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Toddler - Week #55

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Week 55: Your relationship with Daddy is going to thrive!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Your 55-week-old baby is probably walking and may even try to run these days. Not only can he walk well, he has probably started to attempt to bend over to pick up his toys. One of his favorite toys right now, is most likely a ball. At 13 months, your baby is possibly able to roll the ball back and forth with Daddy. It is nice to see activities with Daddy increasing these days, too, since baby has been so attached to Mommy for so long.


Creating Good Readers:
           One of the most important things you can do as you read to your child is ask questions. As you read the story you can make it more interactive by asking your child where things are on the page. Asking questions is the key to creating an interaction between the two of you. It will teach your child that words and pictures not only tell a story, but require the reader to make a connection to the story. This can also be helpful if you are enjoying a book with a young child and the book has too many words on each page. You can actually look at the book without even reading the story. This is often a good way for Daddy to take pleasure in a book with the baby.


Book of the Week:
            Daddies are for Catching Fireflies

       By: Harriet Ziefer       

       This book is great for reading with Dad! It is a wonderful story about all the fun things baby loves to do with Daddy. It is also a lift-the-flap book which lends itself to a great deal of interaction between your child and the story. Under each flap, the child is participating in an activity with Daddy. For instance, on one page, Daddy is shaving. Then you lift the flap and the child also has shaving cream on his face. In the book, Daddy is doing all sorts of great things with and for the children-protecting the boy from big dogs, putting the girl on his shoulders for a better look at the parade, and more. This book encourages Dad to read to your child, which is a fantastic thing given how attached baby is to Mommy these days!


           Our activities to go along with the book this week were all about Dad. A nice activity for babies is having their feet painted. This also makes a nice gift for Dad, Grandpa or anyone really. Paint the child's feet with poster paint. Let the child walk all over a poster board. Then cut up the poster board into strips that are the size of a large bookmark. Write a phrase like:  "Following in your footsteps, Daddy (or whoever the gift is for)" across the bookmark. If you can, laminate the bookmark for safe keeping. Another nice idea is to take a photo while your child is finger painting. Have the child finger paint all over a frame mat. Use the finger painted mat in the framed photo. Be sure to write a message to Dad and include the date on this memento. Here is a poem you may like to write on the mat:

        My dirty little hand print

       I've left on every wall

       And on the drawers and table tops

       I've really marked them all.

       But here is one that won't rub off,

       I'm giving it to you...

       Do you know why??

       Well, I'm so thankful

       to have a father (or grandma, grandpa, etc) like you.

       If your child doesn't have his own set of plastic tools, you may consider buying one now. At this age, he will love to mimic Daddy while things around the house are being fixed. Even if you just get a plastic hammer, he will love to play with it. Encourage Dad to allow baby to accompany him during fix-it jobs. Also suggest to Dad that he narrate what he is doing while baby is with him. It is vital to language development for the child and will also really foster that father-child relationship.


Rhyme Time:
           Here is an idea for making a rhyme about Dad: Sing this to the tune of the well-known rhyme, "B-I-N-G-O" but change the letters to "D-A-D-D-Y" and sing, "There was a baby who had a dad and Daddy was his name, oh, "D-A-D-D-Y" and Daddy was his name, oh!" Continue to sing replacing one letter at a time with a clap, just like you do when singing the "BINGO" tune.


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan really liked this book because of the flaps. He likes to look for things on each page, like the shoes on the first page. I will say we do not always get to read every word on each page since Evan isn't big on sitting still for too long. But we can say things on each page like, "Where are Daddy's big shoes?" or just do peek-a-boo under each flap.       

       Again, body painting is a favorite activity for Evan. It is like a massage for him! He loves painting his feet, and he loves getting messy with finger paints. Therefore, making these gifts for Dad and Grandpa were quite fun.       

       It was also nice to encourage more play with Dad this week. Evan loves me, for sure, and is clung to me always. I have been trying to encourage him to feel safe and confident with others like Dad or Grandma and Grandpa. Evan loves, loves, loves to pass the ball back and forth. He really thinks he is quite cool when he gets his hands on his older brother's basketball and releases it letting it bounce along the floor. Ball play is a great way to encourage him to play with others instead of always looking for me. Daddy is fun to play ball with.


You're probably wondering.....
           Question: "How can I get Daddy involved more with my toddler?"       

