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Toddler - Week #99

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Your 23-month-old toddler (week 99)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Physical Development
           Welcome to life with a confident little child who is quite steady on his feet.  From this point on, your toddler will constantly be testing and trying out his new skills (as well as your patience) to the point of exhaustion, and his perseverance to succeed is unmatched.

       Your 23-month-old is now able to bend at the waist in order pick things up off of the ground, no longer finding the need to squat, and is quite adept at standing on tippy-toes to grab at things that were out of reach just a few months ago.  Days of taking a leisurely walk through the park with your toddler are slowly coming to a close and it's time to trade in your walking shoes for a good pair of running sneakers.  As you have most likely begun to notice, your toddler's energy is now on overdrive and running is a much more exciting way to get places.  He may enjoy walking along a low wall while holding your hand though, the excitement being that he's up off the ground and closer to your level.

       By this age, your toddler has probably figured out how to jump in place, and is actually getting two feet off the ground simultaneously.  Hopping across the room like a frog is not going to be a rare sight anymore, as well as his insatiable desire to jump off of anything and everything that he can climb up and onto.  Furthermore, your toddler will continue tackling the stairs both on the way up and on the way down, but no matter how agile and efficient he appears, he still requires your assistance in order to do so safely.

       Toddlers this age love physical activity; however, your little one will often step into hazardous situations that he has created for himself this month.  He may run full speed ahead, and just doesn't have the ability to come to a grinding halt when the wall jumps out in front of him.  He is also unaware of the dangers that lurk in the street, driveway, or parking lot, and does not have the understanding yet to remain safe on his own.  By 23 months, your toddler wants to run everywhere, and finds humor in having you chase after him.  He is completely unable to decide on his own where safe places are to "run away," so be especially aware of situations that may pose a risk to your toddler, and keep in mind that he is always a flight risk.


Motor Skills
           The closer your toddler gets to birthday number two, the more likely she is to begin dressing and undressing herself.  Zippers, loose shirts, and elastic-waisted pants allow her to practice these new skills, and they may also lead to your little one's decision to disrobe whenever she feels inspired.  Because your toddler's fine motor skills are developing quickly this month, it is the perfect time for her to begin playing dress-up.   Gather together a few fun items from the back of your closet, and sit back to watch how creative your toddler can get.  It is also a great opportunity to slowly begin introducing your toddler to new and simple challenges like buttoning, snapping, and buckling, but don't expect her to catch on completely for another few months.

       By 23 months, your toddler will continue to enjoy playing with simple puzzles, and she will likely be able to complete them on her own as well.  You will also notice her block towers growing taller and taller, however she still cannot resist the urge to knock it down (along with everyone else's in the room) once complete.

       Your toddler's skills in the art-room are also improving quite rapidly now, and you will notice that she is beginning to draw images that are more recognizable and less "scribbly."  Don't expect your toddler to begin drawing actual pictures quite yet, but do take notice of her new ability to draw shapes similar to circles, and lines which run from top to bottom and left to right, on the paper.  She will love to practice her drawing skills this month, so be sure to provide her with a few basic supplies and give her as many opportunities as possible to use them.  Toddlers this age love imitating what you draw as well, so take time to sit down next to her and brush-up on your own coloring skills too.  I'm yet to meet anyone, young or old, artist or not, who can resist testing out a brand-new box of Crayola Crayons anyway, so have fun.



       Rolling anything down a hill or homemade ramp can be fun.  It is a wonderful way to further the development of your toddler's motor control, and also provides a great opportunity to learn more about cause-and-effect.

       This simple activity only requires you to make a ramp (a long tray, plank of wood, large hardback book, or box lid will work just fine), and gather objects (small cars, balls, non-breakable jars, cans, etc.) that will roll.  Next, set up the ramp by propping it on the edge of a low table or chair, and let your toddler roll the things you've gathered down.  You can even vary this activity by making a tunnel for the objects to slide through on the way down if you want to take it up a notch!

       I know this sounds almost too simple to be entertaining, but I guarantee your toddler will be completely amused.  Sometimes it's nice to just keep things simple.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           I should have known that something so simple would be a huge hit with my 23-month-old twin boys.  Who needs all of the bells and whistles associated with so many toys available right now?  Especially when you can roll things down the lid of the toy box!  Go figure...

       Prior to beginning this activity, I gathered together a few small balls, medium sized cars, and Thomas trains.  Expecting that I had accumulated enough items to roll, I then searched around the house for something which could be temporarily transformed into a slide.  After looking high and low for something big enough to use, my search was temporarily interrupted when my eldest son snidely encouraged me to look in the living room to see what the twins were up to.

