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Toddler - Week #108

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Your 25-month-old toddler (week 108)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Social Development
           Although your toddler may appear to have made great strides regarding playground etiquette over the past few months, his ability to share and take turns still requires quite a bit of fine-tuning.  It is also quite likely that recently he has "accidentally" taken a swing at an innocent little bystander who was playing with something he so desperately "needed," and you've been left to pick up the pieces and put them back together again on more than one occasion.  Keep in mind that despite not looking like it, at this moment in time your toddler really does have a newfound desire to get along with others...but, he just isn't sure of how to do it quite yet.

       Your toddler's social development will grow more and more over the course of the next few months, but for right now he is probably better at taking toys from others than offering, and still struggles with the concept of reciprocal sharing.  Although he does have difficulty engaging with other children his age, it remains imperative that he is still provided with the opportunity to practice, and that you do not avoid situations where other toddlers will be in order to stay out of harm's way.

       This month your 25-month-old toddler is taking a strong liking to putting on a show for all to see, and loves to be the center of attention.  He has also become quite adept at stealing the spotlight from anyone or anything that you may be paying attention to, because according to him you need not focus on anything else but his adorable little face.  All that your toddler wants right now is to be first and foremost in your life, and as you will notice he will do anything and everything necessary to be sure he gets his way.

       At this age your toddler can be very assertive when it comes to having his wants and needs met, and he will need all the help that you can provide in order to make a safe exit when he finds himself in sticky situations.  At 25-months, he also has a very low tolerance for any type of frustration, particularly that which occurs when he can not get his needs met on the spot, and these feelings can be extremely overwhelming for such a little person to handle.

       When you recognize that your toddler is having difficulty playing with other children, step in and encourage him to play appropriately.  Model the behavior that you would like to see, and catch him when he is being good.  Over time your words of wisdom will eventually sink in, and it will not be long before the wrestling matches will come to an end, and everyone will finally get along (at least for the time being).


           Despite the fact that toys are an integral part of your toddler's play experience this month, try to keep your definition of what "toys" are as broad and open-ended as possible.  Provide your toddler with the opportunity and freedom to use her own imagination to build the castle of her dreams out of pillows and chairs, and try to create things out of what you already have before running to the store.  The greatest gift that you can provide your toddler with right now is teaching her how to think outside of the box, because something created by your toddler's little hands can provide just as much joy and potentially more, than something that someone else came up with first.

       Because your toddler's creativity and imagination are blossoming more and more, don't be surprised this month when you begin to hear her having conversations with her toys and sometimes with herself while she plays.  Every day your little one is becoming more comfortable with the use of her language, and at this age she will use every opportunity that she is presented with to practice, as well as to show it off to anyone that will listen (even if it is with Dora and Elmo).

       You will also notice that your toddler is more capable of playing "appropriately" with toys that she has solely been exploring over the past few months, and she is finally figuring out that dolls can actually sit in pint-sized chairs to be fed, and the Little People can actually ride around in their cars with a little help too.  Be careful how quickly you begin to take her baby toys away, and watch closely as your toddler begins to look at her old things in a new way.  This month she will again become entertained by toys that she recently thought she had figured out, either putting a new twist on her regular routine or taking a chance and trying something that was never attempted before.

       Along with your toddler enjoying her little world of make-believe, her love of physical activity and games is also on the rise.  Expect to see her riding throughout your house on her push-bike or tri-cycle, getting the dog to play a game of tag, and beckoning you for another round of Simon Says or Ring-Around-The-Rosey.  Jungle gyms and playgrounds are wonderful places to spend an afternoon, and this month you can actually breathe a bit easier because her coordination and motor skills have greatly improved... reducing the amount of "catching" on your behalf.

       Right now, your 25-month-old toddler still loves routine, and this becomes most evident regarding some of her play.  Watch as your little one takes things apart and puts them back together again over and over and over, shrieking with delight every time the pieces fit, as if each experience was the first.  At this age, she loves monotonous toys that are predictable and especially those in which she is guaranteed success.  Cups and balls that fit neatly inside of one another, stacking rings, and even putting the "chips" into your Connect-Four can potentially soothe your little one and allow her to focus on one activity for an extended period of time.

