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Toddler - Week #60

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One Year and Eight Weeks: How Can I Stop These Shrieks?

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           My 60-week-old baby has reached a milestone I am not cherishing as a wonderful memory. In fact, I had hoped this milestone would come at a later date or just never have happened at all! TANTRUMS! Somehow, my sweet, little, easy going baby has begun to throw himself on the ground when he does not like something. He also has started to say the word "up," which usually is the beginning of the tantrum. He will toddle over to me and say "up," reaching his arms toward me. But I cannot pick him up every second of the day. If I do not pick him up immediately, he will first push me by holding onto my knees. If this does not get him what he wants, he will lay himself down on the floor and fake a good cry! It isn't a milestone I have been anxiously awaiting, but it is a rite of passage for kids to tantrum.


Creating Good Readers:
           Books are all about developing language. Right now, Evan has only a little bit of language-not many words! He needs me to fill in the words for him. When he is begging to come up into my arms, he is only able to say "up" right now. So I respond by filling in more with phrases like "Evan wants mommy to pick him up?" or when he is tantruming, I will try to put words to the emotion. Young children are always learning that words have power, and books are the ultimate tool to teach this concept to them. When choosing the best books for reinforcing this concept, you must find a happy medium. For young children, you want to find books that do not have too many words on each page. But you also want to find books that can allow for you to elaborate and ask questions or make comments. Talking about books while you are reading them will help show the power of words.


Book of the Week:
            I'm Bad!

       By: Kate McMullan       

       This book is a sturdy, brightly colored board book that will engage your child right away. The main character is a mean, rough and tough dinosaur on the prowl for his dinner. He stomps around looking for a critter to feast on. He has "rip ‘em up claws and bite ‘em up fangs" that he uses to try to scare the other animals. But in the end, he can't catch anything so he has a tantrum! It's a tantrum on a gigantic scale. And who is there to help him at the very end? His mommy! She is waiting there with dinner and saves the day-as all mommies do! Your child will love the colors, the action, and the roar of this story. He might even be able to relate a little to the giant-sized tantrum. And this book is perfect for asking questions. It even has a few questions of its own written inside. One page even asks, "Are you bad?" as the "terrible" dinosaur explains how bad he really is (even though he is not really that bad!).


           Dinosaurs are fun for little boys. Evan likes to play with plastic dinosaurs. Here is a fun activity you can do with these plastic critters.       

       Paint the bottoms of the dinosaurs' feet. Choose different types of dinosaurs for interest. Let your child stomp each dinosaur's feet onto a piece of white construction paper. Change colors with each different dinosaur. The pattern that develops will be very interesting and colorful.       

       Another fun thing to do is grow your own dinosaur feet! Don't worry; you will be able to take the dinosaur feet off when you are done playing! Simply get different colored rubber dishwashing gloves and wear them on your feet. You will look quite silly, but you will have a blast stomping around like the big bad dinosaur in the book. You can even chant some of the phrases from the book. Pretend you are the big dinosaur looking for dinner and try to catch your child, the smaller dinosaur, to eat! Tell him, "You're not too smalls, to be my meatballs!" just like in the story.


Rhyme Time:
           Make up your own dinosaur rhyme this week. Use a familiar tune like "I'm a Little Tea Pot" to sing your own rhyme. Here is my idea:       

        I'm a giant dinosaur

       Tall and strong

       Here is my tail

       Here are my claws

       When I get all hungry

       Just watch out

       I'll chase you down

       As I stomp all about!


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan loves dinosaurs! He enjoys playing with little plastic figures like dinosaurs. He actually made the dinosaur tracks paper at school and reportedly had fun doing this. He found wearing the gloves to be hilarious. It really is a fun thing to do with your child. I have to say, I cannot take credit for this. Many years ago, my older son, Jacob, dreamt up this idea. He was two (he is now sixteen) and took my mom's gloves to put on his feet. He immediately thought he looked like a duck and began walking around quacking. He is quite creative! The chase was very entertaining for Evan. He loves any dramatic play like this. It was also wonderful for me because I started the play but could bow out to get other things done, and let Alice, my four-year-old, take over the chase. That is always helpful for me.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "What do I do with these tantrums?"       

