Toddler behaviour Encouraging good behaviour: 12 tips Discipline

Connecting and communicating
Communicating with toddlers

An overview of toddler development

Common health issues

Daily care
Toilet training Teeth, sun care, dressing and bathing

Nutrition and fitness
Nutrition basics Healthy eating and exercise habits

Play and learning
Learning through play Reading and play ideas

Keeping your toddler safe

Sleep needs and bedtime routines Getting up after bedtime and moving to a 'big bed'
© 2009 Raising Children Network. All Rights Reserved. Page 1/19

replace it with a less precious but equally tasty item (see our tips on how to use distraction). Avoid giving it when your child is doing something you don't like. Allow exploring. It is one of life's most important milestones. if it's not acceptable to blow bubbles in her milk during lunch perhaps she can go outside later and blow bubbles in water. This helps give her a better understanding of the world around her. if you think she needs to do a wee. So. Explain the consequences of her behaviour so she can figure out why something is wrong. For example. ‘Would you like to go on the potty or the toilet now?’ Change the environment. By offering her two choices (either of which you are happy with). and be able to feel for you. Avoid rewarding bad behaviour. If she keeps doing it. move her away from the hot oven and give her a wooden spoon and a pot to bang. pull a sad face and say 'ouch'. When you ask her to do something.Behaviour Toddler behaviour Your baby has blossomed into a bundle of curiosity with an enquiring and demanding mind of her own. Here are some things to keep in mind about toddler behaviour: Toddlers are naturally curious about their world. Offer two choices. Page 2/19 . All Rights Reserved. When she wants to 'help' in the kitchen. avert your eyes and withdraw a little. Show her how you feel. She will recognise her own emotions in yours. Constantly telling her 'no' can pour cold water on this natural curiosity. of course. You may want to try some other ways to change behaviour you don’t like. many children start to control their urges. Your toddler has a lovely surprise in store for you. If she happens to pull your hair. © 2009 Raising Children Network. If she is sucking on your favourite scarf. Most children like to have some control over their world. you could say. Putting your child down (if you are holding her) or walking away from her are good ways of not giving attention if your toddler keeps doing something you don't like after you have asked her to stop. she may actually do it! By this age. They learn by testing and experimenting with everything around them. Your attention is a powerful reward for your child. Not all the time. Using 'I' statements helps. Put your favourite things out of reach so you don't have to tell your child not to touch them. like 'I don’t like it when you pull my hair'. you can guide her to the result you would like. The name for this wonderful ability is self-regulation. change their behaviour and do as mum or dad asks. like a mirror. Try to create situations where your child can explore life without lots of 'don'ts' and 'nos'. Let's make a trade.

By keeping instructions. 4. If you want your child to say ‘please’. you can give her some great positive feedback. They tend to get frustrated a lot. you are playing so nicely. If you don’t want your child to raise her voice. It also pays to remember that children will seek out negative attention if the only alternative is no attention at all. Encouraging good behaviour: 12 tips These 12 tips encourage good behaviour in children of all ages.’ Active listening is another tool for helping young children cope with their emotions. Children do as you do. This simply means that when your child is behaving in a way that you like. as a role model. Before you intervene in anything your child is doing. keep your voice at a reasonable level too. If you are close to her and have her attention. Try to say six positive comments (praise and encouragement) for every negative comment (criticisms and reprimands). Some extra time. sensitivity and planning can help. Kneeling or squatting down next to children is a very powerful tool for communicating positively with them. When you follow through on your promises. Get down onto their level. This positive feedback is sometimes called ‘descriptive praise’. so when you repeat back to them what you think they might be feeling. I really like it when you keep all the blocks on the table’. 1. it helps to relieve some of their tension and makes them feel respected and comforted. Keep promises. use your own behaviour to guide her. Choose your battles wisely. That works better than ‘waiting’ for the blocks to come crashing to the floor before you take notice and bark. stop that!’. say it yourself. When you say you will leave the library if she doesn’t stop running around. you create less opportunity for conflict and bad feelings. Getting close allows you to tune in to what they might be feeling or thinking. be prepared to leave straight away if she continues. ‘Wow. 2. make sure you have your walking shoes handy. so. All Rights Reserved. but reserve them for the most important things. children can find it hard to change from one activity to another. requests and negative feedback to a minimum. your child learns to trust and respect you. So when you promise to go for a walk after she picks up her toys. for example. good or bad. Page 3/19 . Your child watches you to get her clues on how to behave in the world. 3. there is no need to make her look at you. No need to make a fuss about it – the more matter of fact. especially if they can't express themselves well enough verbally. It can diffuse many potential temper tantrums. 6. ‘I hear you. ‘Hey. At this age. © 2009 Raising Children Network. the better. Catch her being ‘good’. 5.Manage transitions carefully. Rules are important. ask yourself if it really matters. What you do is often much more important than what you say. It also helps them focus on what you are saying or asking for.

