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Toddler - Week #110

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Your 26-month-old toddler (week 110)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

The Laws and Lessons of Successful Parenting
           This is the month when you need to dig deep within, and be the most patient, loving, creative, humorous, enthusiastic and "in-tune" parent imaginable.  The most important skill that you must now perfect, is to teach your toddler how to be the best little person he can be, while simultaneously extinguishing his negative behaviors and boosting his ego along the way.  As you can imagine...this can be quite a feat.  Everything that you do with your toddler right now will impact his development, for better and for worse, so make every second count and enjoy each moment that the two of you share.

       There are several simple "laws" that may help guide you towards being a more successful parent, and they are also wonderful lessons to teach your toddler that will last a lifetime.  Law number one is to remember that everything and anything is possible.  As soon as a parent begins to think they can't...they don't and won't.  Law number two, treat others (including your children) how you would like to be treated yourself, and do nice things for people solely for the sake of doing nice things.  Number three, think before you act, however don't think too much that you get stuck in your thoughts, and don't be frightened to let your heart just lead the way sometimes.  Law number four says that it's alright to take chances and go out on a limb...life is a journey and sometimes the best lessons occur when you least expect it.  And lastly, law number five...everyone has a purpose and a lesson to teach, so be sure to keep your eyes, ears and heart open because the greatest teachers often come in the smallest of packages, and he is probably standing right in front of you, or hanging on your leg.


Building Your Toddler's Self-Esteem
           Although your child's self-esteem may appear to wax-and-wane with life's typical ups-and-downs, she is beginning to develop a positive or negative "attitude" about herself along the way.  From the first moment that your toddler realizes you love her just because she merely exists in this world, her self-esteem begins to flourish.  This unconditional and unwavering feeling of love is the foundation on which your toddler's feelings about herself will continue to grow.  You have been provided with an amazing opportunity to really make a difference in the future, so give it your all.

       Because you are the essential component in the development of your toddler's self-esteem, there are many things that you can do to make a difference in a positive way.  To start, be very aware of how you approach your toddler when you talk.  Often at this age, actions speak much louder than words, so get in touch with your posture, tone of voice and facial expressions before you have a heart-to-heart or just want to get your little one's attention.

       Secondly, by simply spending time...quality time...with your toddler, you are drastically improving and reinforcing her self-esteem.  In fact, it is recommended that you spend at least 1 hour on the floor playing with your child at this age, even if it's just "hanging out" and not "doing" anything.  Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in going places and seeing things, that we often forget how to keep things simple and just "be."

       Lastly, show respect for your toddler's feelings, listen carefully to her needs, and give her an opportunity to express her opinions.  This is not saying that you should not set limits and she should not follow your rules, but it will reinforce that her thoughts and desires are valid...just not always appropriate or timed very well.

       This month, your toddler is starting to finally believe that she is capable of doing things once thought insurmountable.  Furthermore, she is slowly beginning to prepare herself to step outside her safety zone and explore the world.  Right now, her self-esteem is on the rise and she feels more powerful than ever, so use this as an opportunity to teach her how to channel all of her energy in a healthy way.


           Cell Phone Hide-n-Seek       

       This is a really fun activity for you to play with your little one.  All that you need is a cell phone and your home phone (or another cell phone) and you're ready to play!

       First, hide your cell phone somewhere in the house where your toddler will hear it ring.  Next, call your cell phone by using your house phone and let your toddler find it.  If you want to make this game a little more challenging, you can even change the ringer on your cell phone every time he is able to locate it.

       This is an easy and fun way to entertain your toddler, while helping him to fine tune his listening skills and use sounds to lead the way.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           I really enjoyed the twist on this version of Hide-n-Seek.  My 26-month-old twin boys are obsessed with cell phones and any other little electronic gadgets that they can get their hands on for that matter, and this was the perfect way for them to go on a little adventure throughout the house and really focus on using their listening skills.

       I began this activity by hiding my cell phone directly behind Devin and Andrew thinking that I would make the first search a simple one.  I then called my cell phone from the house phone, and stood back to watch their reaction.  Lesson number one...choose your ring tone carefully.  Apparently, my phone was not only very loud, but it was also set on a horrible high pitched ring that made both boys jump about five feet off of the ground and run out of the room.  Bad start...

