Archive | May 17th, 2012

Teaching Toddlers Table Manners

Teaching toddlers table manners is not something they learn automatically. It can take a lot of time, effort and patience. Like development, it is a gradual process. Below are some age-appropriate ways you can teach your toddler.

Be An Example

The best way to teach your toddler table manners? Be his role model. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Show your little one how it is done. When he sees you saying grace, saying please and thank you, talking properly at the table and not doing anything during meal time aside from eating, your actions will ultimately rub off on him. Children love imitating their parents so once he sees you modelling proper etiquette, he will mimic your actions.

Explain and Demonstrate

Instruct your toddler how utensils are properly used. His understanding of things will affect how he handles things. Explain what each utensil is for, when it is used and the correct way to hold it. Do not just sit and expect him to listen and understand everything you say. Show him how to use them through pretend play. Hold a spoon and pretend to scoop soup from a bowl, illustrate the function of a plate by getting food from the table and then placing them on the plate.

Make Early Introductions

Start introducing your toddler to different kinds of food at an early age. Have your toddler try a bite of new foods offered even if he thinks the food looks bland. Explain to your little one that even if he may think a food is gross, he should keep his opinion to himself rather than express it vocally to avoid offending the cook especially when dining outside the house.

Repeat, Repeat and Repeat

Keep in mind that your toddler will not lean proper table manners overnight. You have to be consistent in training him to refine his skills. For instance, once he learns how to say “please” and “thank you”, prompt your toddler to say these words before you give him food.

Keep It Casual

Simple, everyday happenings serve as the best life lessons. Let your toddler decide whether or not an action is proper or improper. For example, if he saw child A getting food from child B without asking permission, ask him “ Do you think that child’s action was rude?” or “If you were in child A’s position, would you do the same thing?”. Helping your toddler understand the concept of table manners is far better than uttering a bunch of rules for him to memorize.

Give Praise

Commend your toddler for behaving well at the table – when he sits quietly, does not talk when his mouth is full, or excuses himself when he is done eating. This reassures your toddler that he is doing a great job and that you are pleased with his behaviour which will encourage him to do good the next time.

Never Scold

If your toddler misbehaves during meal time, never embarrass him in front of people. Instead, keep your calm, correct and remind him in an authoritative voice to stop spitting or throwing food. You can confront him once dinner is finished, when you are alone and relaxed. Giving him the “look” or a hand signal as a reminder also helps. You can also try removing him from the table if he continues misbehaving even after receiving a warning.

Manners are built over time so start instilling them as early as possible. Expect a lot of errors and mishaps so be patient and watch all your efforts pay off.

Posted in Parenting, Toddler DisciplineComments (0)

Toddler Car Seat Safety Tips

Hitting the road with your toddler? Make sure you follow these toddler car seat safety tips to keep your toddler safe and sound while you are driving.

Always Read and Follow Directions

Even if you feel like tossing out the manual, it is very important that you understand how to correctly install a toddler car seat. After all, you are taking your precious one’s safety into consideration so might as well pick up that hefty manual and start reading. A car seat instruction manual will make installation easier for you. Plus, it helps you learn the do’s and don’ts as well as the best way to utilize your toddler’s car seat. Also, different models of cars have a different installation process. Older models do not have car seat shoulder belts while newer ones have the LATCH system.

Position The Car Seat In The Right Spot

A toddler car seat cannot protect your toddler if it is installed incorrectly. Place your toddler’s car seat rear-facing and in the middle of the back seat. This is the safest spot since it has no air bags and it offers the best protection for your toddler’s head, neck and spine. Position it that way until he is 2 years old or once he reaches the car seat’s weight limit. Never put a car seat on the front seat as this will only risk your toddler’s safety.

Keep The Straps Tight

Always make sure you buckle up your toddler. See to it you adjust the harness correctly to ensure a snug fit. The straps must be at or below your toddler’s shoulders. Use the retainer clips connected to the harness band and fasten them at armpit level to prevent the straps from sliding off your toddler’s shoulders. Make sure the harness and the straps are even and untwisted against your toddler’s chest and over his hips. Straps should be tight enough, not allowing more than an inch of movement from front to back or side to side.