It doesn’t give them the opportunity to learn about related consequences or solve their own problems. young children are easily hurt by parental ‘teasing’. you can increasingly give them responsibility for their own behaviour and the chance to experience the natural consequences of that behaviour. Nagging and criticising is boring for you and doesn’t work. Then she is prepared for what you expect. she will go hungry at lunch time. Your child will very quickly work these out and ignore them. Your child will just end up tuning you out. build their self-esteem and help you out too. If you can give your child lots of practise doing a chore. Prepare for challenging situations. 11. 12. This will make her feel important and she’ll take pride in helping out. Instead. she will get better at it and will keep trying harder. you will probably never need to punish your child in the old-fashioned sense. Responsibility and consequences. All Rights Reserved. Try to avoid idle threats. If you use the above strategies. it can make them fearful. However. you can plan around her needs and talk to her about why you need her cooperation. humour at her expense won't help.’) 8. with the best intentions. Hitting doesn’t change a child’s behaviour for good. Say it once and move on. Children love it when they can contribute to the family. but they will soon become confused when they copy your behaviour and get in trouble for it. Start introducing some simple chores or things that she can do to play her own important part in helping the household. 10. Make her feel important. It might stop their behaviour momentarily. There are times when looking after your child and doing things you need to do will be tricky. (‘Please hold my hand when we cross the road. You don’t have to be the bad guy all the time. As children get older. while they try to figure you out. no matter what age. Sometimes. it is best to ensure that you have explained the consequences and that your children have agreed to them in advance. For example. 9. Discipline The word ‘discipline’ actually means ‘to teach’ and not necessarily to punish. For these times. Smacking is not an effective or acceptable punishment for a child. You can pretend to become the menacing tickle monster or make animal noises. If you think about these challenging situations in advance. If you can give clear instructions in simple terms.7. Humour that has you both laughing is great. Keep it simple. The best way is to let them know what you think once and then take action if you need to set limits or back up a rule. insecure and © 2009 Raising Children Network. Safe chores help them feel responsible. At other times you need to provide consequences for unacceptable behaviour. Maintain a sense of humour. Page 4/19 . your child will know what is expected of her. if she forgot to put her lunch box in her bag. It is her hunger and her consequence and it won’t hurt her to go hungry just that one time. we do so much for our children that we don’t allow them to learn for themselves. Another way of diffusing tension and possible conflict is to use humour.

So paying too much attention to bad behaviour often actually encourages it. If she is not aware. And their brains are just grasping the idea that they can change how the world works. negative attention is better than no attention at all). Their feelings can sometimes be too much for them. a child behaves ‘badly’ because they know it will get attention (and for children of all ages. a toddler needs your help to be understood. For more help with managing stress and angry feelings. Children really need to be heard and. They understand a lot more than we first think possible. This can be very difficult for toddlers who can’t fully express themselves. Toddlers are listening to every word we say (even if we don’t notice it). Even though your child may be walking and talking now. then a firm ‘No’ or ‘Stop that now’ is something your toddler should understand.resentful. They are driven to communicate so they can get help with everyday needs. If your toddler is aware of the ‘right’ behaviour. Notice the emotions behind it. understood and accepted by their family. once heard. seek professional advice. but they can’t find the words to tell you what’s wrong. A toddler’s world is one of big emotions mixed with communication skills that just can’t keep up. but save these expressions for when it really counts or in dangerous situations. Tips for good communication Really tune in to what your child is trying to say. try reading Feeling stressed and When you feel you might hurt your child When to say ‘No’ Often. and even though she stopped in her tracks the last time you said ‘No’. It can lead to lots of frustration which can lead to tantrums. All Rights Reserved. understood. she will only respect you if you follow through with the matter-of-fact consequence that you agreed on earlier. Connecting and communicating Communicating with toddlers With a lot of attitude and not too many words. They can be very sensitive and get grumpy or burst into tears at the way you said something or laughed at them. If you ever become concerned or very frustrated by your toddler's behaviour. but also to feel secure. so you still have to make sure you have a firm but comfortable grip of her hand when crossing the road or in other potentially dangerous situations. Page 5/19 . Some parents may hit their child because they are trying to relieve their own tension or stress in a situation. They are torn between their fear of being separated from you and their longing for independence. that doesn’t mean she will stop every time. © 2009 Raising Children Network.

