Congratulations, parents! You finally have your little bunny with you. These first two years of your toddler’s life are going to be so exciting.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to give your child the very best start in life. You’ll likely find yourself poring over parenting books and asking for advice from friends and family.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising a toddler, some general tips and strategies can help you care for your child during these early years. By prioritizing your toddler’s health, safety, and emotional well-being, you can help set the stage for a lifetime of happiness and success.
So, let’s dive in and explore some practical tips for caring for your toddler in their first two years!
Take Your Pediatrician’s Visits Seriously
Your first check-up wasn’t (and shouldn’t be) your last check-up. Regular pediatrician visits are a critical part of your toddler’s care. These visits are not just about getting vaccinations or treating an illness. During these visits, your pediatrician will examine your child’s physical development and monitor their progress. They may also discuss nutrition, safety, and behavioral concerns with you.
More importantly, they can also identify potential health issues like cerebral palsy. In case of diagnosis, you can file a cerebral palsy lawsuit to receive compensation that can help fund your child’s necessary medical treatments.
Create a Safe & Nurturing Environment
Toddlers are curious and adventurous. They want to check what’s under the bed, what mommy is hiding in her cabinet, or what’s that socket hole for. They want to explore. And when they don’t get what they want, they’d conveniently fall with a thud and bang their heads on the floor. So, you don’t have an option but to childproof the surroundings.
Use gates to create a safe space where your toddler can play and roam around without getting into trouble. If you have stairs, the gates should be on both ends.
Cover exposed outlets using plastic plug covers. Keep small objects, like coins and buttons, out of reach from your toddler. You should also remove any sharp objects or glass items that could be dangerous if your toddler were to grab them. And, of course, mop the floors to keep the germs at bay.
Develop a Schedule & Routines
You need to tell your little human that you drive the show. Establishing a schedule and routines can help your toddler learn expectations, build confidence, and improve overall behavior. And no, it’s never too early. You can start introducing a schedule as soon as your toddler is eight weeks old.
Start with the basics like:
- Meal times: sit your toddler for meals at the same time every day
- Nap times: create a sleep routine and stick to it
- Playtime: dedicate some time each day for play and exploration
- Bath times: have a regular bath time so your toddler can get used to it
The best way to ensure your toddler sticks to the schedule is by offering rewards and praise for good behaviors. How about a dance party after they brush their teeth?
Know What the Diaper is Trying to Tell You
Your toddler may not be verbal yet, but their diaper can provide valuable insight into their health. Pay attention to your toddler’s diaper and any color, texture, frequency, or odor changes.
For example, if your child has yellowish-green stools, it could mean they have an infection. If the stool is hard and dry, they need more fiber. And if the diaper has a strong smell, your toddler may be dehydrated.
There are also some good signs. An overly wet diaper means they’re getting enough fluids. A light-colored diaper suggests their gut is healthy.
Ideally, a toddler should have three to four wet diapers and one or two stools daily.
Feed Them the Right Foods
Nutrition is key to your toddler’s growth and development. A balanced diet will help them grow strong bones, maintain a healthy body weight, and optimize brain function.
During the first six months, they’ll depend on breastmilk or formula for their nutritional needs.
If you’re breastfeeding, you must eat healthy foods like lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Fenugreek seeds, garlic, and oatmeal are great for increasing milk supply.
Once your toddler is six months old, you can introduce solid foods like pureed vegetables, mashed fruits, legumes, and grains. Gradually introduce different flavors and textures. Avoid processed foods as they’re high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
It’s also important to keep your toddler hydrated. Offer water or diluted fruit juice throughout the day.
Encourage Physical Activity
Only because your child is a tiny sack of cuteness doesn’t mean they don’t need physical activity. Start with tummy times to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles. Encourage them to move around independently as soon as they can walk. Give them toys that require standing or walking.
You can also take your toddler out for walks or spend time with them in the park. It will allow them to explore their natural environment and learn different skills. Let them play on the swings, slide down the slides, or watch other kids play. It will allow them to practice physical skills like crawling, balance, and coordination.
Swimming is also a great activity for toddlers. Even if your toddler cannot swim yet, it’s a great way to introduce them to the water and help them learn to be comfortable in it.
Give Them Lots of Love
Your toddler needs plenty of hugs, cuddles, and kisses. Affection is essential for a toddler’s emotional development. Comforting your toddler when they get hurt, scared, or overwhelmed can help them learn to regulate their emotions.
Show them that you love and support them by speaking softly, smiling at them often, and making eye contact when talking to them. You can also praise them when they do something good and provide positive reinforcement.
Remember that toddlers are still learning, so be patient. Try to encourage them instead of punishing them for any mistakes.
Caring for a toddler in their first two years is not a cakewalk. But it’s not rocket science, either. Following these tips can help you make the job a little easier and ensure your toddler grows up healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. All you need is patience, understanding, and lots of love.
And don’t forget to take a few moments out of your day to just enjoy your little one! They’ll be older, and you won’t even realize it.
Good luck and happy parenting!
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