Tag Archive | "development milestones"

Converting A Nursery To A Toddler Room

Now that your precious angel is growing up, it is time to turn that nursery into a room that can grow with your toddler. Below are some easy toddler room ideas you can try.

Talk To Your Toddler

You will not be able to transform a baby nursery to a toddler room if you do not know the needs and wants of your toddler. He will be the one to use it, so it would help to know what his likes and dislikes are. Sit down with your toddler and discuss what colors or interests he would like to have incorporated into his room. Let him help you make some of the decisions.

Pick or Change A Theme

You can either keep the theme of your nursery or come up with a new one. However, the latter is a better idea because when you created your nursery, you and a few other people made all the decisions. This time, let your toddler choose the theme that he likes for his room. After all, he is going to be the one spending a lot of time in there. Go out with your toddler, shop around and help him select a theme that he likes.

Choose A Bed That Appeals To Your Toddler

The bed is going to be the major focal point of your toddler’s bedroom. Therefore, you have to pick a bed your toddler will like. You can keep his convertible crib to help him easily transition from crib to toddler bed or choose custom theme beds. They are safe, sturdy and versatile substitutes to traditional beds. Plus, it will let your toddler infuse more of his individuality into the room. You can even have custom theme beds designed to blend in with the elements of your toddler’s nursery so it will not make him feel like he is in a strange environment.

Take Out Excess Furnitures

Now that your little one can sit up, crawl and walk, he will need a room that has lots of space so he can move around without hurting himself. Get rid of unnecessary nursery furnitures such as the changing table and the nursery rocking chair. He will only need a dresser, cabinet (for storing your toddler’s clothing essentials), a toy box (for his toys) and a durable small-sized set of table and chairs where he can perform his activities (e.g. coloring, drawing, storytelling, etc.).

Change Room Accessories

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to convert a nursery to a toddler room is to change bedroom accessories. You can repaint the walls, change beddings, window treatments, lighting, use wall art, place picture frames or hang your toddler’s artworks.

Create A Quiet Area

After a long day of playing, your toddler will need a place where he can relax. Create a quiet corner that invites rest by placing books, stuffed animals, pillows and a small chair.

Transforming a nursery into a toddler room is actually very easy. All you need to do is to prepare and plan carefully so you can provide your toddler with a flawless transition from the nursery into the toddler’s bedroom.

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Simple Games That Can Boost Toddler Development

Playtime is an imperative part of toddler development. For it is during this time when toddlers discover and understand themselves, the people around them and the world. Here are some fun toddler games to try.

Hide and Seek

Just as he liked peek-a-boo as a baby, your toddler will love to play simple games of hide and seek. Take turns hiding under the bed sheets or use a pillow to cover your face. To make it more exciting, you can gently prod your little one as he hides. When he is using a big bath towel to cover himself, say “I wonder if this is a leg or an arm?”. Games like this help educate your toddler that just because he cannot see something, it does not mean it is not there.

Let’s Pretend

Toddlers love to mimic their mommy and daddy. Play a game of make believe or do a role play by dressing each other up as a doctor, dentist or construction worker, using finger puppets, big cardboard boxes to become houses, trains and planes, toy gadgets (e.g. telephone and remote control) and housekeeping items (e.g. toddler-sized mop or vacuum, wooden toy tool kit, etc.). Do not forget to talk about what you are doing as this will help your toddler with his language skills. Do different facial expressions (be happy, sad, confused or worried) as well so he can learn about feelings and emotions while developing his imagination.

Stop Dance

Play interactive songs that allow your baby to do particular actions such as stomping like an elephant, tiptoeing so he will not disturb a sleeping lion or hopping like a kangaroo. After a few seconds of dancing, hit the pause button and make sure your toddler stays still, and resume playing the music. Not only is this game fun and easy, but it also enhances your toddler’s imagination, develops his sense of rhythm and builds up his stamina.

Clap Me Happy

By now, your little one can hold his hands open, but it may take some time before he can clap on his own. Clap them together for him or let him hold your hands while you tap them together. Sit him facing you on your lap or on the floor and sing clapping songs like Pat-A-Cake, Miss Lucy Had A Baby and Miss Mary Mack. These will improve his language skills as well as his hand-eye coordination.

Catch The Ball

Toddlers love playing with balls. Use a soft, foam ball to play catch. Both of you sit on the floor facing each other with your legs apart and toes touching, and start rolling the ball backward and forward to each other. This game promotes arm muscle strength and dexterity.

Block Party

Use his stacking toys to make simple patterns such as a square or a rectangle and encourage him to copy it. Help him stack all the blocks together to build a tower or allow him to make his own pattern. Sorting games will help boost your toddler’s problem-solving skills.

Little Treasure Hunter

Spend some time outdoors and give your toddler a short and exciting excursion. Go for a walk together and take his toy pail with you. Let your toddler collect small objects that interest him such as a huge stone, pine cone and dried leaves he found in the park or some seashells and sand he gathered during a trip to the beach. He will enjoy filling and dumping items in the bucket and at the same time, he gets to practice his hand movements. Being outdoors exposes your toddler to different places which helps him learn new concepts and vocabulary.

