WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR CHILD:
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Your child's language and motor skills are improving. Each day he shows his new talents by exclaiming new words and mini-sentences, or by performing seemingly impossible acrobatic feats.
Now when you sit down and read to him, he's apt to turn the pages for you and name the objects on his favourite page. And, after a hard day's play, he'll even be able to wash his hands - though you'll need to supervise and be available to dry the work surface afterwards.
Continue to talk and read to your child. Involve him in your family's daily routine.
You'll marvel at the skills he learns and the words that come out of that adorable little mouth.
2. Your child may be able to say her own name. It's the name you spent months pondering, but you probably never imagined what it would sound like coming out of your child's mouth.
Your child is also beginning to associate names with people, and quite possibly with features such as her nose, eyes and mouth. Now she may begin pointing to pictures in her favourite books. Help her learn the names of things by repeating the words when she points to them. She's starting to realise that every object has a name and will soon expect you to help her learn what to call each item she sees. Enjoy her seemingly endless curiosity and delight in every new word she learns.
3. Your child is becoming more independent. He is entering the 'I do it' stage, when he wants to do everything for himself. He may now enjoy climbing onto his bike for a ride across the grass or down the driveway. You'll notice that the separation anxiety that caused him to cling to you is beginning to wear off. Don't worry, though. He's still most comfortable with you around and probably won't stray too far. Guide him gently and allow him to learn new tasks. Just be certain to supervise him more closely than ever before. With this new independence comes the wonderful art of testing limits. Set rules and gently but firmly stick to your decisions. Although he'll want to push harder, toddlers do enjoy a sense of order and structure. Enjoy these new challenges and keep your cameras handy to record his every move.
4. Your child is beginning to understand simple cause and effect. You and your child are having a great day when suddenly it happens: you suggest a simple task like a bath or a nappy change, and your little angel makes a face that lets you know an outburst is imminent. Wait! There is hope for keeping her calm. Help your toddler accept necessary activities by turning these tasks into playtime. This will be increasingly easy as she begins to understand simple cause-and-effect relationships. For instance, when she shies away from a bath, tell her that it's okay since you'd rather take one yourself anyway. Begin to step into the bath fully dressed. She'll no doubt remember that you are supposed to remove your clothes before getting into the water and will start to laugh at your mistake. Then get her to show you how it's supposed to be done. (Of course, she'll need your supervision and assistance with these steps.) Or when she decides her slippers are the latest trend in footwear, play along. Pick up your list and wallet and put on your coat - and slippers. Your whole family will dissolve into laughter at the mere thought of you getting in the car in your slippers. Humour is a wonderfully effective tool every parent should possess. You'll help divert future outbursts and teach valuable life lessons at the same time.
5. You may need to begin setting limits for your child. You know he's supposed to explore the world around him. You expect a certain amount of crying, and even screaming, as he tests his new voice. But there are times when you must put your foot down. How do you discipline your toddler effectively? What are some alternatives to the age-old practice of spanking? First, try to think of it as setting limits rather than disciplining. Tell him no and state the rule, such as, `We do not throw toys at our friends?. Be patient. You may need to repeat the same rule several times. Gradually, he'll begin to respect the boundaries you've set. Setting limits and sticking to them will offer your child a sense of structure. He may not immediately appreciate these boundaries, but in the long run he'll relish the sense of order.