This post has been sponsored by Signature Care diapers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
While you’re in the thick of baby rearing, it can be so hard to look ahead to the great joys of raising a toddler. We’ve all heard the stories about the “Terrible Twos”. We’ve all been witness to a full-blown toddler temper-tantrum, I’m sure. Yes, 2 year-olds get a “bad rap” as being challenging to parents. There’s the constant busyness, the mess of toys and yikes, the limited vocabulary! But it’s all in your perspective as a parent and I think that two is a fantastic age. There are definitely unexpected and often overlooked joys of raising a toddler.
Moving from Baby to Toddler
Let’s say you’re just coming out of the baby stage. Your baby has finally stopped the projectile spit-up. She’s sleeping longer than 13 minutes at a stretch. Or he’s finally entertained long enough trying to yank off his sock to allow you to use the bathroom!
And then just like that, your baby is a toddler! She’s cruising around the furniture and taking her first steps. He’s trying to use a fork and spoon. She’s chattering away, and you start to actually understand some of the words! He’s playing with a toy instead of just stuffing it in his mouth.
So much is still the same as when they were a baby; your toddler is still wearing diapers, can’t be left alone and still have lots of attachment to mom and dad (thank goodness!) But then, so much else changes quickly as your toddler learns how to play alone and follow simple directions. It’s all a move towards independence. Which can sometimes also include the frustrations of learning new skills. And yes, those dreaded temper tantrums!
Raising a Toddler
You might be in-between wanting to have a happy toddler to just needing to know how to make a toddler behave. Parenting toddlers is a daily roller coaster of emotions, for both parents and little ones!
But with the frustration comes incredible joy. Your baby will develop her own personality as she develops and toddlerhood is a wonderful time for learning, exploring and growing together as a parent and child. Here are some of the sweetest things to look forward to with raising a toddler!
1. Learning How to Play Independently
This is one of the best parts of your baby growing into a toddler; they can finally sit alone for a few minutes without needing you to provide the entertainment! When given their own quiet time away from television and other distractions, toddlers will play alone with their toys and books.
2. More Engagement
No longer does your little one sit and stare blankly at you when you talk. Now he’s able to understand many words, even if he’s not yet speaking them out loud. This also means he can follow simple directions that include one or two steps. Try making requests of your toddler, like asking him to bring you a book.
3. Distraction Can Diffuse
While it can be hard to calm a crying baby outside of feeding them and making sure their diaper is dry, getting a toddler to settle down quickly may be easier with this trick. Effectively using distraction can transition a toddler from tantrum to giggles. When my toddler is fussing about bedtime, I’ll ask, “Did you hear that?” and she’ll stop whining to listen to the dog barking outside. This segues into a story about how the dog is barking to tell her it’s bedtime and that she’s keeping him awake with her fussing! Come up with creative distraction techniques that you can implement quickly when a fit is imminent.
4. Improved Memory
This summer we went on several trips with my just-turned-two-year-old. Surprisingly in the months since, she has recalled small details of our vacations, including flying on the airplane, who she sat next to on certain theme park rides, the swimming pool at the hotel and even the ice cream cone she ate! I love that toddlers can remember and recall. Thinking back on favorite memories is one of the bedtime activities my toddler and I have when settling in for the night.
5. An Expanded Mealtime Palate
One day your toddler can’t get enough of broccoli and the next day, she throws it off the plate! While your toddler may still prove picky when it comes to certain foods, he’ll also be expanding his menu to include more diverse options. Consider adding something new to his plate every few days and see if he likes it. The tiniest little taste will do, no need to go overboard. At this age, toddlers enjoy feeding themselves although they aren’t very coordinated with their delivery. Toddlers will also go back and forth between utensils and using their fingers, which is totally okay. Continue to offer toddler-sized utensils and relax on the mess.
6. Playing Games
Don’t pull out the board games just yet. Game play is another fun thing that toddlers can start learning how to do but you’ll have to keep the rules very basic for now. A “memory match” game can be used but instead of following traditional rules, try having your toddler just pair up the matches. Simple “finger songs” like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Itsy-Bitsy Spider improve fine motor skills and memory. And the toddler favorite, Hide & Go Seek is an easy one to play safely inside the house.
7. The Silliest Sense of Humor
There is nothing like the giggles from a toddler! Seriously, toddlers have a great sense of humor and the sillier the better. This is why you can be a total goof-ball with your toddler and they’ll only love you the more for it! You’ll also start noticing that your toddler will try making you laugh as well. My daughter just learned how to roll her eyes back and fake sleep; naturally, she keeps doing it because she knows it cracks me up! And of course, running away from me when I’m trying to take her photograph!
