Archive | June 19th, 2012

Building Self-esteem In Toddlers

Self-esteem is important especially to toddlers since it can make or break their development. It is not something that can be learned overtime but rather an outcome of repeated achievements. Here are a few simple strategies in building self-esteem in toddlers.

Be An Example

Be your toddler’s role model and set a positive example. Children, by nature, love emulating their parents. So if you are too critical of yourself, pessimistic and unsure of your talents and skills, your toddler might eventually mirror you. Foster your own self-esteem and he will have a great model.

Give Unconditional Love

Toddlers are smart and conscious of their surroundings so make an effort to express how much you love your toddler at all times. Shower him with hugs and kisses. Always tell him how much you love him. If he makes a mistake, make it clear that it is his behaviour and not him that is unacceptable. Instead of telling him he is a bad boy, explain to him why that certain action is offensive and how it hurts other people.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

Encouragement is the best way to promote self-esteem. Praise your little one for a job well done. Even if it is as trivial as fixing his own bed, give your toddler a sincere praise like “You did a great job making your own bed. You made me happy.”. When you see him trying or making an effort after he failed at something, tell him you are proud of him and that he can do it. Little things like this increase your toddler’s sense of worth.

Be honest and do it often but do not overdo it. It may inflate his ego and make him feel superior than everyone else which can lead to bigger problems.

Teach Your Toddler How To Handle Criticism

Criticism can break confidence. Help your toddler understand that criticism is a part of life and that while it can help him become a better individual, it should never damage his own concept of himself. Help your toddler put things in perspective. For instance, if he failed in a math quiz, do not punish him and say “You are really slow in Math. You are a bad student.” His ego has already been bruised and he is ashamed, adding his suffering will only make him feel bad. Give a constructive response like “You are a good student. You have high grades in other subjects. You just need to spend more time practicing your Math lessons. We will work on it together.”

Be Consistent

Consistency is important to toddlers. When you make rules, make sure you stand by them. If you tell him to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, do not say it is okay to pile them on the floor. You should never give in to your toddler’s whims especially if he is having a tantrum. This will only make him think that if he cry or yell, he will get what he want.


If your toddler needs to talk or show you something, stop whatever you are doing and listen. Giving him your undivided attention shows you care and that you value what he has to say. By doing this, you help him validate his emotions which will make expressing easier for him.


Feed your toddler’s curiosity. For it is only with direct exposure he can learn, experience and gain confidence. Allow your toddler to try various sports, hobbies and activities he enjoys. If he is interested in soccer and singing, enroll him in a soccer and voice class. Accomplishment builds self-confidence, and self-confidence builds self-esteem.

Make Room For Mistakes

Mistakes are valuable life lessons. So if your toddler stains his shirt because he was playing in the dining table, gently ask what he might differently do next time. Likewise, if you commit a mistake, laugh and admit it. Once your toddler sees you acknowledge and recover from the error, it will be easier for him to accept his own shortcomings.

Children need to establish self-esteem from the very beginning. Thus, it is very important for parents to be patient and show their full support so children can mature into bright, happy individuals with a can-do attitude.

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Fun Travel Games That Will Keep Your Toddler Busy

“Are we there yet?”, a question children love to ask every few minutes when traveling. Traveling is a challenge for many parents since they need to keep their kids preoccupied until they reach their destination. Hence, travel games come in very handy to keep toddlers happy whether traveling by car, plane, train or boat.

I Spy Alphabet

The I Spy game is a simple, fun and classic game toddlers love to play during trips, perfect for beating long hours of boredom. Start by deciding on a category. Say for instance the category is animals. You can start by saying an animal that starts with the letter A, say for example “ape” then have your little one say something beginning with that letter like “ant” and move on to the next letter until you finish the alphabet. This game is better played during a family outing so a lot of people can participate to make it more interesting. Not only will this game excite your toddler but also challenge him mentally as well.

Backseat Bingo

You will need a pen or crayon (for marking) and printable game boards which you can download online or you can make your own game boards with different categories. Play the game by marking the item when you see it as you travel. The first one to get a straight row going up, down, across, crosswise or until every item in the board is marked must say BINGO to be declared the winner.

Travel Collage

Cut out pictures of airplanes, boats, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trains using old magazines or newspapers. Together, you can glue these down randomly to create a travel collage. As you work on this project, ask your toddler questions about the various modes of transportation. Which is his favorite? Why does he like it? Which would be best to take to the park? Grandpa’s house? To Disneyland?

