There are probably times when you come in from the supermarket, toddler in one hand and bags of shopping in the other when you feel grateful that the television is there to distract your toddler while you unpack the shopping. Although it is well documented that too much TV is bad for any child, don’t beat yourself up about your toddler’s TV watching if it is a short burst once a day and does not become a habit. Try to engage your toddler in conversation about the programme she was watching, so she thinks about what she has seen. Try not to make watching television an activity in itself.
Topics and activities from programmes can be used as “springboards” for other activities – if your child has shown an interest in something she has watched, try and extend that activity or topic into something that you can do together. Many programmes offer good ideas for simple yet effective “make and do” projects, from painting to cooking – try to turn a blind eye to the “mess” factor, and try these out at home. Children are often thrilled if they can manage to make something they’ve seen made on television, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Look at our Recipe section for interesting ideas for cooking for children. If you are feeling ambitious, you could get your toddler to help mixing, sprinkling, stirring or even washing up!
This month your toddler’s vocabulary comes on in leaps and bounds. She can now say many words and will start to pair words up, ‘milk’ will become ‘want milk’ or ‘me hungry’. Keep up that running commentary you’ve been doing since your toddler was a tiny baby. If a friend comes round and you are chatting make sure your toddler is in the room with you, as toddlers learn as much from hearing people speak as they do people speaking to them.
Unfortunately as your toddler starts to be able to communicate with you, she will also become frustrated at not being able to get her point across. She simply cannot find the right words, but wants you to know something. This usually results in a tantrum, or a very red-faced frustrated toddler. Try to listen to your child when she is trying to tell you something and always give her choices; 'do you want to wear your welly boots or your pink shoes?' is better than saying 'what do you want to wear? for example. Read our feature on Toddler Behaviour for hints on dealing with a frustrated toddler. If this frustration tends to turn into a full-blown tantrum, it might also be helpful for you to have a look at our articles on Dealing with Tantrums.