8. Fine-Motor Skills Means New Play Ideas
Finger pinching and grasp improve as your child moves from baby to toddler. Encourage these fine motor skills by offering crayons and paper to color with and child’s play dough or non-toxic clay to squish and mold. You’ll still need to watch your toddler closely as many kids will still put items in their mouth; my daughter will tell me flatly, “No eating clay” and then pop it into her mouth!
9. Toddlers Have an Opinion…And That’s NOT a Bad Thing!
Toddlers start having very strong opinions on what they like and what they want. And they don’t have a problem telling you that you’re doing it ALL WRONG! Wailing, screaming, crying and all out tantrums are often the way that toddlers express themselves when they can’t find the right words. Giving your toddlers choices can help with these frustrations. They give your toddler some choice but still keep you in charge.
Offer your toddler an opinion on their choice of two things, pre-chosen by you. You don’t want to give them the entire closet of clothes to choose from, so just pull out two outfits and let them decide between them. Try letting your toddler choose whether they want a ham or turkey sandwich, which book they want to read or whether they want to go right or left down the street when you take a walk.
10. Celebrating New Skills
My just-turned 2-year-old toddler is rounding the corner towards potty training but for now, she’s still in diapers. My daughter is the fourth child I’m going to be potty training, so I know from experience with my other kids that she’s just not quite ready yet. The signs for complete toilet training aren’t there. But no pressure, I know that it’s not worth it to push and diapers are just fine until she’s ready for the potty.
I recently had the chance to trydiapers on my daughter. While Signature Care is all about value, they have not sacrificed quality. Signature Care diapers have a cotton enhanced dryness layer and are breathable to help keep my toddler dry and comfortable. And because we know how much toddlers love to have their diapers checked, there’s a quick way to see right away if it’s time for a change. A wetness indicator changes color to blue so you’ll know with a glance!
Signature Care diapers also offer excellent leakage protection (up to 12 hours), so they’re ideal for bedtime use with toddlers who are sleeping through the night. No more having to change sheets in the middle of the night after a diaper leak! Signature Care offers a 100% money-back guarantee and you can request a and coupon to try them out yourself.
11. Craving Movement and Activity
No more baby “tummy time” with your little one just lying there on the floor. With a toddler running around the house, you’re guaranteed to be more active too! I’ve decided to encourage this with my daughter by taking her for walks in the neighborhood out of the stroller where she can stop and pick up sticks and leaves along the way. We also do small projects and activities at home like finger painting, to feed her creative side.
12. Toddlers Love to Help
After so many months as a baby, laying around helpless, toddlers can finally start pulling some weight around the house (just kidding!) But toddlers do love to help so include him in the chores you’re doing. My toddlers have all enjoyed shoving the wet laundry into the dryer. Sing the “Clean Up” song as you tidy their toys and soon enough, they’ll be picking up and singing alongside you.
13. Developing Imagination
Give a baby a doll and she’ll chew on it. Give a toddler a doll and you’ll likely get a different reaction. Some toddlers will talk to their dolls, wrap them up in blankets, pretend to feed them and truly put their imagination into their toys. Give your toddler open-ended toys like blocks to play with and see what they do with their imagination. Watching a toddler’s imagination blossom is one of the best things.
14. Extremely Curious
Oh, I know how annoying it is when your toddler keeps grabbing the same “off-limits” items in the house. My daughter has just learned how to open doorknobs so I’m on high alert to make sure she’s not getting into things that she shouldn’t. However, I know that she’s curious, so I do allow for certain explorations in a well-controlled way. I have drawers in her room with toys and pajamas and I let her dump out all the contents daily. She takes the time to sort through the items and then we clean things up together.
15. Better Coordination
Develop your toddler’s large motor skills with activities that show off their improved coordination. That’s not to say they don’t still trip and fall a lot! If you have a toddler who enjoys jumping, climbing and swinging, set aside time for playground skills that will strengthen their muscles and burn off excess energy. My daughter loves attending an open gym class with other toddlers and preschoolers that allows her to safely run and play.
16. So Much Love
For the first time in your child’s life, you’ll start to feel the love that they have for you. No longer the baby, that just takes and takes, your toddler is starting to recognize their emotions. The first time your toddler wraps his arms around your neck, kisses you on the cheek and says, “Wuv you!”, you’re guaranteed to melt. All those unlimited hugs and kisses alone make toddlerhood something to celebrate!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Signature Care diapers.