Babies are lovable until the time they lie down or sit in one position. But from the time they graduate to toddlers and start to crawl and walk, they keep their mothers on their toes. In this article, I will share my experiences and few tips for raising a toddler.
According to Wikipedia, “A toddler is a young child who falls into the category of twelve to thirty-six months.”
All the degrees and qualifications fail when one has to babysit and take care of a toddler. These practicalities of life can’t be taught in any syllabi and notebooks. It can only be experienced in real-life situations. It is the guardians and mentors responsibility to help the child build up emotionally, socially and morally in the early foundation years. These young toddlers are the next generation and the future of our country.
The seeds we sow in the early formative years of childhood will inculcate positivity and values in a toddler. Children learn by imitating, therefore, as parents, we have to be extra cautious while raising a toddler. It may also be possible that at times parents have to sacrifice or give up a habit in front of their babies because the biggest learning institution is our home/family.
Raising a toddler is not an easy job. First-time parents don’t understand how to effectively deal with and engage with a toddler. The toddler is in exploration mode because all the things in the surrounding environment are new for him/her. They are very fast learners and observers.
For example, my daughter used to go towards the switchboard, poke her fingers and wave saying “no” because I used to say No- No most of the time. The more we stop them, the more they repeat their behaviour. Many times our behaviour pattern reflects actions that are undesirable and should be avoided in front of a toddler.
Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Raising a Toddler
Based on my personal experience, I have made a list of things that should be avoided while dealing with toddlers.
#1 Do You Say “NO” to Your Baby?
The first point on the list is very important and you must consider the same while raising a toddler. ‘No! baby, don’t go there, No! don’t take this to your mouth and No! Don’t eat this. How many times in a day do you say “NO” to your baby? Have you ever counted? Is this the right approach? Ain’t you sowing seeds of ‘negativity’ in the early formative years of a toddler? Take a second and think about it.
Toddler’s inquisitive mind wishes to taste objects, therefore, they put each and everything in their mouth. For instance – spectacles, comb, slippers, TV remote, charger, watch and the list goes on and on. I worked upon my temper and patience and started to give her a substitute every time she picked up an unwanted object. And I bet, you would have done the same thing.
Because when we talk in a negative tone, the chances of a negative response increase. Keeping an eye on the toddler is important, but approach and attitude make all the difference. There is no tried and tested formula to apply but one has to try to keep on trying and don’t give up because, every baby is different, every home is different and every home environment is different.
#2 Do You Give Dull Look while Talking to Your Baby?
Talk to your baby with excitement, happiness and wear a smile. Babies are full of life, enthusiasm and expect the same amount of zeal from their parents because they have so much to explore, learn and observe. Babies love smiling faces and by doing so, you will release all your tensions and pressures (of office, home and personal life). Children are considered to be the biggest stress busters.
#3 Do You Indulge in An Argument with Spouse/Family Members in Front of Your Baby?
While raising a toddler, parents or grandparents should avoid a heated argument or fight in front of the baby. Toddlers are very fast learners and active listeners hence it’s possible for them to imitate. It may have a negative impact on a toddler’s psychology. Parents should try to sort out matters outside the home while they stroll around the market or separately in another room when the baby is not around.
#4 Do You Snatch Objects from Your Baby?
Snatching is a form of aggression and the baby may imitate sooner or later. Usually, babies don’t play with their toys, instead, they want to waste materials of our households and many times they catch hold of items like broomsticks, slippers, mops etc. In situations like these, do not snatch from their hands, instead apply a trick and hand over some other item to your toddler to divert attention. Then remove the unwanted objects from the front of a toddler.
#5 Do You Scream at Your Toddler?
While raising a toddler it’s important to remember that, yelling will not do any good to you as well as your baby and at the end of the day, it will make you regret it. Try to count 5-8 times before you react to any situation. Let your toddler, tear newspaper and magazines, destroy your favourite shade of lipstick, break your favourite pair of glasses, and spill your drinks. Who else will do all these, if not a toddler?
Research studies and even many child psychologists say that the more you shout to your toddler, the more aggressive and stubborn s/he will become. Handle child with lots of patience and perseverance and don’t lose temper. Remember patience is the key to successful parenting!
#6 Do You Ignore Your Toddler?
Toddlers should never be left unattended when they cry. Most of them cry because of hunger, wet nappies/diapers and pain in some part of the body. There are times when toddlers talk to parents in their own language or pass smile, Our responsibility is to reciprocate and make them feel noticed.
Sometimes many activities of the toddlers go unnoticed while we are busy with household chores, mobile phones, laptops and television. While engaging with the little one, try to make funny animal sounds, hug, hold hands, kiss, sing and narrate stories. Gently hug and cuddle your baby at least three times a day. First, in the morning when baby gets up from sleep, second when your baby comes from playschool/babysitting and third when your baby finishes dinner and is about to sleep.
#7 Have You Explored Your Home with Your Toddler’s Eyes?
I explored my home with my toddler’s eyes. All the corners of the house, balcony, kitchen, were explored by the toddler and she tried to pick everything which came her way. This may also possess a risk of choking.
Choking is very common in babies as they take everything in their mouths. An accident happens just in the blink of an eye. Parents must pay attention to each and every corner of the house to avoid the risk of choking. Examples of choking may be:
- Some toys have lots of nut bolts or detachable parts. The colourful broken parts of toys attract toddler’s attention and they are habitually bound to take them into their mouth.
- Random objects such as coins, batteries, small stretchable objects like (jewellery, rubber bands), stapler pins, safety pins, buttons all pose a risk of choking.
#8 Is Your Home Baby Proofed?
Childproofing (also called Baby Proofing) is the act of making an environment or object safer for children. The act of childproofing reduces risks to a level considered acceptable by a society, an institution, or, for example, to specific parents. Childproofing may include restriction of children to safe areas or preventing children from reaching unsafe areas. This can be accomplished by the parent, or by hiring a professional for assistance.
It is Very Important to Baby Proof Your Home. These Points can Help Minimise Injuries:
- Keep all the electrical appliances like a press, hair straighter, hand blender and mixer-grinder out of reach of the toddler.
- Earphones, chargers, telephones, cable and internet wires have to be kept away from the reach of toddlers.
- Keep your glass crockery/ glass furniture /decorative items away and store them safely to be used in future.
- Cover all the electrical sockets with brown tape so that baby doesn’t poke her/ his fingers.
- All medicines, syrups, deodorants, shampoo, oils, detergent should be kept in a place inaccessible.
- Ensure that doors have a proper stopper and latch to avoid any mishappening such as finger getting stuck in it. When a toddler starts walking, s/he herself explores the door and windows and tries to stand with their support. Remove the latches which are easily approachable by your little one because many times toddlers lock themselves in a room or bathroom. A little ignorance can cost a lot.
- Babies love to play in the water and it’s the most fun activity for them. So, avoid filling water in bathtubs/ buckets.
- If you have a prayer area in your home, then ensure that it is out of the reach of your toddler. No matchbox/ agarbatti (incense sticks) Diya etc should be accessible to your baby.
- Babies tend to fall from the bed, so make a prior arrangement of bedding in the ground or cover your ground area with a mattress.
Wrapping it Up
Home is the first learning institution for a child. And parents are the role models who have an important role to play in building up the foundation of a toddler. Hope this article is helpful. Do share your valuable insights while raising a toddler. How do you deal with her/him? Would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Good Luck with raising a toddler!