       What I do regarding these tantrums is very important as it may affect Evan's development in so many different ways. My response to these situations will affect his language development, his behavior in the future, his social and emotional development, and even his feelings of security. Not too much pressure to make the right decision every time he tantrums. Do I ignore a tantrum and not allow Evan to think he can manipulate me with "bad" behavior? Or do I respond gently and give him words to put to these emotions? I think the answer is a little of both.       

       Your child's lack of language skills is to blame for a tantrum. A child at this age has a limited vocabulary. Typically a fourteen-month-old may have one to five words. Evan has about four-momma, dada, baba, and now, up. Don't worry, though, if your child has only one. Talking is like walking-some do it faster than others. Look closely and you will see the signs that the skills are developing. Your child may not say much, but if you look closely, can you tell he is understanding what you say? Does he point to things he wants? If so, you really don't need to worry too much. Of course, if you ever worry about anything, ask your doctor-that's what she is there for!       

       So because he has a limited vocabulary and because he knows his cries have been answered very quickly, he has decided to use them to get his needs met. When Evan puts his arms up and says "up," I most often pick him up. I feel he needs a cuddle when he asks for it. That's my job as mom. However, he will often squirm to get down within seconds. Yet, when I put him down, he will get upset. That's when he will push my legs and throw himself to the ground to have a good cry. Ugh!       

       What to do? I try to run down the possible causes. Often, Evan is like the bad dinosaur in the story-hungry! Either that or he is tired. I will try to put these words to his emotions so he can begin to learn to connect his emotions to a cause on his own. I will say, "You are so sad. I wonder if you are hungry. Is your hungry belly making you sad?" and put him in his high chair for dinner. Most of our tantrums occur right before dinnertime! I do not want to entirely ignore the tantrum. But I also do not want to give in and pick him up for another cuddle. I need to find the happy medium between acknowledging his feelings, meeting his needs, but also setting limits. I need to be the momma dinosaur at the end of the book-standing there ready to save the day!


Too Much Television and Your Child's Development
By Jami White, edHelperBaby

         Have you ever felt guilty about sitting your child in front of the television while you get dinner started, wash a load of clothes, or just need five minutes to yourself? All parents have done this but the question still remains is this good or bad for my child?       

       Here are a few facts that research has found for children under the age of two:
  1. Infants and toddlers cannot distinguish between two- and three-dimensional objects. Basically this means that infants and toddlers need to watch shows that look real.
  2. In order to develop language skills, children need personal interaction. This would consist of someone talking, playing, singing and reading with your child as much as possible.
  3. Children need opportunities to play with objects in their environment. This would include activities such as splashing in a puddle of water or picking up cheerios, stuffed animals, leaves, etc.
  4. At this age, children begin to develop problem-solving skills. This is due to children being naturally curious about their environment and how things work. You've probably noticed your child trying to stack things or holding their shoes wondering how to put them on their feet.
     Television will not affect your child's development, if you make sure that the shows that you choose for them look as real as possible and that you limit the amount of time that your child spends in front of the television. There have been links between too much time spent in front of the television resulting in infants and toddlers becoming overweight, attention deficit disorder, irregular sleep patterns and shorter attention spans. If you think about the things that your children need during the first two years of their life, do they really have time to spend hours in front of the television?       

Bounce House Playtime
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           With winter quickly approaching, you may be worried about what you are going to do with your little one to keep him busy during the cold months. I recently came upon a fantastic play place called Bounce U. It is a warehouse type facility that is jam packed with amazing inflatable toys. There were slides ranging in size from about five feet in height to about 40 feet. Also,  there were all types of bounce houses and obstacle courses and even inflatable basketball courts and boxing rings. Bounce U is most suitable for children ages one to twelve. There are special areas for young children and parents are allowed to accompany their children on the equipment. Prices were reasonable, about $8.00 per child with discounts given to families with numerous children and adults get in free of charge. The staff at this particular location were very knowledgeable and helpful. All of the play areas were extremely clean. I was very impressed. Most importantly, the kids had a blast!! Check out their web site, http://www.bounceu.com for numerous locations in twenty-three states.       