Page 6/19 . or ‘I can see you don’t want that. even your chores as you do them. no matter how meandering they might be. a toddler will use actions to communicate what he wants. rather than what we shouldn’t do. For example. you can help develop his talking. ‘You want to be picked up but mummy’s got something in her hand. you can say 'Please walk when you’re in the house'. © 2009 Raising Children Network. Even two minutes every half hour makes a difference. Try to let him finish his sentences before interrupting. If you have introduced a few baby language signs. Toddler talk Stuck for words. One favourite is the 'I love you' sign which can help smooth goodbyes and be ‘spoken’ from afar. When your toddler comes to you. Repeat what you think he wants in words and explain your response.Make regular time to communicate with him in your own special way. you can help build his vocabulary and language skills. Your toddler is just the same. shake or nod his head and use clear gestures to tell you to go away. ’Don’t yell‘ can become 'Please talk quietly'. Always be honest. When your toddler relies on body language. we lose their trust. Picture books help children learn about language. What about this?’ Positive talk By talking out loud about everything. Read to him and tell stories. he might start using them by 18 months and even make up some of his own – look out for those moments of creative brilliance and join him in making up a couple that you can share as your own secret code. rather than saying 'Don’t run in the house'. All Rights Reserved. Children are brighter than many of us think. We all like being told what we can do. When we lie to them. For instance. Development An overview of toddler development Curious toddlers develop their most important skills by playing and experimenting. Get down on his level to talk to him by kneeling or squatting next to him. so you can hold my other hand’. He may tug on your pants to be picked up. try to drop whatever you're doing to talk – it is likely he only really needs your undivided attention for a minute or two.

speak to your GP or baby health nurse. he can: identify four pictures by naming wash and dry hands (just more than three years of age) identify a friend by naming throw a ball overhand speak and be understood half the time carry on a conversation of two or three sentences © 2009 Raising Children Network. he can: use 50 words or more combine words (by about 25 months) follow a two-step command without gestures (by 25 months) By 3 years. You know your toddler best so if you are worried about his development. they nearly always catch up. For more detailed month-bymonth information. The development process soon kick-starts again. he can: pull up to standing position get into a sitting position cruise (move from place to place. Your toddler will probably develop in fits and starts. see What your toddler may be doing. not a race. One week.Development is a journey. You will also find advice on when to seek help about a toddler’s late development. Below is a guide to some of the milestones for children aged 1-3. What your toddler may be doing All children develop at different rates. always holding on) clap hands (play pat-a-cake) indicate wants in ways other than crying By 18 months. he may proudly learn to kick a ball and name three body parts. Then nothing happens for a while. By 12 months. Don’t worry. he can: use two words (by 16½ months) drink from a cup By 2 years. he can: take off an article of clothing 'feed’ a doll build a tower of four cubes identify two items in a picture by pointing (by 23½ months) By 2½ years. All Rights Reserved. Your toddler may dawdle with some milestones. Page 7/19 .