       By now, I'm sure you've also realized that your toddler loves to imitate, and often searches the house to get her hands on your "toys."  This month it may also be in your best interest to provide her with her own pretend phone, camera, Ipod or any other childproof versions of the gadgets she so often sees you with.  Last time I checked, Fisher Price still remains a much less expensive option, than having to purchase a new Blackberry after yours has accidentally been flushed.



       This is a wonderful activity that allows you to begin introducing numbers to your toddler while continuing to reinforce the concept of sharing.  The overall object of this activity is to eventually give your toddler a small bowl or pile of things, and then ask him to "share" them with you.  But in order to begin, it may be in your best interest to go first and show your toddler how the game will work...as you know, sharing is not his strong suit right now.

       First, gather together any small items that you believe would work best for you and your toddler, whether it be Goldfish, raisins, Cheerios, blocks, or cars to name but a few.  Next, place an empty bowl down in front of each of you, and place the pile of items that you have selected within arm's reach.  Finally, begin to dole out the items saying, "one for you, and one for me," then "two for you, and two for me," etc. as you place the items in each bowl one by one.

       When you believe that your toddler understands the goal of the game, let him take charge and give it a try.  It may take a little guidance and "hand-over-hand" instruction initially, but with practice he will catch on.  On a final note, although this may appear to be a very simple game, it is a wonderful way to help your toddler grasp a very difficult concept.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           Sharing is not a concept that my 25-month-old twin boys have a clue about...especially lately.  I have never broken up so many "tugs-of-war," nor have I seen as many toys broken right down the center as I have over the past few months.  Needless to say, I did not have high hopes for this activity.

       However, despite my hesitancy (and being a glutton for punishment) I wanted to give it a shot.  To begin this activity, I brought out the boys' favorite snack, Goldfish, as well as the bowl that each of them have claimed as their own.  I then placed Andrew's blue bowl in front of him, Devin's green bowl in front of him, and a pile of Goldfish in my bowl in front of me.

       Sensing that the boys were ready to pounce if I did not distribute the goods, I quickly began to dole out Goldfish one by one into each of their bowls.  I counted as I went along, praised the boys for their good behavior, and established a predictable rhythm for them to follow.  While I was in charge, both Andrew and Devin were very attentive, no stealing occurred and surprisingly no Goldfish were thrown either.

       Next, I placed all of the Goldfish into Andrew's bowl, and asked him to distribute them to Devin and I.  Initially Andrew placed his little hand over his bowl, and a huge grimace appeared across his face as he snidely proclaimed, "Mine!"  However, with a little encouragement (and help prying his hand off of the bowl) Andrew eventually was able to hand the Goldfish out saying, "Mommy's turn," then "Devie's turn," until we each had 5 fish of our own.

       After gobbling up our goodies, I then placed the remaining Goldfish in Devin's bowl and encouraged him to begin the process for one last time.  Now, Devin is not known for being the kindest brother to Andrew, so I was uncertain as to how this round was going to play out.  Needless to say, Devin was able to appropriately place Goldfish one-by-one into the respected bowls in front of Andrew and I (as well as sneak in a few for himself along the way).

       However, when Devin had completed the task and realized that his bowl was the only empty one, the tables quickly turned.  Fortunately for Andrew though, he sensed Devin's next move before it actually happened, and he was able to escape to his hiding place behind the chair, unscathed and cheeks stuffed with Goldfish.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           Why does my 25-month-old toddler appear more interested in playing with Daddy than Mommy lately?       

       If this is something you have recently noticed occurring in your household, have no fear...it's completely normal.  For the first two years of a child's life, researchers have found that the mother is most often the center of attention, and the person that most toddlers depend upon for nourishment, and those lovely middle-of-the-night "playdates."

       Interestingly, during these initial years fathers often report that they actually feel excluded from many day-to-day activities, and at times experience a great struggle trying to develop a strong relationship with the new addition to the family.

       However, despite these potentially difficult first few years, many fathers report that the relationships with their toddlers actually improve quite dramatically after reaching their second birthday.  In fact, this is the time period when most fathers feel the greatest connection to their child and truly start to bond.