Make the most out of your toddler’s playtime by playing these simple games that help enrich his development. Both you and your toddler will have so much fun to even notice that he is learning.

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Helping A Child With Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) is a finding usually given to 3-year old toddlers. Children who have PDD are often puzzled with their thoughts and are disintegrated with their perception of the world. PDD is a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many fundamental skills, specifically the ability to communicate and interact with others and the use of imagination. It consists of 5 disorders namely:

  • Asperger’s Syndrome - difficulty with social interaction and communication but with above average intelligence
  • Autism – deficient in social, communication and thinking skills, interests are limited
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD) – a rare circumstance that occurs from age 2 to 10 wherein a toddler can lose many of the skills he has grown
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) – toddlers who have communication and play deficiency but are too social to be believed autistic
  • Rett’s Syndrome – a very unusual disorder with signs related to PDD but with problems of physical abnormalities and poor dexterity skills

How to Help A Toddler With PDD

There is no known treatment for pervasive developmental disorder. But, the most effective way to address this condition is by having a treatment program that tackles a toddler’s needs at home and in school. With a PDD program, parents, teachers, doctors and therapists should work jointly to help improve skills and decrease actions that can hinder toddler development.

1.) Special Education

A toddler with PDD highly benefits from special education. To help balance and somehow modify a child’s deficiencies, a focused classroom (either a one-on-one or small sized class setting) is essential. Varied learning systems are given so in this way, lessons and activities are set in a direct manner. Thus, adequate attention is given to the different scholastic strengths and weaknesses of the child.

2.) Open Communication Lines

Having a close parent-child relationship is really significant in this situation. To help a toddler with his journey, constant talking is essential. Facing the problem is better than running from it. When both parent and child acknowledge the special condition, open communication take place, and with this, parents can openly discuss the situation and the toddler can better comprehend. Moreover, the toddler will be more willing to accept and adjust. He becomes determined to set and reach realistic goals for himself to help improve his condition.

3.) Classes or Workshops

A toddler with PDD only lacks people skills. To help him enhance it, find a group where he can be a part of. If he is a good swimmer, enroll him in a swimming class. This new setting allows the toddler’s special skills to shine in a way they do not in a classroom. Plus, it is the perfect opportunity for him to meet other children who share his interests. As a result, he gets to focus on his strengths, divert his condition into something productive and gain friends who accept him, imperfections and all.

4.) Therapy

Cognitive, language and physical treatments are essential. These are designed to increase the toddler’s functional abilities. With a professional counselor, he gets to do certain exercises that are directed in enhancing undeveloped skills. Activities like building things from toy blocks improve his movements giving him dexterity. While audio and visual drills modify his level of speech and thinking.

5.) Support Groups

Involving in a PDD support group is an excellent way to meet other families facing the same challenges. Parents can exchange information, gather advice and lean on one another for emotional support. By being with others in the same boat and sharing experiences, you not only find personal comfort but a lot of ideas that can help you assist your toddler.

6.) Do Fun Activities Together

A toddler dealing with PDD is still a child. For toddlers and parents, there must be more to life than therapy. Schedule playtime when your toddler is most conscious and alert. Look for ways to have fun together by assessing the things that make your toddler laugh, smile and self-assured. Without a doubt, he will enjoy this break. There are a lot of positive outcomes that result from your toddler’s happiness of spending a relaxing time with you.  Play is imperative in a toddler’s learning and should not feel like work.

7.) Create A Safe Abode

Have a private space in your home where your toddler can rest and feel protected. Organize his space in ways your toddler can understand. Child-proof you home and create visual signs (e.g. colored tapes for off-limit areas, pictures for indexing objects, etc.).

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How Make Believe Enhances Toddler Development

The impact of pretend play to children is so powerful. They get a lot of benefit from playing make believe. By understanding these benefits and working on to promote this type of play in toddlers, you help fuel the process of building various skills that are imperative in honing toddler development.

Benefits Toddlers Get From Symbolic Play

It Helps Toddlers Discover Their Talents

When toddlers are at play, everything and anything comes to life. A simple cardboard box can be transformed into a mini playhouse, play dough’s can be molded to fun animals or into a ginger bread house and socks into sock puppets with googly eyes. Possibilities are endless. Role playing unleashes the imaginative side of toddlers which ultimately helps them discover their personal aesthetic tastes at a tender age. Furthermore, make believe encourages toddlers to explore, observe and discover new things. A toddler who is fond of constructing objects may have the skills of an architect, while a little one who loves to tinker with colors, papers and blank canvases may be a brilliant painter in the making.

It Serves As A Representation of Real Things

To you, a block is just a block. But for your toddler it becomes anything from a burger to a pirate ship. Symbolic play obliges your toddler to think abstractly which helps him become an imaginative problem solver. While this may not seem like a major developmental milestone, but the capability to think metaphorically is crucial in learning language, sounds and math. When your toddler plays make believe, he uses toys that he can utilize in a variety of ways. This is how your little one comes to recognize basic thinking and academic skills (e.g. numbers represent amounts and letters stand for sounds).

