Children are a treasure to parents. They bring joy and laughter to a couple starting to build a family. The experience of child rearing from infancy to childhood, and even into the later years of adolescence can be a challenge for parents. Yet, the main ingredient of love transcends whatever obstacles or trials that parents encounter along the way.
When the infancy stage from birth to eighteen months is over, the baby moves forward to the toddler stage which begins around 18 months and lasts through 36 months or 3 year of age. At 1 1/2 years, many children know how to feed themselves, walk and run short distances, and mumble words often without meaning. As they outgrow their baby clothes and gradually stop wearing diapers, parents start a new chapter watching their toddlers learn to develop language skills, and communicate in ways amusing and enlightening. Although in this stage the physical growth may be somewhat slower than in infancy according to researchers, the toddler will eventually be able to improve his skills and make more connections with words to express thoughts and feelings.
Families have happy times when their toddlers are up and about. As soon as one is awake, Dad and Mom usually gather around, lovingly saying “Good morning” or express other pleasant thoughts along with hugging and kissing the child. This practice each day teaches him to smile back or follow what they say and more importantly, gives a feeling of comfort and love to the child. This is the stage when toddlers imitate a lot and like to engage in pretend play.
An important part of the day’s routine is feeding time. There is no question that meals prepared for the child should be nutritious and palatable. At times, he may be picky, but the mother usually can find ways to encourage her child to eat including learning to chew his food well. Eating meals is made fun with pleasant talk from Dad and Mom, cooing and coaching included. Another fun period is bath time. When the child is given his bath, he should be given enough time to enjoy scrubbing himself and playing with his little boat or floating squishy animals (duck, fish, etc.) in the water. The toddler loves to play during his bath, and when given just ample time for this, he comes out refreshed and contented. Toddlers also enjoy engaging in simple songs or nursery rhymes during bath time.
When the toddler is allowed to play and learn, he is given safe toys that are age appropriate. Since the child imitates a lot and likes to pretend, he can be given toys that would help him act out roles he often observes. It is the parents’ task to allot time to play with the child. Stories can also be read with corresponding pictures to better capture the child’s interest. This will also help increase his vocabulary and help him to imitate words, phrases, and produce sentences. At other times, he may be taken for a walk to expose him to various sights and sounds. He gets to see other people around and as this activity becomes routine, the child learns to overcome shyness common in this stage. He also hears interesting sounds and sees things outside the home. This is part of his learning process where he is able to identify more people and objects.. As the child becomes older towards age three, he learns to recognize other children’s commonality with him, and sees them as his equal.
The activities planned out by parents for their toddler’s day to day schedule should be healthy, fun and varied enough for him to develop his language skills. It is important that parents promote their children’s language development by understanding not only their basic needs, both physical and psychological, but also to motivate them and to serve as role models of proper behavior. Since toddlers need to build up self-confidence, parents should give them all the love and support they require. As each child is different, they should accept who he or she is.
The years of a toddler are amazing because it is in this stage when they wonder a lot and are awestruck at what they see around them. Parents should be happy and thankful that this beautiful world has given us our very young children to enjoy, marvel at, and learn from when interacting together.
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