WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR CHILD:
FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Your child may now be able to understand how one concept relates to another. This will make it easier for you to teach rules such as: 'hot' objects will 'hurt' when touched. He'll start remembering that hot equals hurt and will not be as tempted to touch an item when you tell him it's 'hot'. Be sure not to push him too quickly since this is a skill that needs to mature gradually.
2. It may be time for your child's first proper haircut. You can help ease any fears by snipping a bit of your own hair first to show that it doesn't hurt. Visit the hairdresser before your scheduled appointment and allow your child to see what happens in the chair. Then, play 'hairdressers' at home and pretend to cut the 'hair' on her stuffed animals and dolls. Finally, when the big day arrives, allow her to sit on your lap rather than leaving her perched in a big unfamiliar chair. Bring a favourite toy or book in case you need something to distract your child.
3. Your child may want to dress and undress herself. However, she may not be quite ready to conquer the task without frustration. You can make it easier for her to learn by demonstrating how you get dressed, buying clothes that are easy to wriggle into and praising her when she tries to do it herself. You can also allow her to help you get her dressed: Pull her trousers up halfway and let her finish the job. While you enjoy her emerging independence, take heart in the fact that she still requires your assistance - once in a while.
4. If you are expecting another baby, you will need to properly prepare your toddler. He's bound to be curious about Mummy's growing tummy, especially when it kicks against him. Saying, 'Mummy's having a baby!' may not be enough. Begin by answering any questions your child may have. Let him know what's happening to you by showing him pictures in baby books and pictures of him when he was a newborn. Take him with you to antenatal appointments and, if possible, visit the hospital or birthing centre where you plan to give birth. Explain how fragile a newborn baby is and practice holding a doll before the baby is born. Most of all, include your toddler whenever possible and understand his potential jealousy. Spend special time with him and encourage your partner and other relatives to do the same. Help him understand that the new baby will grow up just like he did and that soon he'll have a lifelong playmate.