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How to Handle Toddler Naptime Trouble

 

Toddlers are an energetic bunch. They zip from one place to the next, always learning something. They’re curious, precocious, and a wonderful source of joy. At naptime, however, they can occasionally be frustrating.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can deal with toddler naptime trouble:

  • Realize what she’s up to. Just because your toddler doesn’t want to nap doesn’t mean she’s being obstinate or defiant. Something is keeping her awake. She might be interested in a new toy, or in a new skill she’s learned. She might just not be tired. In some cases, she’s just feeling mischievous. Remember that she’s not trying to misbehave; instead, identify what’s keeping her up and address that.
  • Know when it’s time to change your nap structure. Most children drop from two naps per day down to one at around the age of 12 to 18 months. Other children may take two naps well into the toddler years, and some may consolidate naps quicker. If your child is fussing during one nap and not the other, it could be time to knock one off the schedule.
  • Allow for temporary changes. Your child’s schedule is going to change when he starts preschool. Just because he’s now spending half a day at preschool doesn’t mean he’s going to be more ready to nap. In fact, your toddler may be reluctant to nap right after preschool for at least a while.
  • Identify the best time of day for your toddler’s nap. Your child is likely to get tired at the same time of day. Usually, that’s right about the time you’re getting tired, as well – after lunch, when you have a full belly. If you can schedule her naps around her body’s natural rhythms, you’ll have much better luck.
  • Create the right nap environment. You don’t want the room to be pitch black and entirely silent, like it is at night. Instead, consider leaving the door cracked and the hall light on. Allowing the child too much sleep will impact how well he sleeps at night.

Toddler naps don’t have to be a major source of frustration. Pay attention to your child’s needs and rhythms, and you’ll have greater naptime success.

 

photo by: thejbird
Posted in Toddlers |
When Can a Toddler Start Playing Sports?

Sports is one of the best ways to make sure that your kids stay in relatively good physical condition. By starting them out with sports or other physical fitness opportunities early, you’re creating a lifelong pattern that will, hopefully, pay off for you in the long run.

When you’re considering whether or not to put your toddler in a sports program, there are some factors that you’re going to need to consider.

Strength and motor skill development

A significant factor in what kind of physical activities you will be able to start your toddler on is their own strength and motor skill development.  By the time your toddler reaches 18 months of age, for example, she should be able to roll objects along the floor, walk both forward and backward, and probably go down the stairs backwards, using her hands and her knees.  By the age of 2 years old, she can probably run, open doors with handles, and push a box, chair, or stool into a spot to climb on to get things she can’t reach.  A year later, by the age of three, she will likely be able to jump, throw a ball, and climb up and down the stairs using both feet.  Any of these things are physical activities that you can start your toddler on.

Duration is a factor

How long your toddler is engaged in a sporting activity is key, as well. Doctors recommend around half an hour of planned, organized physical activity for toddlers every day.  In addition, they recommend an hour of unstructured physical activity as well.  If your toddler is going to engage in a stationary activity, such as watching television, these activities should not last more than one hour without stopping to start a physical activity.

Organized sports activities

In terms of organized sports, experts disagree about how young is too  young to start.  Many experts believe that the structure and pressure of organized sports is too much for a child until the age of six or so.  Others see no problem with starting physical activities that include organized sports a year or two earlier than this.

Be the example

Finally, your toddler will learn by example.  If he sees that mom or dad regularly engage in physical activities, he will want to do them too.  By starting your own physical fitness routine, you will help your toddler recognize the importance of physical activities.

Posted in Toddlers |
Discipline And Young Children

It can be a challenge to maintain discipline in young children. The fact of the matter is that, at the age of toddler and earlier, children aren’t able to communicate as effectively as they are later on. Still, it is important that parents begin to discipline their child at a young age.

When thinking about discipline and young children, it is important to think about what exactly discipline is and what discipline is not. Often, when we think about discipline, we think about punishing a child for misbehavior. While this may indeed be a part of discipline, the fact of the matter is that, especially with young children, there are more important aspects to discipline. For example, encouraging positive behavior in young children tends to be much more productive than discouraging misbehavior. In addition, even misbehavior should be seen as an opportunity to teach the young child proper behavior, and to help the child to be able to communicate more effectively.

There are some techniques that are especially effective for discipline and young children. For example, redirection is one of the best tools that a parent has in terms of disciplining a young child. When a child is engaging in an inappropriate activity, simply approach the child and redirect them to a positive activity. Modeling is another excellent discipline technique for young children. When a child is stomping on his toy, for example, you can simply tell the child, “oh no, we mustn’t step on our toys. That will make them break, and then we won’t be able to play with them. Here is how we should play with this toy,” and then pick up the toy and model the right way to play with the toy.

Perhaps the most challenging part about disciplining young children is that they have limited empathy, and a somewhat limited understanding of cause and effect. When a child hits her brother, for example, she knows that the brother screams. She may even like the sound. But she may not understand that the sound is coming because her brother is in pain. Helping children to learn empathy and to understand cause and effect is an important part of disciplining young children as well.

Posted in Toddlers |
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