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Toddler - Week #67

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One year, Week 15:Evan's Got a Throw That's Mean!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           At nearly 16 months, Evan throws a ball like he could be in the major leagues! Seriously, he throws the ball over hand and it goes pretty far! I didn't think too much of this before but watching him toss a ball back and forth with a family member at a party this week, had me thinking about it more. He really enjoys playing ball and I am amazed at how well-developed his pitch is!


Creating Good Readers:
           Practice makes perfect! The book I selected this week proves this old adage. Re-reading books that your child enjoys is important. After hearing a story over and over again, children learn the words and can say them back after awhile. When he repeats a story back to mom or dad, the child feels like he is reading. Of course, you must choose stories that are appealing to the child. To this day, my twelve-year-old son prefers to read books that are about extreme sports he likes to partake in. This helps build confidence in reading. As we all know, feeling confident in one's abilities is what helps us get better and better at any skill.


Book of the Week:
           Mouse Practice

       By: Emily Arnold McCully       

       Another mouse story! In this story, a little mouse named Monk wants to play baseball with the big kids. Hmmm-know anyone who can relate to that? I do! Evan always wants to play baseball with his older brothers! But Monk isn't as good as they are and he misses a catch. The big kids feel bad for him but he doesn't like their pity. He wants to be good at baseball so they will look at him like one of them! He learns a valuable lesson from his parents even though they know nothing about baseball! Practice makes perfect. Practice is how they became good at playing music and it is how Monk will become good at baseball.


           Play Ball- an activity that is important for so many reasons. Of course it is important for developing gross motor skills. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination because baby has to track the location of the ball. Finally, playing ball definitely helps develop relationships as you must share and take turns with the ball.       

       You can also start to play baseball indoors with your toddler. Take an empty wrapping paper tube for your child to use as a bat. Obviously you aren't ready to hand him a real baseball bat! But the tube will be perfect for hitting either a piece of crumpled paper that you form into a ball or a balloon. This is a very good activity for hand-eye coordination. And your toddler will have a ball trying to swing this bat! (Pun intended!)


Rhyme Time:
            Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a must for this week! You know how it goes:       


       Take me out to the ball game

       Take me out to the crowd

       Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks

       I don't care if I ever get back

       ‘Cuz it's root, root, root for the Red Sox

       If they don't win it's a shame

       It's one, two, three strikes you're out of the old ball game!



Evan's Opinion:
           My little guy is already Mr. Sports! He loves to throw any ball. He has a thing these days, especially, for football. But he's up for anything that can be thrown-baseball, basketball,--you name it! He even tried to stand on a skateboard this week! I can tell I am in for it as he grows up! But that's okay-the more active, the better. He got a real kick out of swinging the tube as his bat. A word of caution with balloons, though. Evan seems to like to try to squeeze a balloon as hard as he can-seeming like he wants just to pop it. Balloons can be a serious choking hazard. If you think at all that it may pop in this activity, you should use the paper ball instead. Balloons cannot be removed by using the Heimlich maneuver once they are lodged in a child's throat.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "What would I do if my child choked?"       

       I just finished my CPR course for work. I take a refresher course every year. And every year, I wonder to myself if I would ever be calm enough to help if it were my own child. Of course, the answer is yes because it would have to be yes! I would have to tell myself to calm down enough to act. I like to think I would gain composure and use what I have learned.       

       So what have I learned about kids and choking? A great deal and I recommend setting aside half a day or so to learn CPR fully on your own by a trained professional. But here are some basic guidelines I have learned. The first thing to know is to unlearn everything you know. Perhaps your mom or grandma slapped you on the back when you choked. Or maybe you were given a glass of water and told to drink whenever you choked as a child. One of my sitters even used to say to my child, "Look up at the lights!" when she was choking. Not sure what that one was about. In any case, all of these ideas are not what the experts will tell you to do. In fact, they are more hazardous than helpful. You have a little flap that opens and closes over the two pipes leading to your stomach and lungs. Something tells this flap which tube to cover whether you are swallowing air or food. If you tell someone to drink water, this is going to disturb that communication in a way. As it is, this communication is already confused and that's why the child is choking. Remember when your mom said something had gone down the wrong tube. She was right actually, that's what made you choke. Also, don't think slapping the child on the back is a good idea either. If the object the child is choking on is not fully lodged all the way in the throat, you may actually cause it to go down further and that is not what we want! We want the object to come up and out. How can you help that happen? You help by doing not much actually. If the child is coughing, your one job is to encourage him to keep coughing and stay by his side. Hopefully, he will keep coughing until the object comes out on its own. If not, and you begin to hear gasps for air or a hissing noise, that's when you need the Heimlich maneuver. That's why you really should take the course! Also, remember to always communicate with your pediatrician about any choking incident. Even if you are relieved that the object came dislodged and you think it is over, I recommend just placing a call to inform the doctor. Some experts say the doctor may want to check the child to be sure everything really is alright. If anything, it will put your mind at ease. But one more thing about putting your mind at ease-you know what else can help put your mind at ease? A CPR class! Now go make a call!