The Transfer Station

Now that your toddler is an expert at using his hands and is beginning to understand basic concepts like “empty and full” and “in and out”, utilize  these emerging skills by bringing two covered plastic containers. Fill up one container with toys like blocks, stuffed animals, crayons, etc. and leave the other container empty. Place the two containers next to each other and encourage your young one to move the items from one container to the next, then back again.

Granny Went To Market

Ideally played during car trips, this game also doubles as a memory game. Begin the game by saying “Granny went to market and bought…” Make sure to choose items you can see outside the car windows, say for example flowers. Let your toddler repeat this and have him add another item to the list, for instance, a  bottle of milk. Repeat these two items and add another, saying “Granny went to market and bought flowers, a bottle of milk and vegetables.”. Continue doing this until you have mentioned at least 20 items.

Guess The Animal

Take turns of being the animal and let everyone guess what you are. If you are a giraffe, you can say “I am tall. I have a long neck. I have spots.”. When someone has guessed what animal you are, let that person be the next animal.


Reading is another great travel game. Use board books since they are small and lightweight. Choose his favorite stories, read them to him or read together. Read them as if you are acting in a dramatic play, complete with delighted, scared and funny voices. Point out pictures, a dog for example and act out the sound of the dog. Have him repeat it after you so he will not get bored just listening to you.

The right travel games can make a trip much easier not only for your toddler but for everyone else as well. Be creative, have variety and challenge.

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Secrets To Successful Play Dates For Your Toddler

Play dates is a vital part of toddler development. For in this activity, children can thrive, learn how to interact with others and unleash hidden talents. Below are some simple tips on how to achieve fun and fuss-free play dates.

Schedule Play Dates Appropriately

Never schedule a play date when your toddler feels cranky, worn out, at nap time or just before meals. He will only be irritable and most likely not enjoy the activity. Timing is really important. Your little one should be rested and well-fed before he heads out to play with other children. Lunch play dates work really well for most toddlers. Invite his playmates a few hours before lunch, give them a light snack, let them play for at least 30 minutes and then the kids can head home just in time for their nap time.

Moreover, do not arrange too many play dates as these can erase the feeling of anticipation, so instead of enjoying, he will see it as work. Schedule play dates twice a week to give your little one something to look forward to. Remember, play dates should give toddlers a great time and not go home weepy and emotional. Also, play dates must be kept short. Long play sessions drain out his energy. Set a time limit of 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

Let Your Toddler Take The Lead

Ask your little one who he would like to invite over. If he is particularly fond of the kids at preschool, your local playground or your next door neighbour, invite them to come over. Your toddler’s playmates need not be the same age. Inviting a toddler that is a year ahead of him has some advantages. The older child can help direct play for the youngsters and teach them the importance of sharing and cooperation.

Get Creative

Play dates should not only consist of activities like coloring, drawing or running around the backyard. Be creative with your ideas. A do-it-yourself activity like make-your-own snacks is a sure-fire hit with toddlers. It keeps them busy, gives them the freedom to choose and is undoubtedly fun. Treasure hunts and arts and crafts projects are also an all-time favorite.

Hold destination dates or play dates outside the house. It gives toddlers a chance to explore and quench their inquisitive minds. A pool party, trip to the zoo, a visit to the nearest park or organizing a picnic day ensures everybody a grand time.


Children are full of life and it is common for them to have disagreements. Make sure you supervise them but do not interfere in times of confrontation. Let them resolve their own problems. Small disagreements do not last long and if you hang back you will find that the kids have worked out their own resolution. But once it gets physical, it is time to step in. Keep your calm, show your disapproval and make firm statements like “Hitting is not good. I cannot let you do that to each other.”.

Invite Moms

Have the kids’ moms come over as well. They can help you supervise the children especially during times when a kid starts wailing and you do not have any idea how to pacify him. In this way, children can have a blast and you get to have that much needed girl bonding as well.

Send A Memento

End a wonderful play date by sending each toddler off with a souvenir they helped create (e.g. a cookie, drawing or an instant photo of the children together). They will be excited to share these keepsakes with others and it will remind them what a great time they had.

Play dates give parents and toddlers a chance to build and strengthen bonds. Plus, children learn important social skills that can benefit their development while having fun.

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