       I was greeted at the door by my snickering little twin boys who had removed every last item from their toy box and piled them sky high on the floor.  Aside from the growing mound of plastic in the middle of my living room, Andrew and Devin had also cleverly taken the lid off of the toy box, and were using it as a slide going from the couch onto the floor.  Perfect timing for their mischievous behavior, as they had graciously provided me with the remaining piece for our activity.  A slide.

       After removing Andrew and Devin from atop their "invention," I then showed them how to slide various objects (besides themselves) down the toy box lid.  They had a blast tossing one toy after the next, and the sound effects that went along with it "Wheeee, Crash!" were hysterical.  As to be expected, once the boys slid every toy possible down their slide, they did proceed to empty out my Tupper-ware drawer and spice drawer to watch more objects roll, but a day in my house would not be complete without a mess to clean up at the end.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           What type of birthday party is appropriate for a two year old?       

       It's best to keep this special event pretty low key and calm at this age.  Two-year-old children can quickly become very overwhelmed and overstimulated by too many guests, too many decorations, and in general, too much excitement.  Try and prepare your toddler for who and what will be coming to her birthday, and if you've chosen to take her somewhere special to celebrate, you may want to go for a test run before the big day.

       Try and limit the guest list to people that the birthday girl knows and likes, and schedule the party in order to accommodate your toddler's routine.  Keep the time frame for her party short (one-and-a-half hours is plenty), and never schedule it anywhere near nap-time in order to reduce your odds for a meltdown.

       It is very important to choose the location of your party wisely, and keep in mind that the attention span for the average two-year-old is limited so don't go for a theme with a great deal of audience participation.  Also, children this age frighten very easily, so characters in masks and possibly clowns may not be such a wise choice.  When decorating, keep it simple, and avoid latex balloons, as they pose a very serious choking hazard when popped or even deflated.  Lastly, if you will be providing food, be sure that everything served is safe for little ones' consumption, because wandering hands will be everywhere that day.

       Most importantly, have realistic expectations for your toddler during her party, and don't be surprised when she acts her age.  After all, she is only two.


Why wait until Preschool?
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           You can help your child at a very young age to gain a knowledge of science, stimulate cooperation, creativity and problem-solving skills.  Today's children spend far more time indoors than outdoors which is creating problems such as diabetes, obesity, attention disorders and depression according to many studies.  Parents can make a difference in a child's life right now by installing a love of the outdoors.  Take them outside and discover all the beautiful things around them.  Here are some ideas:
  • Smell a pretty flower
  • Find a ladybug
  • Watch the wind blow the trees
  • Let them see, feel, hear and touch the natural outdoors and learn about the wonderful world in which we live
  • Start an outdoor classroom of your own(a small square space with rocks, water and plants will do)

       You will be surprised what wildlife will be attracted to your own backyard.  If that is not possible, take a short walk through your neighborhood while you observe the beautiful world around you.  Take the time to stop and look at a bug crossing the sidewalk.  Even very young child are amazed by little creatures living all around us.  Children have a natural love for plants and animals.  It is up to us to keep that thriving in them.  Parents will increase children's ability to concentrate and spark a child's creativity.       

       What a fun way to teach your child their colors by observing the birds in your own backyard.  Put out a bird feeder and watch who comes to visit.  You can plant seeds in your backyard or a container and watch them grow with your little one.  Children will be so excited when the seeds sprout through the soil and then watch to see their flower's color.       

       You can teach numbers by counting the petals on a flower or the legs on an insect.  The more times children hear you saying the numbers the sooner they will count on their own.  Who thought counting could be so much fun?  Find at your local library books about insects, birds or flowers to read to your child then go outside and explore.  When we create a love of nature in our children, they will want to protect and preserve this beautiful place in which we live.       


Everything Works Better with a Song
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah

           At twenty-three months, most children can hum and sing which you can use to your advantage.  Leah hates to brush her teeth.  It is a struggle with tears every morning and night.  I knew she loved music and singing, so I thought  we could sing a song about brushing her teeth that would help.  I did a search and found several songs.  I played one in particular for her and she ran SMILING to get her toothbrush.  She brushed and danced and wiggled her hips to the beat of the music.  It is now a fun activity which keeps her brushing longer.  Can you imagine your child excited to brush his or her teeth?       

       Singing a song also helps picking up toys become a fun experience and teaches them the responsibility of picking up after themselves.  When I want Leah to pick up her toys scattered all over the living room floor, all I need to do is say, "It's clean up time" and start singing our clean up song and she runs over to help me pick up her toys putting them in her toy box while singing the song.  It makes me smile every time!       


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