       In a nutshell, when toddlers reach the age of two, the style of play that they seek out is a much more aggressive and physical style.  More often than not, Dad is usually the one providing the "exhilarating forms of play" that toddlers are searching for, and therefore, Dad becomes the sought-after parent.  Wrestling, tickling-wars, piggy-back rides, and being thrown into the air now suddenly take the spotlight over late night cuddles, and for the moment, the calmer type of play that most mothers are known to provide just is not as exciting.

       Whatever you do, don't think for one second that your toddler has forgotten about you if he's suddenly pushed you to the back burner.  I promise that the foundation you have established together is something that will last a lifetime, and undoubtedly, he will soon return to pick up where you left off.  In the meantime, think of this time as a well-deserved break, allowing you to catch your breath if just for a few moments.


Toilet Training
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           Children are usually ready for toilet training when they are letting you know when they have to go or letting you know after they have gone.  Another indicator is when you child is dry for several hours at a time or waking from a nap with a dry diaper.  This usually happens after twenty months.  There is no magic age that works with every child.  Both the parent and child must be ready.  The parent has to be ready to give the time and commitment to toilet training.  Usually accidents occur because too much time has passed since you placed your child on the potty.  Try using a timer every hour at first to remind you when it is time to place your child on the potty.  You need to be consistent with this or you will have more accidents which lowers your child's self esteem.  You are their coach and you have to assist in making them believe they can do it.  You also need to watch your child during the day for signs that they may have to go so you can get them to the potty quickly.  I tried to always keep their potty chair close by so if they felt the urge they could quickly get on the potty themselves.  After they were trained pretty well, we would progress to an attachment to put on the large toilet.       

       I would highly discourage using the disposable diapers sold for toilet training because the child does not become uncomfortable enough to know they have urinated in them.  I have seen the disposable diapers severely prolong training.  The best thing I have found is to buy cloth training pants and they are much cheaper than buying the disposable kind.  The cloth training pants let them know without a doubt when they have gone in their pants and are thicker than normal underwear so they hold more when they have an accident. Cloth training pants are also environmentally friendly.  I found that they were hard to find in the department stores but you can purchase some on the Internet.  You can also buy their favorite character underpants but these do not hold as much so you will have more of a mess at home.  I only used the disposable if we were traveling away from home and might not be close to a toilet at all times.       

       I found it was helpful to just let them run around the house in their underwear or training pants.  This way there was less clothing to get off in a run to the potty and not as many clothes to wash from accidents.  Dresses work great for little girls.       

       I have a magazine rack in my bathroom and I would place some favorite books there so that we could read while they sat on the potty. This seemed to help them relax and go.  I also used a chart and stickers so that every time they went on the potty we would put a sticker on their chart for that day.  They would be so proud to show off their stickers to other family members.  Of course, we would also cheer and clap and do a potty dance to celebrate a mission accomplished!  Try not to show disappointment when they do not go. Just let them know that it is okay and you will try again a little later.       

       The most important thing to remember is that every child is different and will do this in his or her own time.  It is a team effort between parent and child.  One of my boys was great at stopping the flow and getting to the bathroom but had a really hard time getting it to flow again.  I gave him some time with no pressure and finally it all clicked for him.


Kids Say the Cutest Things!
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah and the boys

           My granddaughter, Leah, was coming into my development and pointed to the large electrical tower in a nearby field and said, "Look the Eiffel Tower!"  I then figured out that one of the PBS shows she watches has the Eiffel Tower on it and that is where she saw the real Eiffel Tower.       

       One of my boys told us Christmas morning that during the night he heard Santa on the roof and went to the window to look out and time stood still!  He froze and could not move until Santa had left.  He is twenty-nine years old now and we still tease him about that!       

       We crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel one year on the way to Virginia Beach to visit my sister.  I explained to my children how the bridge goes over the water then under the water several times until we get to the other side.  We went onto the bridge and went over the water and then I told them the part was coming up where we would go under the water and my son yelled, "Everybody roll up your windows!"  He actually believed we would be in the water watching the fish swim by us.  I guess that is what I told him that we were going under the water!       


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