So, you are now parenting a one year old…A curious, mobile, emotional, willful, energetic (what other words describe your?)….toddler:
•Who is developing her senses of self, will and identity within her groups…
>And what, exactly, is a sense of “will”?
>And how does a young child begin to learn how to incorporate her will into a group, be it large (group care) or small (family size)?
>And why does it matter in the grand scheme of life?
•Who is also becoming more skilled and courageous and experimental physically…
•Who also loves and wants to help and participate in her daily processes (ie: self-care, caring for her environment, helping with daily activities)…
•Who is also learning many languages: verbal, implied, body….
•Who will be moving through some developmental shifts through the year that may be difficult to decode and hard to watch…
•Who is also learning to take pride in her choices and abilities….
>Not from praise, not from rewards. From the sense of having succeeded or contributed. Toddlers, even the brand new ones, are supreme “sensers”.
What should you do now?
•Be ready to adapt to these changing needs of your toddler.
•Be ready to change how you view your child
>Becoming a parent is one of the most impactful changes adults go through. We are amazed and in love with the beautiful new baby that has come into our lives… But for children, this time is different. They are changing quickly and often and aren’t spending much time dwelling on who they were a lifetime ago for them.
•Observe both your toddler and yourself as often as possible but especially during “trying periods
•Know that your toddler is always observing you
•Use language that the child understands in all ways (implied vs. verbal especially)
•Be patient and make time in your schedule for mistakes, imperfection, tries and retries, falls, spills, tantrums etc…
>Answer to participant question: Perhaps your dinner menu will change to some things more quickly prepared while your toddler is asking for help regulating behavior…
•Have or find reinforcing support and remember that families are the most important teachers all throughout childhood. It is tempting to let a toddler spend more time at school or with others when they are going through a rough time….
•Decide ahead of time what boundaries are important in your family and why….
*Have fun. What has happened to your baby is that they have grown up a little bit. Celebrate!*
Each of these points can be, should be, have been elaborated upon and are worth taking some time to ponder on our own.