       So, after changing my ringer and calming the boys down again, I gave it another shot.  This time I placed my cell phone under the kitchen table (a safe distance away) while Andrew and Devin were in their room playing.  Upon hearing the phone ring (much more pleasantly) their curiosity got the best of them and both entered the kitchen.  I then asked the boys to help me find my lost phone and they were hooked.  Andrew immediately located the phone and beamed from ear to ear as he snatched it and ran.

       After a short wrestling match, I was able to retrieve my phone and hid it again.  This time Devin was able to beat Andrew to the punch and found it.  This game went on for almost an hour until the boys both began to lose focus and became distracted.  It was definitely a success however, and I will definitely keep it in mind the next time I'm stranded somewhere and in need of a great distracter.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           Why is it important to be a "playful parent"?       

       Playing with your toddler is an essential component of being a parent, and it is during this time that some of life's most valuable lessons will be learned.  By joining your 26-month-old in her little world, you will both be able to connect with one another on a completely different level than that which occurs during other interactions.

       Roughhousing, goofing-around, and letting your toddler take the lead will not only re-affirm the bond that already exists between the two of you, but it will also pave the way to tackle emotional difficulties, or any other bumpy patches that the two of you may encounter as she grows up.

       After spending a little time with your toddler down on her level, you may learn a thing or two about your toddler that you didn't know before, and you may even have to re-think your disciplining techniques after figuring out what really makes her tick.  Life takes on a whole new perspective from 3 feet off the ground, and what you thought was working may need a little tweaking once you get down there.

       Finally, being a more playful parent is a wonderful way to break away from the seriousness of the world that faces us every time we step out the front door.  There is no better cure for a rough day at work, or a difficult day at home with the kids than shaking your sillies out, so go ahead-sit on the floor, and laugh.


Quality Time
By Stacy Dennis, edHelperBaby

           Where does the time go?  Between going to work, grocery shopping, cleaning the house and running other necessary errands, how do we find time to spend with our children?  This is a problem that many parents face.  We are so busy with our "to do lists" that our children unintentionally get pushed to the side.  Is there a way to fit everything in?       

       I do not know a single person who does not want more quality time with their child.  Maybe what we need to do is turn our everyday activities into quality time.  For example, grocery shopping is well known to be a nightmare with a toddler.  It does not have to be though.  Try talking to your toddler as you walk through the store.  Point out different products and let him help you by looking for the product, getting it off the shelf and placing it in the basket for you.  This is an excellent way of teaching him what different products are, and engaging him in the shopping trip.  When a child is engaged, tantrums are minimized.       

       When riding in the car from the grocery store to the dry cleaner, talk to your child.  Most of us turn on the radio or the DVD player and have no interaction with our child in the backseat.  This is a great time to have a conversation or point out things that you see as you drive down the road.  Even if your child cannot respond back to you, he is still engaged and learning from what you are saying.  I also like the idea of putting a children's book in the car.  If you are stopped at a red light, pull the book out and start reading.  In this world where things never slow down, we have to take every opportunity we can to have positive interaction with our children.       

       Most likely, our schedules will only get busier as our children get older.  Quality time does not have to be extra time set aside from our everyday lives.  Quality time can be anytime we want it to be.  Our children want our attention more than anything else.  They want us to notice them and to love them.  By making the effort to talk to them and involving them in what we are doing, we are showing them they are an essential part of everything we do.       

       More ideas for bringing Quality time in to our everyday lives:       
  • Let your child pick out fruit/vegetables at the grocery store.
  • Cook dinner together.
  • Let your toddler help set the table with napkins or paper plates.
  • Make cookies together.
  • Let your toddler help you push the vacuum or mop.
  • Let your toddler use his play lawn mower alongside you while you mow.
  • Eat dinner together without the television on.
  • Sit down with your toddler to watch an appropriate show together.
  • Let your toddler help you diaper or feed his infant sibling.