It Helps Toddlers Acquire Confidence

Sense of self is essential to help toddlers properly develop. Playing in an open-ended manner enables your little one to play in almost any way he likes. This encourages safe expression of feelings which promotes the development of healthy behaviors. As a result, your toddler learns how to channel his frustrations productively promoting creative thoughts and new ideas which gives him self-esteem. Once he has this, he gains good understanding of himself which helps him better articulate with others.

It Enhances Language Skills

Make believe allows your toddler to experiment with words and voices. As your energetic toddler babbles to his stuffed animals and robots about his playtime plans, your child is gradually reinforcing his vocabulary and practicing speech. This is very beneficial as he grows older and starts to be more cooperative with other children since it minimizes petty fights and tantrum displays because he knows how to clearly express his queries and wants.

It Boosts Problem Solving Skills

When role playing, your toddler gets to utilize his brain. He encounters different scenarios which helps him understand things and come up with ways to resolve such problems. His brain is constantly thinking as your toddler spins scenes in his head. For example, he is playing with stacking toys. Naturally, he becomes curious so questions like what he wants to construct, what he needs to do in order to keep the blocks in place and how he will recreate the blocks in case it falls down plays inside his head. The more he becomes stimulated, the better exercise his brain gets which helps him become a fast and rational thinker.

It Builds Social Skills

Toys limit your toddler to play on his own. But with role playing, the more toddlers participate, the better. A simple story telling at your village playground or a puppet show in your house is an excellent way to help your toddler mingle with his peers. Not only do children get entertained but the exposure your toddler gets allow him to adapt, adjust, listen, share and respect other kids as well.

It Teaches Toddlers Proper Behaviour

By permitting your toddler to play with imaginative play sets and other forms of dramatic play toys, you are giving him the aptitude to grow his basic thinking skills. This enables your little one to learn how to use his senses to discover things and also how to efficiently manage problems. Make believe is an effective approach in assisting him in recognizing good behaviour from bad behaviour and in making important decisions.

Playing make believe need not require expensive and modern toys. Most often, it is the simple items like hats, blankets, clothes, socks, toy workbench tools and teddy bears where toddlers can learn best.

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Toddler Development - Helping Children With Special Needs

A toddler that needs special care need not be treated like a handicap. With a little help, learning basic skills and getting proper toddler development can be achieved. All it takes is your guidance to help him build self-confidence to give him the freedom he needs to properly advance.

Choose A Skill Your Toddler Can Work On

If your toddler requires special care and attention, it is important for you to teach him basic self-help skills. Select the easy ones first as your toddler can be easily overwhelmed. You can choose to train your toddler how to brush his teeth, dress on his own, tie his shoelaces or eat by himself. Remember to practice a single ability first, never teach him two skills at the same time since this will only confuse him. Together, practice the skill slowly. Just take it one step at a time and never pressure your toddler to perfect it instantly. Show your toddler proper execution. Encourage him to carefully observe you do the skill before you let him demonstrate it on his own.

Create A Step By Step Plan

Since toddler’s with special needs function and comprehend slower than normal children, it is best to teach him in a step by step manner. If you are trying to train your toddler how to make his own bed, break down the tasks into steps (arranging the pillows, folding the blanket, straightening the bed sheet and placing the comforter) and draw a chart. Have him put a check mark on every task he has accomplished. In this way, your toddler feels a sense of accomplishment which ultimately encourages him to do much better next time.

Maximize Play Time

Playing is the way young toddlers learn. Having ample play time is essential to early childhood development regardless of your toddler’s special needs. Allow your toddler to do the activities he likes. Let him run around your backyard, play with kids his age in your neighborhood’s playground or doddle whole afternoon. The more your toddler gets to play, the faster he can learn things on his own. Plus, the exposure he gets from playing is perfect for boosting social interaction and is an excellent start to make friends.

Music Therapy

Studies have shown that music is an excellent remedy for toddlers who have difficulty hearing, moving, responding, seeing or thinking. Play different kinds of music, from nursery rhymes, interactive songs to classical, jazz and ballad. It is entertaining, motivating and it permits your toddler to productively express his anger, stress and depression. The stimulation it gives increases his cognitive development which helps fine tune your toddler’s fine motor and motor skills, dexterity, eloquence and self-alertness.

Give Constant Affirmation

Sometimes, a toddler with special needs long for security. Increase cuddle moments. Kiss, hug, pat and smile together. Use positive and soothing words. Constantly credit your little one even with the littlest things. Comment on how he looks so handsome in his button down polo and khaki shorts ensemble, his new haircut or his drawings. Affirmations serve as building blocks which inspires your toddler to nurture his abilities inspite of his condition.

Praise and Challenge

The best way you can help boost your toddler’s development is to give positive reinforcement for every job well done. Say for example you are teaching him the alphabet, commend him whether he memorizes it flawlessly or with errors. After which, challenge him to do it again until he perfects it. By repeating the action, he is able to retain his learning’s and be more aware of his mistakes.

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