GET THE MOST FROM THE TODDLER YEARS!
Expert guidance and smart, hands-on advice have made PARENTING magazine the preferred child-care resource for today's parents. The PARENTING books offer the same great mix of helpful, practical information and reassurance on raising children today. Now, PARENTING Guide to Your Toddler offers a step-by-step resource to the most challenging stage of your child's development:
Developmental Milestones: Your child's first complete sentence, first friend, first tricycle - Growth patterns, physical coordination, and identifying developmental delays - The fast-changing emotional life of the toddler
The Myth of the "Terrible Twos": Understanding how and why a toddler declares independence - Choices and self-control - Dealing with fears, clinginess, and aggressive behavior
Health and Safety: Common toddler ailments - Scheduling immunizations - Safety away from home
Daily Routines: Why regular family meals matter - Delicious, healthy snacks - Stress-free bedtimes and well-timed naps
The Do's and Don'ts of Discipline: Dealing with tantrums in public places - Choosing your battles (and letting your toddler win some) - Using "time-out" effectively
Having Fun Together: Identifying your child's unique "play style" - Activities toddlers enjoy most - Chores your toddler will love to do
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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Read an Excerpt
• An excited 14-month-old wobbles pell-mell down the sidewalk, swaying like a grown-up trying out in-line skates for the first time. “Birr! Birr!” she exclaims, pointing a pudgy finger across the lawn toward a robin.
• Wearing her favorite flowered hat and a pair of ballet slippers, struggling to zip up a dress, a busy 23-month-old sits in a heap of clothes that she’s been putting on and pulling off all morning. “My dress!” she insists, spurning all offers of assistance. “Do it all by self.”
• An enthusiastic 30-month-old, in brimmed cap and worn sneakers, swaggers about the yard, swinging a plastic baseball bat. At the top of his lungs, he belts out a medley of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (at least, as many words as he can remember), “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho” (from Snow White), and “Oh, a Pirate’s Life for Me” (from Peter Pan). When he accidentally conks himself on the head, the refrains dissolve into sobs. He reaches for his faithful companion, a frayed yellow blankie.
Those snapshots are of three of my own children as toddlers. The first one described is Margaret, brand-new walker, brand-new talker, who entered toddlerhood as I wrote this book. Eleanor, now 5, had just left it, her characteristic self-sufficiency and fashion sense still very much intact. The third description is of my oldest, Henry. Now 7, his race through the hectic but delicious years of toddlerdom is already a blurry memory (although he still has a soft spot for the yellow blankie).
How dramatically a baby changes between the ages of one and three—and how quickly. Toddlerhood flies by, even though it may not seem that way on any given day. Between getting a small child dressed in the morning and ready for bed at night, the hours sometimes would drag like an eternity for me. A single tantrum could also stop time, especially when it occurred right in the middle of the grocery store. Even though I was sleeping through the night once again by the time my children were toddlers, somehow I felt more wiped out by 8 P.M. than I had during their first year. Toddlers move faster than babies, for one thing. And they nap less.
Yet all the wilder aspects of toddlerhood are nicely balanced by heaps of bliss. For one thing, it’s when my children began to talk, which, aside from making life easier was also frequently hilarious. Count on a toddler to say and do the unexpected. Kids this age also make so many momentous (albeit ordinary) discoveries—how a light switch works, what sound a cow makes. A toddler still fits cozily in your lap, if not quite so easily on your hip. A toddler is never stingy with hugs and kisses. Best of all, my kids’ personalities began to clearly reveal themselves during these magical years.
With all these new experiences came new questions. Was it okay if my son ate nothing but cottage cheese for lunch and dinner for weeks on end? How should I prepare a 2-year-old for a new baby brother or sister? Why did my youngest have a vocabulary I could count on one hand, when at the same age her older sister was beginning to use sentences? What could we do on a rainy day? When would all these baby teeth come in, anyway? My appetite for information grew right along with my children.
This book offers answers. They’re not always absolutes. Families—and individual children—are too different for a one-size-fits-all approach to child rearing. Rather, as in PARENTING magazine, the idea here is to share the insights and opinions distilled from a wide range of experts: child-development specialists, pediatricians, psychologists, and, of course, fellow parents. You’ll find the latest thinking on classic issues such as raising a good eater and handling sleep problems. And I’ve also made a point of including such twenty-first-century topics as computers, play dates, preschools, co-sleeping, and more.
But the most important advice I hope you’ll glean about these delicious, topsy-turvy years is this: Enjoy every minute (okay, maybe not the tantrums). Because these years will be mere snapshot memories before you know it.
Chapter One: Your Growing Toddler
Toddlerhood is the brief whirlwind from about 12 months to 36 months. By your child’s first birthday, he or she may still look babyish, follow his or her babyhood schedule, and do many babylike things—but your little one is tottering on the brink of big changes.