Emergency Preparedness
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Our family just experienced a power outage that lasted about three days. It is a tough lesson for parents with small children--always be prepared for the worst. Here are some ways to survive a long-term power outage:
  • Buy extra formula or the milk your child drinks in aseptic containers. Neither has to be refrigerated.
  • There are several brands of pediatric nutrient drinks that can fill in nutritional gaps during emergency times.
  • Have several gallons of water on hand.
  • Buy a bag of ice that you can keep in your freezer.
  • Stock your pantry with "emergency use only" baby food or things your child can eat like crackers and cereal.
  • Keep batteries for radios and flashlights tucked away for emergencies.

       Remember, if a hurricane (a disaster you can predict) comes your way, you can follow the directions of your community and have time to prepare fully. But if you are stuck in the dark for some unpredictable reason, stores may be closed and you might be on your own for a few days. Be ready, stay calm and know that you have done your best to take care of you and your family.       


The Wonders of Motherhood . . . .
By Jami White, About my child DeVon

         I have spent the past few months wondering when DeVon would begin to walk. I have spent the past few months wondering when DeVon would begin to walk. If I had known then what I know now, I would not have rushed him. It is amazing how fast my child has gone from walking to RUNNING! I thought that he would walk and slowly progress to running. Boy was I wrong! I do not believe that my son knows how to walk as he is constantly running. Hey, maybe he'll be a track star!!       

     As a parent, you try to protect your child. You talk with them about slowing down, watching where they are going and walking instead of running. Although you say these things over and over again, your child is excited about this new thing that they can do. It is extremely nerve wrecking to wonder how many times your child can fall before he cuts his lip or the inside of his mouth, scrapes his knees or arms, or breaks something. Based on first hand experience, a parent is should have the first-aid kit handy at all times.       

      Traveling First-Aid kit should have these items:  Bandages and Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes and creams, baby wipes, instant cold packs, Acetaminophen (Check with your child's pediatrician first), sunscreen, insect-repellent, your child's medical history and shot records, and any medicines that your child might take for things such as allergies.       

Making Music
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

            My son, Austin, loves to make noise and lately his favorite toys are his musical instruments. Austin has many instruments to play from maracas, bongos, a trumpet, a microphone to a piano. Even though they tend to be very noisy, these are some of my favorite toys as well. Not only are they fun to play with but they are educational as well.

       Some of the instruments are very basic and are perfect for even very young children. The trumpet for instance is made by Disney and has the Little Einstein characters on it. It is a plush stuffed toy shaped like a trumpet. It has a button on the side and when the child presses it, the trumpet plays classical music. Austin puts the mouthpiece in his mouth and holds the trumpet with two hands moving it from side to side! It is adorable. Some of the other instruments are much more involved. Austin's current favorite is his V-Tech piano. This toy is great for children who like music or just enjoy making some noise. There is a book at the top with musical notes below it and each note corresponds with a part of the story. Below the book and notes is the piano's keyboard. There is also a microphone which Austin loves!

       Allowing children the opportunity to play with music and create different noises is essential. This type of exploration is not only fun and exciting but it helps children understand that music is not always background noise but it is also something that can also be created by them.       

Foot Stomping
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Out of nowhere, Nate has developed a new way of making his needs and wants known to us. He has begun foot stomping. If Mom or Dad is not quick enough to pick him up or if his toy is just out of reach, he will now resort to foot stomping with a bit of crying. The stomping looks as if he is running in place and it is hard not to laugh at how cute he looks. We do not always give in to the stomp or it will become a regular habit.       

       The question of the day is where did Nate learn this behavior? My husband and I obviously do not stomp to get our way. We asked the babysitter and her sixteen month old daughter does not do the stomp. It is a mystery. Perhaps, he did it once or twice on accident and we reacted, so now it is learned behavior. It is another reminder that how we act and react strongly affect Nate's development.       


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