Buckle Up

So you already secured the car seat’s harness to your toddler but have you buckled the car seat into the car? This is a common mistake parents overlook because of confusion or during hectic days. Stop making this mistake by double-checking to ensure that the car seat is buckled tightly to the car each time you put your toddler in his seat.

Recline Your Toddler At The Correct Angle

In the rear-facing position, recline the car seat at a 45-degree angle. Use the manual as your reference. Reclining your baby at the correct angle stops your toddler’s head from flopping forward. If the car seat does not come with cushioned inserts, roll a towel or a blanket and place them at the sides and around your toddler’s head and neck.

Delay Moving His Car Seat To A Forward-facing Position

Stop the urge to place your toddler’s car seat in the forward-facing position just so you can see him in your rear-view mirror. Toddlers have large heads and weak necks so in a head-on collision, the impact can cause your toddler’s head to jerk forward resulting to serious head and spinal injuries.

A toddler car seat is the safest way to protect your toddler when traveling. But beyond that, it is also crucial that you follow correct usage to avoid common car seat mistakes to ensure your child a happy ride.

Posted in Safety, Toddler Car Seat SafetyComments (0)

Making The Transition From Crib To Toddler Bed

Switching from a crib to a toddler bed is a momentous milestone in your toddler’s life. It is a period of adjustment so expect mixed feelings of excitement, happiness and anxiousness. Keep the following tips in mind to make the move as smooth as possible.

Spotting The Signs of Readiness

You know your toddler is ready for that big change when:

  • He is tall enough (approximately 36 inches tall) and is able to stand in his crib.
  • He becomes an escape artist – constantly climbs in and out of the crib.
  • He knows how to use the toilet or when he is potty trained.
  • He shows an interest in beds more than his crib.

How You Can Make The Change Easy

Right Timing Is Everything

Change is never easy to accept especially when it comes to children who thrive on consistency. Just like any transition (e.g. potty training or sleeping in their own room), timing is important. Make the change at a time your toddler is calm and happy. Never introduce this idea while he is coping with something – a new baby, an illness or a new skill perhaps. Take it slow. Time, try and test it so there is plenty of time for adjustment.

Talk To Him About It

Do not just set up the bed and take out the crib and expect your little one to be thrilled. Remember, the crib served as his place of comfort and security during the first 3 years of his life and he might not be willing to give it up just yet. Casually bring up the topic at a time he is relaxed - during his playtime, when you feed him or at night before putting him to sleep. Tell him that he is becoming such a big boy and that big boys need a special bed.

Let Him Choose His Bed and Bedding

The transition will be easier for your little one if you get a toddler bed and a bedcover that he likes. Visit furniture stores together so he can check out his options. For instance, if he has a fascination for trucks, get him a toddler bed that looks like a truck and a bed sheet, pillowcase and blanket with trucks printed on them. The more involved your toddler is in the mechanics of the transition, the more likely he is to cooperate and handle the move well. Once he sees his new things, he will probably be giddy and impatient to jump in his new bed.

Keep His Crib Visible

Keep his crib in his room for the mean time. This will help your toddler adjust better. Do not position his new bed the same spot where his crib is. Instead, place his bed in the opposite corner. In this way, your toddler will be comforted with the crib’s presence even if he is sleeping in his new bed. This also gives him the option of which bed he wants to sleep in during nap time and bedtime.

Introduce It At Nap Time

If your toddler is still reluctant to sleep in his new bed, it would be best to introduce it during his nap time when light is present so he can survey his surroundings. This allows him to be acquainted with the strange object and once he is comfortable with it, he will start sleeping in it at night voluntarily.

Place Old Comfort Objects In The Bed

Keep anything that he uses for comfort like a teddy bear or a special pillow he sleeps with in his crib. This creates a feeling of familiarity and security so your toddler will not feel overwhelmed with the change.

Do not worry if the transition does not go well at first. This is a big step in his life. Be patient and support your toddler.

Posted in Gear, Toddler BedComments (0)

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