WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR CHILD:
FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Your child might start having temper tantrums. Gone are the days of simply eating and sleeping. She now has a distinct way of expressing herself. The range of her emotions is seemingly endless. Keep a close eye on her and you'll witness excitement and confusion when she first encounters a new toy, pride as she shows you how to slide that little yellow star into the proper hole and even anger when she's not given the object she wants. It's this last emotion that can cause some embarrassing and, yes, loud moments in your life. Welcome to the age of the temper tantrum. If your child becomes this angry, experts advise adopting a matter-of-fact attitude about the tantrum (assuming of course that the child is not in physical danger).
As difficult as it may be, do not give in to these outbursts. Let your child know that you understand her anger but will not acknowledge how she is expressing it. You should see the tantrum subside as she realises the behaviour will not get a reaction from you. As she grows older, talk to her about why her behaviour is not acceptable. This is best done after the tantrum has subsided and things have settled down again. Most of all, remember that this is but one emotion she'll express. Once it quietens down again you can continue to enjoy the moments of excitement and affection that are soon to follow.
2. It might be time to start thinking about child care. You may find the thought of separating from your child difficult. Here's how you can help your child (and yourself) ease the transition.
Choose quality care. Select an environment and an individual that closely reflect your parenting beliefs. Be sure to fully interview the person or people who will be in charge of your child, carefully inspect the facility and check several references. These steps will help you rest assured that your little one is being lovingly cared for in a manner that will nurture him just as you would if you were with him.
Maintain daily communication with your child's carer. Inquire about your child. Did he have a good day? How and what did he eat? Any scrapes or bumps? Did he interact with the other children? Any concerns?
Remember that separation at this age may be difficult for your toddler. He may cry and cling to you when you drop him off. You can help lessen his protests by leaving a special memento he can carry throughout the day. Spend special time with him both before you leave each day and after you return home each evening, and reassure him that in a few hours Mummy (and/or Daddy) will be back to take him home. While you should not ignore his tears, remember that they will most likely be replaced by a smile when you are out of sight and other children and new toys distract him. Remember, too, that protests should lessen as he grows older and becomes more interested in interactive play with other children.
While staying at home may have certain emotional benefits (for both parent and child), your toddler will also benefit from the loving care he'll receive each day. Now he'll have the care of his parents and another special adult.