If you think your child has asthma. Illness can quickly worsen in a toddler. Children with croup cough like a barking seal.use prepositions (by. Most cases of croup can be managed like a cold. If you are worried that she is not getting better. Colds and other mild illnesses are part of growing up and there is not much a parent can do to avoid them. Fluids. see your doctor. One in five Australian children suffer from asthma which sounds like a whistling wheeze when your child breathes out. Also called a urinary tract infection. The easiest way to avoid chickenpox is to have your child immunised. in. Keep an eye on your toddler and. Find more about vomiting and diarrhoea. so you will need to keep her away from other children until the last blister has healed over. to. Once the chickenpox virus has run its course. This itchy virus causes red blisters on the body which children find impossible not to scratch. this is more common in girls. An asthma attack can be very distressing for both child and parents. if you are worried. see your doctor about a management plan. Vomiting and diarrhoea are common in toddlers because they tend to put everything (including fingers) in their mouths. Common health issues Asthma. Offer her small amounts of clear fluid (water. Chickenpox vaccine is offered free at 18 months of age. comfort and rest are usually the best remedy. Signs of serious illness The signs of serious illness in a toddler are the same as for babies and can be found in the ‘nutshell’ guide to baby health. Chickenpox. You may notice she needs to wee more often and may be irritable or have a © 2009 Raising Children Network. there is no harm in asking a health care professional for advice. It is contagious. Bladder infection. All Rights Reserved. Colds. Croup. sniffles and even fevers are quite common. This is caused by a virus and usually comes after a cold. Page 8/19 . coughs. ask your health care professional for advice. You know your child best so. on top of) Health Common health issues Toddlers seem to be constantly catching something. it then stays dormant in the body and can return many years later as ‘shingles’. if you are worried. so always call your doctor if you are worried. oral dehydration fluid or flat lemonade diluted one-to-four with water if she won’t drink water alone) regularly until the problem passes.

like insect repellent or cleaning products. The key is to stay relaxed and not push your child. Avoid using chemical household sprays. That’s why it is important not to give any medication to your child unless it is prescribed for her by your doctor. Don’t give unprescribed medications Normal household medicine can be deadly to toddlers. Toddlers can be immunised by a GP or at a baby health centre at: 12 months 18 months 24 months The Maternity Immunisation Allowance is only payable once you have followed the immunisation recommendations. Keep her air clean ‘Secondhand smoke’ can cause serious health risks to non-smokers. all children get the hang of making it to the toilet in time. Page 9/19 . Make sure immunisations are up to date Immunisation protects us against bacteria and viral nasties. Treatment is with oral antibiotics so see your doctor. See the A-Z Health Reference for other common health issues that may affect your toddler. wiping front to back will prevent most bladder infections. All Rights Reserved. Some herbal remedies can also be dangerous. dress and brush her teeth soon leads to that proud day when she declares ‘I can do it myself!’ Some children are ready to sit on the potty at 18 months. when your toddler is in the room. they can protect your child by always smoking outside. that are potentially serious and even life threatening. such as measles and diphtheria.mild fever. Immunisation is considered essential protection for your child. © 2009 Raising Children Network. For girls. toddlers can really start ‘connecting the dots’ about when they need to go to the potty. so it’s best to check with a doctor to be safe. All children are different and things will go more smoothly if you can wait until your toddler shows an interest. Eventually. You may want to start during summer when you can let her run around naked or with no pants. Toilet training may take days or months. With pants off. Others don’t show any ‘ready’ signs until they are closer to three. Health tips for toddlers 1. 3. Telling her you are proud of her will make her feel great about every toilet triumph. If someone in your house smokes. Daily care Toilet training Helping your toddler learn how to use a toilet. 2.

protective clothing and a spell in the shade are the best ways to keep her safe from sunburn. Sunscreen. Sun care For good health. each day. Even though she can sit securely in the bath now. splashing. pouring water. dressing and bathing Teeth No-one wants to take their two-year-old to the dentist for anything other than a friendly inspection. open-neck tops and cardigans are the easiest to put on. use a smear of toothpaste (try different flavours if necessary) on a soft bristle toothbrush. children need a small burst of sun (even more subdued. Whole fruit is better for them and water is what they need most. Sugar rots teeth and is no substitute for healthy. never leave her alone in the bathroom as she may slip or turn on the hot tap. Let her have a go. Pants with elastic waists. Also look for clothes with big buttons (not too many) and toggles that are easy for little hands to grasp. So try to plan outdoor activities for early morning and late afternoon. In Australia. In addition to washing hands after using the potty. Also try to limit fruit juice as it may dissolve the tooth enamel surface. Dressing It won’t be long before your little fashion model wants to try dressing herself. Remember to choose a sunscreen containing the invisible reflective shield of titanium dioxide or zinc because the regular chemical absorbers are just not as protective. To brush teeth. nutritious food. offering help only when she asks for it.Washing hands Learning to wash hands is a good habit that will come in handy when your child starts using the toilet. Bathing Bathtime is play time for your toddler. as little as 15 minutes. filling cups. Teeth. too. Adult fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for children under two as too much may cause grey discoloration on their permanent adult teeth. in the morning and last thing before bed at night. between 10 am and 3 pm. A pump action soap dispenser is easier for her to handle than a slippery bar of soap. Low-fluoride toothpaste is available in childfriendly varieties (lots of sparkles and great flavours) at the supermarket. reflected light works). Page 10/19 . encourage your toddler to wash her hands before meals. silent and can happen in very shallow © 2009 Raising Children Network. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to go easy on sugary food and drink. the sun’s burning UV radiation is strongest from September to April. Remember that drowning is quick. sun care. All Rights Reserved. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and children’s skin burns much more easily than adult skin.

