take a peek back at your own baby pictures, because it's usually a genetic trait that has been passed right on down from you.


Raising a Tadpole
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           This is really a fun, exciting and educational project to do with children of all ages.  My granddaughter was twelve months old when we started raising a tadpole.  She was so excited to see all the changes taking place as the tadpole turned into a frog.  The process is called metamorphosis, which means a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism.  Your older children will love this project as well.  The whole family can enjoy doing this together and learn something in the process.       

       First you need to find a container.  You can use something you have around the house.  I picked up a small pet container with a lid that opened and closed, at my local department store, in the pet section.  Pet stores have them as well.  They are very inexpensive and I like the idea of the lid to keep little fingers out of the water when I am not looking.  You also do not have to worry about anything jumping out!  You can purchase a tadpole at a pet store that sells aquarium fish very inexpensively.  I paid $2.99 for ours.  Of course we had to buy two, one for each child.  This year we were fortunate enough to have our frogs, our previous year's tadpoles, lay eggs in our small outdoor ornamental pond right after we had set our first set free.  We watched them under a microscope change from an egg, a small black spot, to a tadpole.  They were so tiny.  We are keeping the tadpoles outside so they can remain in the pond water.  Normally, we keep them in the house so we can keep a closer eye on them.  We would put them on the kitchen table several times a day so everyone could gather round and look for any changes.  Tadpoles like shallow water and they need to be able to get out of the water during the later stages, a rock works well for this.  They need some sunlight but prefer shade about half the time.  Use only fresh water without chlorine.  You can use your tap water and let it sit out several days or buy the drops to remove the chlorine from the water at your local pet store.   You need to replace their water about once a week with fresh water, about one third at a time.  If you over feed, you will need to clean more often.  Tadpoles like shallow water.       

       Now, you need to know what to feed them.  Some experts tell you to boil lettuce for ten minutes then chop into small pieces and freeze.  Others will tell you boiling destroys the nutrients so you should just chop into small pieces and freeze.  We have done both methods and our tadpoles flourished.  After chopping the lettuce, we place it in ice cube trays and put into the freezer.  We only sprinkle a little lettuce in each section so we can take out very small pieces and feed them every few days.       

       Before handling tadpoles, wash and rinse your hands thoroughly.  Tadpoles are very sensitive to the oils and soap residue that may be on your skin.  My daughter's favorite part of cleaning their water was to get to actually touch them.  She would let them swim through her fingers.  The tadpoles did not seem to mind at all.  Once they form their legs, be careful, they are really quick.  You do not want them jumping away!       

       The whole metamorphosis process is quite amazing and complex.  It could take a few weeks to a few months depending on the breed of frog.  First, you will notice the development of the back legs.  This year we awoke to find our tadpole had developed one leg and was sitting on the bottom of our container lopsided.  The girls found this to be hilarious.  By lunch time, the other leg had developed. Next, we noticed a small indent where the front legs would be developed.  The whole body was reshaping and made us wonder what changes were happening on the inside of the tadpole.  It develops lungs, loses its gills and the skin is changing.  There are changes happening to the digestive system tract because he is becoming a carnivore, meat eater, instead of an herbivore, plant eater.  At the final stage, the tail is absorbed and the tadpole will eat less at this time.       

       There are so many lessons that can be taught from this activity depending upon your child's age.  With my granddaughter, we counted the legs as they formed and hopped around the room after we talked about how the tadpole looks like a fish now but will soon turn into a frog and hop.  We kept it simple and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  When someone came over, she would take their hand and drag them over to see the tadpoles.  With my nine year old daughter, we took daily measurements and kept a daily journal about the changes we observed.  It was awesome this year getting to start with the eggs.  We looked at them under the microscope and actually saw them change into tadpoles.  You can take this activity to any level you desire.  Just let your child enjoy the experience.  You are making memories with them.  They will never forget this experience that you shared with them.       


What a Helper!
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah

           At almost twenty-five months old, Leah loves to help me do everything.  It may take me twice as long to get my chores done but she is learning so much by assisting me, that it makes it worth it.  It helps her improve her sensory and motor development as well as improving her vocabulary as I explain how things are done.  This helping also helps build her self-confidence as you praise them for a job well done.  One of the hardest things, I find, is not going back and doing the job again.  This would give her the feeling that she just did not do the job well.  So, resist the temptation! She loves to help me empty the dishwasher.  I make sure to say "Thank you" each time she hands me an item to put away.  Sometimes she gets confused when we are loading it with dirty dishes and keeps trying to empty it as I am loading the dishwasher.  Another job she loves to help with is to put the clothes in the washer or dryer.  I have her tell me what color items are as we move the clothes from washer to dryer.  Leah loves to assist me in vacuuming and dusting.  If you can have them grow up thinking these jobs are fun, maybe children will keep doing them when they are older.  It is all about attitude.  If you act like you hate doing these chores, children will also and you will never get them to help when they are older.  I always encouraged my boys to help me when they were young because we as mothers are developing the husbands and fathers of the future!


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