Cleaning Your Home Without Polluting the Air Your Baby Breathes!
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           What does a typical Saturday morning hold for you?  If it involves cleaning the house, in all likelihood you will be turning to your little reservoir of chemicals to get the job done.  Keeping one place clean often means just shifting pollution from one location to another. The floor wax, furniture polish, window cleaner, copper scrub, tile disinfectant and air fresheners you use each week may leave your house spic and span but you also make a pernicious contribution to the hazardous waste problem in America.  Vast quantities of detergents, bleaches and polishes are manufactured from toxic chemicals.  The atmospheric and aquatic pollution that these chemicals produce has grown rapidly over recent years.  Just disposing of the empty container these chemicals come in, can send them right to the landfill, where the toxins leak into ground water and possibly to end up back in the kitchen which in turn comes out of the tap.       

       By making your own cleaning solutions, you not only improve the air quality in your home but you save a substantial amount of money doing so.  I have listed some of the cleaning solutions that I have used myself which do a great job.  You can clean out your old containers when they are empty and refill them with a healthier alternative so you will have it on hand when you need it.
  • Bathroom Cleaners - The problem: Many bathroom cleaners are full of dangerous chemicals which affects our health as well as the environment.  The solution: create a paste of water and baking soda for porcelain.  Allow to set before rubbing clean.  Borax is an excellent germ killer, repels cockroaches, deodorizes and whitens.  Powder or abrasive cleaner is to rub area with one half lemon dipped in Borax, rinse and dry.  It really works!  See disinfectants for more information.
  • Dish washing Liquid - The problem: Most dish washing liquids are detergents, not soaps.  They are derived from scarce petroleum, are non-biodegradable and usually contain chemical additives such as artificial fragrances and colors.  Detergents cause more child poisonings than any other product.  The solution: Use liquid soap such as Ivory Snow Flakes.  You could even add a little borax to disinfect.  Look for naturally derived or glycerin-based soaps.
  • Disinfectants - The problem: Most disinfectants are a witch's brew of toxic chemicals including phenol, formaldehyde, ammonia and chlorine.  Some of their toxic fumes can even escape through tightly closed containers!  The solution: Mix one half cup borax in 1 gallon hot water.
  • Drain Cleaners - The problem: the lye, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids found in drain cleaners can burn human tissue, causing permanent damage.  If not used precisely according to instructions, they can explode.  They are especially dangerous around children.  The solution: To maintain clean drains always use a drain basket.   Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt and one fourth cup cream of tartar.  Pour one fourth cup of this mixture down drain and follow with boiling water.  Clear clogs with one fourth cup baking soda followed by one half cup vinegar.  Cover till fizzing stops; then flush with boiling water.  For persistent clogs, use a metal drain snake available at hardware stores.
  • Flea and Tick Control - The problem: the vast majority of pesticides used for flea and tick control have never been adequately tested for safety.  You put these products on your pet and then they rub off on you and your children, exposing your family to the risk of cancer and other diseases.  The solution: Pet dips and sprays containing a gas deprived from citrus extracts repel pests safely.  Powders made from ground chrysanthemums sprinkled on the carpet, then vacuumed, prevent further infestation.  Insecticidal soaps are biodegradable, nontoxic and kill fleas, ticks and lice instantly.  100% organic repellents made from distillates of cedar wood, orange, eucalyptus and bay are available for house sprays and flea collars.  If you add one half tbsp. brewers yeast powder to your pets food daily this will also help to repel fleas.  You can also make a repellent by boiling one half cup rosemary in 1 qt. water.  Let soak for 10 minutes.  After it has cooled, spray or sponge on your pet and let dry before going out.  Do not towel dry.  Make a homemade organic flea collar by soaking a piece of cloth.  Let dry and use as a collar.  Another method is to add Skin So Soft Oil to pet's rinse water after its bath.
  • Floor and Furniture Polish - The problem: Most wood polishes contain chemicals that cause cancer in animals.  In addition wood polish may cause severe skin irritation.  The solution: Dust your furniture with a dry or slightly damp cloth.  Use butcher's wax once per year or you could measure 1/8 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix well and apply with cloth.  Buff with dry cloth.  Makes your hands nice and soft too!
  • Glass Cleaners - The problem: Glass cleaners emit ammonia mist which you breathe.  Ammonia is a poison but glass cleaning products, whose active ingredient is ammonia, do not carry a warning label.  The solution: First, use alcohol to clean the residual wax left from commercial glass cleaners.  Then clean with a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water, or mix 1 tbsp. white vinegar in 1 pint water.  Rub with newspaper.
  • House and Garden Pesticides - The problem: Pesticides contain some of the most toxic chemicals developed by man.  Many have been linked to birth defects, leukemia and cancer.  Drinking water becomes contaminated by pesticides.  The solution: Avoid "quick fix" chemical warfare against pests and weeds.  Creative alternatives include: beneficial bugs which attack the pests, organic insecticides and fertilizers, traps, companion planting and biological pesticides which use species specific bacteria to kill pests.
  • Laundry Products - The problem: most laundry products are non-biodegradable detergents.  Even phosphate-free, biodegradable detergents contribute to water pollution.  The solution: Use soap products and boost with "washing soda".  Washing soda brightens all washable fabrics and costs less than bleaches.  You can also use borax.
  • Mold and Mildew Cleaners - The problem: These cleaners contain pesticides.  Exotic chemicals for killing molds and mildews may have side effects you did not bargain for such as eye and skin irritation and lung damage.  The solution: Make a concentrated solution of borax or vinegar and water and clean affected areas.  Borax is an excellent inhibitor of mold growth.
  • Mothballs/Deodorizers - The problem: These products often contain a known carcinogen.  Furthermore, these powerful poisons look like candy to young children.  A two year old child ingesting one mothball can develop seizures in less than an hour.  The solution: Store woolens with cedar blocks or place in cedar trunks in small dishes to absorb odors.   White vinegar set in open containers will also destroy odors.  Houseplants are decorative and fragrant air purifiers.
  • Organic Flypaper: Rub honey on yellow paper and hang.
  • Toilet Cleaners - The problem: These products contain chlorine and hydrochloric acid which can burn your skin and eyes.  Manufacturers' warning labels tell you not to breathe the product that you are using.  The fumes alone can corrode metal!  This is possible even with a closed container.  You are also warned that swallowing the product can cause death!  The solution: Use soap and borax.  Remove stubborn rings and lime build up with white vinegar or a pumice stone.
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner - Pour cola in bowl and leave for 10 minutes then brush.