wholegrain rice. Try fibre-enriched bread. couscous. If you © 2009 Raising Children Network. These good fats are found in fish (tinned or fresh). corn bread. including frozen baby peas and canned baked beans). so sometimes they are really hungry and sometimes they eat like birds. Appetite Children go through growth and activity spurts.) Foods to avoid It's fine to offer dessert at the end of a meal. (If you do give juice. Try peas and beans (any kind. You may worry about whether your child is eating enough good food. Vegetables and fruit contain nutrients and fibre important for a healthy body inside and out.) 1. the better. As long as you offer nutritious food. Forcing children to eat (even strongly encouraging them to eat more) can often backfire. the slower they burn. The more colourful. eggs. 5. you can't really go wrong. (Wash fruit and leave the skin on. Tap water is the cheapest and best source of fluids. chicken. Nutrition and fitness Nutrition basics These guidelines and practical tools help ensure your children stay fit and healthy. milk. 2. Good fats with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids build brain and nerve cells. always mix it half and half with water.water. It also helps to remember that sweets. and they decide how much of that they will eat. All Rights Reserved. The following guidelines and tools may help you understand how to best help your child. green beans.) 3. yoghurt and low-fat cheese. apricots. (This technique is called division of responsibility. Let their appetite be the guide. chips and biscuits can interfere with their natural appetite for nutritious food. The key is that you decide what to offer your children. pasta. Starchy carbohydrates provide energy. meat. pears and apples. It is also fortified with fluoride for strong teeth. avocado. Protein builds bodies and keeps children strong and healthy. 4. sweet potato. Five basic nutritional needs If you have the following five areas covered. and cucumber (with skin). carrots. you can trust your child's appetite to get the balance right. Nutrition can be an anxious subject for some parents.The more fibre they contain. You may wonder whether he is overeating or becoming unhealthy. and vegetable oils such as those made from olives or canola (but try to avoid deep frying in these delicate unsaturated oils). Also try colourful fruits such as peaches. pancakes and lowsugar cereal. fish. and sliced fruit is the healthiest option. tomatoes. Offer vegies like broccoli. spinach. Page 11/19 .

All Rights Reserved. regular healthy snacks can be a great way to reduce overeating at mealtimes. children tend to go for the bread and pasta first. like chocolate. cakes. 2. bread or potatoes) after he has finished the more nutritious foods. 1. biscuits and cookies. if he finishes it. instead. you can try slowing it down. Use food sequencing to get the good stuff into him first (during that precious window of opportunity).want to serve something special. Let him wolf down the food as fast as he wants (to let his stomach outrun his brain so he'll fill up a bit more). Soft drinks and fruit juice are expensive. so you can use that to your advantage either way. doughnuts. Offer the most nutritious stuff (lean protein and vegetables) first (this is called ‘food sequencing’). © 2009 Raising Children Network. He doesn't need to eat everything on his plate but only offer him a normal portion of starchy carbohydrates (like pasta. potato chips. go for vanilla ice-cream or banana bread. mix it half and half with water. which can fill them up before they get to the more nutritious foods. Fast-fix foods. On the other hand. If he tends to sit happily for about five minutes and then starts fidgeting and loses his appetite. The fat in most of these foods is the less-healthy type.too much or not enough? Knowing the way your tummy 'talks to' your brain can help you deal with concerns about undereating or overeating. Overeating? If you are concerned that your child has a tendency to overeat. let your child get hooked on good snacks. 2. chocolate and sugary sweets. offer the second half of his meal 10 minutes later (sometimes this will give his brain a chance to catch up with his stomach). Worried . Offer half a normal portion of food and then. like grated or thinly sliced carrot and sweet baby peas served frozen in a cup. These foods are low in fibre and nutrients and high in sugar and/or fat. Page 12/19 . 1.) Undereating? You may feel your child is consistently not eating enough at mealtimes. A child's system can't handle foods high in salt. Delayed reaction. Feeling hungry is partly determined by your child's ‘stomach clock’ – how much he ate yesterday at the same time. Save the seriously sweet stuff. high in sugar and bad for teeth. including trans fat. sugar or caffeine (found in cola drinks). Big meals at regular times actually encourage a big appetite next dinnertime. Just say 'no' and. They include hot chips. If you want to offer juice. Tummy clock. he is more likely to be hungry at that time of day. for special occasions like birthdays. (Given the choice. You can encourage children who undereat at mealtimes to eat more by limiting ‘grazing’ (or random snacking). Our brains only realise we are full about 20 minutes after the food hits our stomachs. there are some strategies you can try. If you can make mealtimes the same every day. His stomach clock can help too.