Swimming, Dogs and Stairs...Oh My!
By Liz Hanson, edHelperBaby

           "My son does not like getting his face wet."  "My daughter is afraid of dogs."  "Should we let Devon near the stairs?"  These are all common concerns of parents who have young children.  It is our job, as parents, to broaden the immediate environment of our children so that they are exposed to many situations that they may be faced with in the coming years.       

       I have already run into these same situations with my friends who have young children.  When is it appropriate to familiarize your child with swimming, dogs and stairs?  That decision is up to you.  If it were up to me, I would say, "The sooner, the better."       

       Ideas for the reluctant swimmer:
  • Splash around a little more at bath time. Show your child that it is okay to get your face wet.
  • Get a small swimming pool for your home.  Your child can explore the water on his own terms.
  • Sign up for a swimming class.  There are many swimming classes or open swimming sessions available through community education.  This gives your child a chance to interact with other children in the water as well as see how other children play in the water.
       Ideas for dog phobias:

       In this case it might be a good idea to familiarize your child with dogs before this becomes a phobia.  If you do not have a dog, find one to borrow.  Be sure to check that the dog you are visiting is good with children.       
  • Ask a friend or neighbor if you can introduce your child to their dog.  Let your child watch the dog at first from a distance.  When you sense that your child is comfortable, try to get a little closer.
  • Go to a pet store and have your child look at the dogs through the window.
  • Go to a park and see if there are any dogs for the viewing or petting.  If your child sees you petting a dog, they are more likely to want to pet the dog.

       Ideas for introducing the stairs:

       The first time your child notices the stairs would be a good time to familiarize the child to the stairs.  This may also depend on the mobility of your child.  I am all for baby gates and keeping children safe but if your child has no experience with stairs until they are three, it will be something else you need to teach later.  My feeling is why not teach it now so they grow up knowing your expectations.       
  • Start at the bottom of the stairs and gauge your child's interest.  If your child is starting to stand or walk with assistance and seems interested in the stairs, have her try climbing the stairs.  Some children are more interested in trying to climb the stairs on all fours.  Carefully monitor and assist where needed.
  • Once your child has mastered the stairs with assistance, try climbing them at least once a day so your child is familiar with them.
  • When your child tries to go towards the stairs, remind her that she needs to stop unless she has your help.
  • Use a baby gate when you are not able to keep a constant eye on your child.  This might be when you are cooking in the kitchen.  You do not want any unexpected falls.
       You might be wondering when it is a good time to introduce swimming, dogs, and stairs to your child. Watch your child and look for cues.  If you have a swimming pool, a dog and stairs at your residence, you have got it made.  Just introduce each of these a little at a time.  It will be a little more difficult if you do not have access to any of these.  In this case,  you will need to do a little searching for opportunities.  Remember, the earlier and more often you expose your child to these situations, the better the chance you have of preventing phobias of them.       


Amelia's World
By Liz Hanson, About my child Amelia Pearl

           In the last month, Amelia has become interested in swimming, walking up the stairs and playing with Lenny, our dog.  We were lucky that a lot of these things came easy for her.       

       Amelia has been eager to play with Lenny even though he is three times her size and occasionally knocks her over. She will try to pet him, offer him food and pat the couch for him to come over for a visit.       

       Amelia also has no problem being in the water.  In fact, we usually want to get out of the water before she does.  We have been to a couple different swimming pools and a splash pad.  She has had many different experiences being in the water, getting splashed in the face and seeing what other children do in the water.       

       We also have not had to worry too much about the stairs.  Amelia tried the stairs at my parent's house and we have been practicing them ever since.  Each day we go downstairs and I have her walk up them with help.  She likes to climb the stairs on all fours with her daddy.       


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