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   Archive for the ‘Toddlers’ Category
Adjusting to a Crawler

Just about the time you think you have this whole baby thing figured out, your little one hits that milestone that most babies reach somewhere between five and ten months of age. She becomes mobile. Up until now, your baby has pretty much stayed wherever you put her. Or, at the very least, she wasn’t able to go very far or very fast. But now, look out. Get that kid a pair of goggles, because she’s off to the races.

Once a baby figures out that he can move around all by himself, it doesn’t take long before he figures out how to do make those arms and legs go fast. What’s more, he’s likely to think that trying to outrun you is great fun. Of course, he has no way of understanding that this also poses certain dangers to him, and chances are you have no real way of explaining it to him.

All of this means that we have to adjust some things in our households, if we haven’t done so already, to make sure that all of the places where baby can get to are baby-proofed and safe. This means making sure that all electrical sockets have covers. What it is that appeals to babies about outlets is something we’re not likely to ever figure out. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s something different, and conveniently placed at eye level with a crawling baby (who ever came up with that brilliant design concept, anyway?).

We also need to make sure that floors are picked up so that baby can’t get a hold of anything that could be harmful. At this age, babies still tend to feel that anything that can go in the mouth should go in the mouth, so we want to be extra careful about what we drop on the floor.

Another change you’ll want to make if you haven’t yet is installing baby gates to keep baby into areas where you want her to be and out of area where you don’t want her to be. Baby gates are available commercially, and are generally inexpensive.

You’ll also want to lower the crib down to the bottom setting if you haven’t yet. If baby isn’t standing already, she will be soon, and you don’t want her practicing her high dive just yet.

The bottom line when adjusting to a new baby milestone is to look around, and try to find anything that could produce a hazard from a baby’s eye view. Then, do what you can to remove or reduce the risks. And, don’t worry. About the time you get used to a crawling baby, she’ll start walking. And running. And climbing.

Posted in Toddlers |
Disciplining Your Toddler

Disciplining your toddler can be quite an interesting activity. Toddlers, in contrast to younger children, are finally able to communicate with relative effectiveness. Toddlers can, in many cases, be reasoned with. On the other hand, tantrums are also not uncommon for toddlers, and toddlers are still learning many of the important interpersonal skills such as empathy that are so important to good behavior.

One important thing to keep in mind when disciplining your toddler is your toddler’s level of understanding. While an older child may, for example, understand the natural consequences of certain types of misbehavior, your toddler is still learning to process exactly how things work. Your toddler may, for example, like the noise that his toy makes when he throws it down the stairs. He may not, however, understand that the noise is created by the toy being broken.

In addition, consistency is important when disciplining your toddler. For example, if you are trying to help your toddler to learn to place her napkin in her lap at mealtime, you should make sure to praise her when she remembers. If you tell your toddler that she will only be able to watch one episode of a television show before naptime, don’t let her watch a second episode. If you do, you will encourage her to think that the rules you make, including more important rules, are negotiable.

There are several effective techniques that you can use for disciplining your toddler. Redirecting your toddler from a negative activity to a positive one tends to work well. Modeling proper behavior for your toddler will often work as well. The toddler is just at the age where he is able to understand how the time-out works, and so time outs may work well with your toddler as well.

Ultimately, it will be something of a process of trial and error to figure out the best way to discipline your toddler. In addition, as your toddler gets older you will very likely have to modify some of your discipline practices to keep up with her growing ability to comprehend things.

Posted in Toddlers |
Thumb Sucking vs Pacifiers

Thumb sucking is such a common way for babies to comfort themselves that it’s somewhat of a cliché. Babies have been comforting themselves, quite naturally, with their thumbs since the dawn of time. There’s nothing unusual, and nothing wrong, with babies comforting themselves this way.

Pacifiers are a bit of a newer development, but they are also a great way for your baby to sooth herself. Modern pacifiers, also called soothers or dummies in some parts of the world, have been with us since about 1900. Prior to that, any number of things were used for babies to suck on, made of everything from cloth to silver or coral.

Many babies and toddlers take comfort in sucking their thumbs or pacifiers. This is completely natural, and stems from a baby’s natural instinct to suckle when he is tired, hungry, or stressed. Most infants fall to sleep suckling, and even when they are older, sucking naturally helps them to soothe them. Of course, if a baby or toddler was fed every time they needed to be soothed, it would make them sick. That’s where the pacifier or thumb comes in.

As your baby gets older, if she continues to suck her thumb or pacifier, it is nothing to worry about, at least not until preschool age. Most dentists agree that no permanent damage is done to the teeth or jaws from thumb sucking until age 4 or 5, and the overwhelming majority of children have stopped sucking their thumbs by then. Of the children who continue to suck their thumbs, studies show that the common denominator is a strong parental attempt to make them stop before they were ready to. So, unless your toddler is still sucking his thumb or pacifier after his fourth birthday, don’t worry about it. If it does continue beyond that, your pediatrician can offer some helpful tips to help him stop.

But if your baby is going to suck on something, which is better for her? Her thumb or a pacifier? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Her thumb is right there whenever she needs it. No need to put it in her mouth for her. If you have a baby who naturally sucks their thumb, there’s no need for you to be constantly popping a pacifier in her mouth. On the other hand, children who suck their thumbs sometimes prolong the habit longer than those who use a pacifier. Maybe this is because parents can control when to take the pacifier away. Another benefit to consider about pacifiers is that recent studies have shown that giving a baby a pacifier at nap time reduces the chance of SIDS.

Ultimately, neither is harmful to your baby’s teeth as long as use is discontinued by age 4. And ultimately, your baby will choose whether she wants to suck her thumb, a pacifier, or both. Either one is a good, safe choice to help baby soothe herself.

Posted in Toddlers |
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