Mix it up a bit. Page 13/19 . Try Everything fried rice. that’s what they will want too. read Choosing good food. Toddler exercise Encourage your child to be physically active and you're helping to establish a healthy lifelong habit. At dinner. Healthy food for toddlers For good food made easy. try again in a few weeks or a few months. 5. followed by an outdoor activity (like a walk to the park). Some children reject a new food 6-10 times before they taste it and love it. 7. lungs and arteries. Pack a goodness punch by including lots of your child’s nutritional needs in one dish. shepherd’s pie. If you load up with hot chips and cola. 3. Offer nothing until the next scheduled mealtime or regular snack time (they'll get the hang of it). Be relaxed about it. Sitting at the same table for every meal can be hard going. try these finger foods for toddlers. Eat it enthusiastically yourself and. an omelette with the lot. balance. Play and learning Learning through play © 2009 Raising Children Network. Keep snacks healthy – a banana. Try not to give in to whingeing for alternatives to the meal you have prepared. Be calm. There is no hurry but don’t give up as her tastes can change. So you can help them adopt good eating habits by eating well yourself. All Rights Reserved. 4. Try a picnic in the backyard or take dinner down to the beach or park occasionally. Being overweight is unhealthy and uncomfortable – and very unpleasant for a young child. even if your child is not eating. Eating salty chips while watching TV is a recipe for child obesity. firm and consistent. Seven tips for happy mealtimes 1. 2. try offering the protein and the colourful vegies first. if it is still rejected. 6. For more on good food. Try limiting TV time to 30 minutes. Schedule snacking to leave a good space before mealtimes (at least ½-1 hour). Find out more about offering new foods.Healthy eating and exercise habits Children watch what you are eating. Exercise gives your toddler strong bones and muscles. a handful of healthy crackers. a healthy heart. thinly sliced carrot or celery sticks are all good options. It reduces their risk of getting overweight or obese and of developing heart disease. posture and flexibility. and improved coordination. cancer or diabetes down the track. when they are most hungry. baked beans on wholegrain toast or pasta bolognaise with a meat and vegie sauce.

they start to play with other children. imagination and even counting skills. night after night. he starts to learn about his world. Put a variety of small objects into a bag and ask your child to put his hand in and feel one. As you read the story. pebbles. ‘Where is the emu on this page?’ You can even introduce him to numbers by counting objects in the pictures. Curiosity drives his play and learning. Shakers. for example. Ask him to identify things that he knows in the picture. tasting and smelling. Give them a shake and discover the different sounds they make. ‘How many children are there in the playground? One. Stacking and removing can teach simple counting and maths. Fill various plastic containers with sand. toddlers play side-by-side with other children but not always with them (parallel play). Building blocks. Reading books together can become a much loved ritual. two. Or just lose yourselves in the story. three …’. All Rights Reserved. If you say ‘no’ to him every time. Your local library or bookshop may be able to recommend some classic picture books. Stories help him develop speech. self-esteem and confidence. Reading and play ideas Books open up amazing new worlds and experiences. Page 14/19 . talk about what’s happening in the pictures. for example. looking. Learning at this age is a type of play and can be lots of fun: Touching bag. Your toddler is on a quest to find out how everything works. for example. By the age of three. a paint pot and your © 2009 Raising Children Network. Is it warm or cold? Is it smooth or rough? Is it hard or soft? You are teaching your child to put words to objects and discover the names of different textures.For toddlers. Popup and lift-the-flap books are full of surprises. Time to play and learn Playing lets your child’s imagination run riot. Nothing beats a stack of recycled paper. The best picture books are those that stand up to reading over and over. play is an essential part of learning. Join in these fun games and you show him he is loved and valued. it’s raining and he has his brolly up’. rice and water. Play ideas Craft and creating. touching. It is how he develops physical skills. By listening. From about 14 months. ‘Look. it’s like pouring cold water on his natural curiosity.