       Before I begin to ponder this, I must say, my husband is really great at the business end of raising our children. He will get them bathed and dressed for school, make their lunches, and such. But it is harder to get him to realize that playing with the children is equally important. I could print out research from the internet that proves the importance of play for young children, but I don't think that would do it for him! So what can you do to get him to play with the baby more? Whether this is an issue for you or if the opposite is the issue for you (Daddy likes to play but not do the other stuff like baths), the best way to get what you want is to directly ask! We have a habit of feeling we do too much or stewing over our ideas that Dad isn't doing something, but we never come right out and say it. So this week, I decided to just say, "Here, play ball with Evan while I do the dishes." Asking is the first step to better communication with your partner. We cannot expect people to read our minds. The other part to this is allowing Dad to do things his own way. Once you have asked Dad to play ball with the baby, do not criticize the way he does it! That is another bad habit of moms! We will ask Daddy to do something and then be critical if he doesn't do it exactly as we would. Instead, give him lots of sincere praise for it so he will be encouraged to play with your child more and more. Everyone will be happy; you, Daddy and of course, baby!


Keeping Memories Safe
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

         Parents are constantly taking pictures of their children. Month after month they end up with more and more pictures with no place to put them. Scrapbooking is a fantastic idea but it is very time consuming especially for someone with young children. The other problem with scrapbooking is the possibility that it may not stay together forever. A fantastic alternative to scrapbooks and photo albums is a bound, hardcover photo book. An excellent website for photo books is www.mypublisher.com. You are able to download the software for free and create your own book page by page with your digital photos. There is plenty of room for captions and photos can be cropped and enhanced once they are put in the book. Soft cover books start at around $13.00 and hardcover at about $25.00. The books are beautiful and very well made. Your pictures will be safe for years to come!

Purging the Clutter
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Okay, your toddler has now outgrown the pajamas that he has worn only three times. You are sick of looking at the pile of toys that your daughter has only glanced at a few times. You just celebrated their first birthday and your twins have more stuff than you do! What is the best thing to do with these items?       

       Obviously, one place that will gladly take such items would be your local charity. If there is a consignment store in your locale and you like the store's terms, you could make a little extra money and sell your items at the consignment shop. Perhaps, the local moms' club or your group of friends can mix and match such items.       

       The important thing is to purge your house frequently. As your child gets older, this can become a monthly opportunity to teach him or her the value of "letting go." Just think, the more help children get now at cleaning out closets, the less work you will have to do when they are ready to pack for college!

Consistent and Small
By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

           Consistency and starting small are solutions for achieving many developmental milestones, including communicating with your toddler. Each day, begin with the same command such as "Find Mommy the ball" as well as repeat your child's name along with repeating the command. After a few repeats, if he does not retrieve the item, grab it yourself. Then hand the item to him while saying "Here's the ball", for example. It will take a few days, weeks or a month in some cases, but being consistent with just a few commands shows him exactly what you are trying to convey to him. Even try two to three different commands throughout the day. Keep in mind, though, that he will get confused if you demand too much and will give up if he is not rewarded with a bear hug or other type of praise from you. Before long, your toddler will know what you are saying in most cases, but do not count on him cooperating every time.       


Too Helpful
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           I started taking care of my three month old nephew, Carson, about five weeks ago. My one year old son, Austin, absolutely adores his baby cousin. He likes him so much in fact that when he is not kissing him, he is trying to feed him, burp him or put his pacifier in his mouth. I know that Austin is just trying to be helpful but sometimes he is too close for comfort and I do not want him to squish Carson!

       So as to not hurt Austin's feelings but still give Carson some relief, I started to teach Austin how to do things for his cousin without having to be touching him all the time. Austin now enjoys reading to Carson, dances for him and shows him what he can do with his toys such as stacking his blocks or putting a puzzle together. Austin still has the satisfaction of helping to care for his cousin and Carson is no longer being poked, prodded and drooled all over constantly.  Do not get me wrong as there is still quite a bit of kissing going on but Carson does get some breathing room now!       

Playing With Others
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate has a new opportunity now that I have gone back to work part-time and he gets dropped off at the babysitter's house. He is learning how to socialize with someone near his own age. Although I wish that I could stay at home with Nate, I do see that it is helpful to his development to interact with others besides Mom.       

       At home, since he is the only child, his every wish is more or less granted. His dad and mom certainly know his favorite toys and songs that entertain him. He does not have to talk very much to make his wants known to us. I think it will be good for him to stretch himself to grow into a little boy who can make his wishes known in a clear way. Waiting his turn and sharing toys are good skills to gradually learn, too.

Follow Me
By Lindsey Hill, About my child Camden

           Playing outside will always be an activity we enjoy within our family of two very active little boys. Therefore, I take many opportunities while my three year old is playing Tag with the neighbor kids or fighting the dragons from his play-set castle to play with Camden. Camden's latest trick is trying to walk up and down the driveway with no assistance. The driveway sits at a slight angle, so it has taken a few weeks to master. Encouraging him not to become too overzealous which then results in a painful fall, I am also reminding him to "walk slowly". At first, he would try to take off "running", but now that he is following my commands a little better, he will stop, look up at me while I am talking to him, smile, and then slow down so he will not topple over. Consistency taught Camden a bit about safety!


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