Separation Anxiety
By Stacy Dennis, About my child Jackson Dennis

           Next week my husband and I are going on a five day vacation without my two year old son, Jackson.  I have been so excited about this trip until now.  We are planning a romantic get away which is the first one since our son was born.   While I know Jackson will be well cared for at my parent's house, I am starting to get cold feet.  I have even considered canceling the trip.  I am with Jackson most of the time and am having a hard time imagining myself without him for five whole days!  How is he going to handle it?  I am all of a sudden feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt.  Why, as a mother, do I feel a need to be there every second?  It is clear in my head that it is healthy for me to have some time alone with my husband, but my heart is tugging in the other direction.  I know once the plane lands, and I see the beach for the first time in years, my worries will dissipate.   I also know I will cherish every second alone with my wonderful husband. The thing I need to keep reminding myself is that I will go home refreshed and a better mother for taking this time away.  Although I am anxious about my first time away from my precious toddler, I am going to make the most of it.   I have a funny feeling that my parents will miss me more than Jackson will.

How Fast They Grow!
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah

           Your two year old child is growing and gaining weight at a steady but slower pace.  You will see the baby fat melt away as your child becomes taller and thinner.  They may gain between three to five pounds and grow an average of three to five inches. On an average, they have grown about fifteen inches since birth.       

       My granddaughter, Leah, came over yesterday and I had not babysat her for a couple of weeks.  I could not believe how tall and thin she looked.  She had changed so much even in that short amount of time.  Her vocabulary had increased and her words become clearer every day.  She seems to be growing up so fast.  Leah and other two year old children may add ten new words daily.  Enjoy this precious time with your child because before you know it he or she will be graduating from high school!       


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