stacking cups. And. Sandpits provide hours of sifting and digging fun. doing it themselves has greater dangers. Running means falling so be prepared for occasional spills and tears. This built-in urge worked fine when we lived in caves. Toddlers really want to do things for themselves. To avoid saying ‘no’ to all his discovery play. But now. Outdoor play. Make up a ‘magic box’ full of interesting things. In the meantime. By removing sources of danger. you will need to grow eyes in the back of your head. crayons. tripping and falling down. sharp knives and roads with cars. Drowning is quick and silent. with toasters. most don’t understand the dangers. potato prints and brush painting are all fun. he will open and close drawers. you can also give your toddler the freedom she needs to explore. because they are still finding their feet. a pop-up book. Books and songs. Until they are five or six. He will also enjoy scribbling with crayons and pencils (on paper. Toddlers get into places that you wouldn’t expect to find a possum. In the bath or paddling pool. on walls or whatever you fancy). He loves sharing a burst of ‘Incey wincey spider’ (in Baby Karaoke) or exploring the pages of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.toddler’s imagination. Safety Keeping your toddler safe To watch your toddler all the time. Page 15/19 . Water fun. old cards. Then the most dangerous thing a toddler could do was learn to wipe his own bottom. sensible safety rules will do the trick. he will love emptying and filling containers. push buttons on the DVD player and post all sorts of objects into all sorts of holes. shiny paper. To see how things work. They experiment with everything. Climbing and running are favourite activities for older toddlers. By the time they are three. Discovery. Finger painting. shoes and jewellery. Singing and reading expand your toddler's vocabulary and help him learn to talk. like reusable stickers. Sneak in some new items occasionally so he gets a surprise the next time he opens it. they seem to be constantly bumping. They like to play house and create their own world with a doll’s house or farmyard of animals. microwaves and powerpoints. SUPERVISION IS THE ONLY RELIABLE PREVENTION. Pretend play. toddlers love dressing up in your old clothes. All Rights Reserved. © 2009 Raising Children Network. remove access to valuable items. so don’t leave him alone even for a moment. even in a small amount of water. dominoes and a small peg puzzle.

Keep medicines. When you make a well deserved cup of coffee. When out walking. Swimming pools and open water are danger zones for a curious toddler. Heat bath water to between 37°C and 38°C. If you need to leave the bathroom to get something. When your toddler is out of your sight for a couple of minutes. out of reach. Deadlocking doors when you are inside the house prevents you getting out if there is a fire. One minute. Here are some other tips: Toddlers love to climb so secure your furniture. Drowning is both quick and silent. Turn off space heaters when you leave the room. Keep a well stocked first aid kit and keep it out of her reach. © 2009 Raising Children Network. Keep washing up liquid. In the kitchen A dangling toaster cord is tempting to pull so keep appliance cords from hanging over the edge of the bench. Lock medicines up high. Keep chairs away from windows and balconies. Install a safety gate at the top of stairs and teach her to come down stairs backwards. Page 16/19 . get her out of the bath. Safety outside the home Toddlers are fast and quiet. Remember. When cooking. holding hands or using a pram can keep her from darting onto the road.Safety inside the home The best way to toddler-proof your home is to get down to her level and look about. insect sprays and other chemicals locked away and up high. cleaning fluids and other poisons locked away in high cupboards. Turn down your hot water system to 50° C to avoid scalding. What can you see down there that might be dangerous? To avoid constantly telling her ‘no’. the next she is over at the duck pond or heading for the carpark. turn saucepan handles inwards and use the back stove elements (rather than the front ones) when possible. remove anything you don’t want touched. like knives or glasses. she is standing by your side. Remove stools or chairs that help her reach dangerous items. All Rights Reserved. you may want to check whether he's discovered something intriguing but dangerous. Check your fire alarms regularly. Curtain tie-backs and window blind cords can strangle a curious toddler. By always keeping your eye on her outdoors. especially bookcases and TVs. Only deadlock when you are away from home. Remove them or hook them well out of reach. even for a second. keep it away from little fingers. you can avoid dangerous accidents. drowning is swift and silent. In the bathroom Never leave your toddler alone in the bath.