Friends and relatives may smile knowingly and warn you of the “terrible twos” ahead. The two is used variously to refer both to the second year of life and to the next year, when the child is age 2—making the phrase synonymous with all of toddlerhood. Some upbeat child-rearing experts have spin-doctored the period as the “terrific twos.” In reality, however, terrible and terrific are both euphemisms, neither one totally accurate. On the other hand, fun, funny, exhausting, exasperating, eye-opening, magical—now those descriptions are a lot more like it.
This chapter maps out the way your child blossoms—physically, emotionally, mentally, and in language skills—during the short, terribly terrific span between baby and preschooler.
From Baby to Toddler
Once your baby learns to pull up and walk (or “toddle”), the world will never look the same to her. Nor will she look the same to you.
The snapshot you take on her first birthday will show a round-cheeked plumpkin whose rubbery legs dangle from the high chair while she mashes cake with her hands. She is transfixed by the candle, though you have to help her blow it out. She likes the singing, loves the crackling colorful wrapping paper. Despite the celebration, to her the day is like any other, although the grown-ups might seem especially cheerful. Maybe she can say a few words: “Mama! Daddy! More!” Maybe she likes to practice standing, or has already taken her first tentative steps along the sofa or across the floor.
A year later, the photo album will show a giddy 2-year-old dazed by the sight of a cake, candles, and presents. She’ll look enormous in the old high chair, the safety belt pulled out to its largest size, her long legs perhaps reaching the footrest. Her still-chubby face is smeared with icing, although she managed to get most of the birthday cake into her mouth with her own spoon. She can sing “Happy Birthday,” or at least a recognizable rendition, right along with you, and after she blows out both candles she applauds and commands, “Do it again!”
Another year later, a lean, leggy 3-year-old grins back at the camera. She has picked the cake decor, the ice cream flavor, and the party theme. She’s dressed herself in her favorite outfit because she knows it’s her special day. She’ll be the center of attention! She’s been counting down the days all week. Since sunrise, she’s been asking how long until dinnertime, so she could get at those coveted presents. By her third birthday, she’s become a bona fide preschooler, a toddler no more.
By now, you’ve probably compared enough notes with other parents to know that there’s a huge range of what’s considered normal in terms of children’s growth and development. What was true of infants is also true of toddlers. Be careful to resist the temptation to measure your child’s size or skills against those of his companions at the sandbox. An 18-month-old who seems too chubby is probably just fine, for example, and his weight will naturally fall into proportion with his height by his third birthday. Or you may notice a neighbor’s 30-month-old hopping on one foot, something your child has never even tried. Make note of your child’s overall progress to reassure yourself that he’s reasonably on track, but don’t obsess about it. Physical development isn’t rigidly predictable. Every child is different.
Here’s an overview of the physical changes that occur during toddlerhood:
Growth. The fantastic rate at which your baby grew from birth to 12 months slows in the second year. You won’t be replacing shirts and pants quite as often as you did in infancy, but it’s unlikely that a 1-year-old will still be wearing the same clothes six or twelve months later. Between 1 and 2, the typical toddler grows five inches and gains four to five pounds. Between 2 and 3, she’ll sprout up an additional two to three inches and add up to five pounds.
A child may measure in the 75th percentile in height or weight at one checkup, but in the median range a year later. That’s normal. Your child’s doctor will be looking for progressive growth from checkup to checkup. He or she will also look for a reasonable balance between height and weight.
Overall build. Your child will begin to elongate and thin out. Until sometime in the third year, he’ll still have a pot belly, swayed back, and wide-legged gait. His head will continue to appear slightly large atop his pudgy body. But gradually the head and body fall into better proportion, the torso slims, and the arms and legs lengthen. By age 3, he looks lanky, clearly older than he did at 2. Also by the third birthday, those chubby cheeks and button noses tend to take on a more sculpted, childlike appearance, too.
Teeth. More baby teeth (called primary teeth) come in during toddlerhood than infancy. Your child will collect his full mouthful of twenty choppers sometime between the second and third birthdays. The rate at which they arrive varies from child to child, though the sequence is generally the same. Before the first birthday, a child will usually have cut the two lower central incisors (also called the cutting teeth), followed a month or two later by the two upper central incisors and the four lateral incisors. The four first molars appear shortly after the first birthday. Then come the pointed canines and the second baby molars. Note that it’s also normal for a child not to cut a first tooth until 18 to 24 months. (Baby teeth usually don’t start to fall out until age 6 or 7.)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The material for this book is divided into those issues that matter to us most and with inserts that are given as advice from parents themselves. I found those most interesting. The tips and 'What if...' boxes are also very helpful. As a first time mother of a now two-year-old, I found it very easy to read (not a bunch of medical jargon and psychological mumbo-jumbo).