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The Toddler Years

 

Temper! Temper!
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Unfortunately, at some point most toddlers develop this resistance into full-blown tantrums. Although this is normally associated with the 'Terrible Twos', your child may start having tantrums at any point from her first birthday. Most children only have bad tantrums for a few months, and almost all of them outgrow this stage by the time they start school. But this can be scant consolation when she's kicking and screaming on the floor of the supermarket!

She may also choose to assert her independence at mealtimes. Many babies who eat everything develop into fussy eaters as toddlers. Again, it is frustrating, but don't take it personally. Continue to offer her a varied and healthy diet, avoid giving in to pressure for constant snacks or junk food, and try and make mealtimes fun, social occasions.

It may take a couple of years, but eventually she will start eating everything she is offered and your perseverance will have paid off!
Goodbye Nappies!
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Another major step on her road to independence is potty training. Your parents may insist you were successfully trained by your first birthday, but most childcare experts today suggest leaving toilet training until your child is old enough to understand what she is trying to do and has the necessary muscle control to achieve it. This doesn't normally happen until around her second birthday, and sometimes considerably after.When you think she is ready, try and plan a few relaxed days at home. It's unfair to expect her to master bladder control in strange surroundings when she's not sure where the toilet is. And be patient - she's unlikely to get it right from the start, but with the right encouragement, it should only take a few days.

When she is dry during the day, don't be surprised if she goes through periods of having accidents. Any number of things (the arrival of a new sibling, moving from her cot to a bed) can upset her and cause her to regress. Although it can be exasperating, try and adopt the same strategy of remaining calm and supportive and she'll soon be back on track. While most children are out of nappies during the day by their third birthday, almost two out of every ten children are still wearing nappies at night by the time they go to school. If this applies to your child, getting aggressive about wetting at night is unlikely to achieve anything. But signs that she might be ready to abandon her night-time nappy include a dry nappy in the morning or waking up at night to go to the toilet. Again, be prepared to be patient - she won't get it right every night - and invest in a plastic sheet!
Child's Play
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Being a toddler isn't just about understanding adult rules, such as going to the toilet. It's also about interpreting the world and making sense of it for themselves; which is why you're likely to find your child's imagination runs riot during these years. She's likely to become more interested in creative play, such as painting or modelling dough, and may begin to make up her own songs and games. She may even invent an imaginary friend to play them with.

But don't despair of her being lost in her own world. During these years she will also hone her social skills to enable her to play interactively with her peers and you. Before you know it, your self-absorbed baby will have developed into a gregarious youngster who is ready to face the new challenge of starting school!
Useful Tips
The Top Five Ways For Dealing With Tantrums

  • Remember that your child isn't being bad, she's just acting her age.
  • Try and head it off. If you know what is behind the tantrum, try and deal with it (eg if she's hungry, offer her a snack). Alternatively try distraction tactics.
  • Be consistent in the way you handle tantrums: develop a strategy and stick to it.
  • Don't give in to tantrums - this will only reinforce your toddler's behaviour.
  • When it's over, let it go: don't relive the episode through a post-mortem or demanding an apology, but try and move onto something you can both enjoy doing together


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