Most of them can do with an hour or two in the middle of the day as well. Page 17/19 . Be prepared by keeping a list of emergency phone numbers in your mobile or by the phone. Toddlers burn very easily. make sure she can’t open the doors to go outside without you. Children left in cars overheat very quickly so don’t be tempted to leave her while you pop into the shop. getting them to bed in the first place can be a challenge. particularly if you live in an isolated area or are often with your toddler on your own. A secure garden fence allows your toddler to play safely in your backyard. In case of emergency They don’t happen every day but accidents do happen. But. Toddlers love to test their independence.Keep these other pointers in mind: When outdoors. The Parenting in Pictures guides to choking and CPR are also worth printing and sticking on the fridge. Keep up the habit of wearing a hat for all outside play. remember the sunscreen and a hat. Always buckle her up in the proper car restraint for her size. Once asleep. Sleep Sleep needs and bedtime routines Toddlers need 10-12 hours sleep a night. In the garden. Just watch she doesn’t figure out how to open the gate.30 am or 6 am. Unfortunately. In the car. there isn’t © 2009 Raising Children Network. at this age. It’s wise to take a first aid course. Remember that some clothing lets through more radiation than SPF30 sunscreen does. If your garden is not fenced. Toddler sleep schedule A common daily sleep schedule looks like this: Time 7 am 1 pm 3 pm 7 pm Schedule Wake up Nap of no more than 2 hours Wake up Bedtime Some toddlers like to wake up with the birds at 5. A firm and consistent bedtime routine will win them over. most toddlers sleep through most nights without waking mum or dad. All Rights Reserved. Always take her with you.

check that your child has everything she needs and remind her to stay quietly in bed. no matter how loud the protests. you may want to move your bedtime forward too. This is a good time as they sleep deepest between 8 pm and midnight. With luck. your toddler will very quickly get the message that bedtime is for sleeping. you can: return her to bed firmly and quietly over and over until she doesn’t get up again or return her to bed once and. If your toddler shares her bedroom with a brother or sister. close her door and ignore all further protests. see Letting go of the dummy. Try these tips: Avoid boisterous play — before bedtime. A routine might look something like this: 6. Read more about using these strategies in Calling out and getting out of bed. if she gets up again. If she has done a poo. In calling out. Before leaving the room. you may consider saying goodbye to it at around three years old. she may not be ready for bed until late at night. as it may make it harder for her to settle.30 pm and 7. Establish a consistent. For tips on how to do this. change her © 2009 Raising Children Network. If you live with an early riser. And if your toddler’s day nap is too long or too late in the day. If you respond.30 pm. Most toddlers are ready for bed between 6. All Rights Reserved. Bedtime routine A consistent bedtime routine helps prepare a child for sleep.45 pm: Quiet time (read a book or tell a story) 7 pm: Into bed and kiss goodnight If your child takes a dummy to bed. you may need to delay your other child’s bedtime by half an hour until your toddler is settled and asleep. She may still wake up early and be grouchy from too little sleep.much you can do about it. Getting up after bedtime and moving to a 'big bed' Your toddler may go through a stage of calling out from her bed or getting up after you have said goodnight. and the disruption to all will be minimal. Try not to respond to her calls after you have turned the light out. Putting her to bed later in the hope that she may wake later doesn’t tend to work. Page 18/19 . calming bedtime routine. your child may actually need something. Find the strategy that works for you and stick with it. she will try the same thing again next bedtime.30 pm: Brush teeth and change nappy 6. If she gets out of bed.

a quick check by you (with the light off) can confirm the room is monster-free and your toddler may then settle. particularly as some young toddlers become trickier to manage in a bed. you may need to move her if she has started climbing out of the cot or needs to use the potty at night. © 2009 Raising Children Network. But there is no hurry. Moving to a ‘big bed’ is a cause for celebration. If she is scared of a monster under her bed.nappy with the lights dim and no talking. For more tips on making a successful move. You may want to redecorate her room at the same time (with her input naturally!) and involve her in choosing a bed. If she is scared of the dark. or if you need the cot for a new baby. All Rights Reserved. A safety rail on the side will stop falls. read Moving to a ‘big bed'. think about using a night-light. Of course. Page 19/19 . Moving to a ‘big bed’ Most children move from a cot to a bed somewhere between two and three-and-a-half years old.

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