Kate Woodhams (B.S.)
Family Studies, WMU.
Top 6 Toddler Parenting Issues and Tips
As their infants become toddlers, parents are often faced with new problems and issues to consider to make sure they keep their kids safe and healthy.
1) Nutrition Basics
As your toddler gets off baby food and starts eating more and more regular 'table' food, you can expect his diet to look just like the rest of the family's diet. That means three meals a day and a couple of healthy snacks.
The typical toddler will likely get:
• 16-24 ounces of whole cow's milk each day, although this isn't necessary if your toddler is still nursing 2-3 times a day. Avoid low fat milk until your toddler is at least two years old.
• no more than 4-6 ounces of 100% fruit juice each day.
• on average, 6 servings of grains, 2-3 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruits, and 2 servings of 'protein' foods, like meat, fish, chicken, or legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
2) Picky Eaters
Many parents would characterize the typical toddler as being a picky eater. Keep in mind that even if your toddler is a picky eater, if he is growing normally and is physically active, with a lot of energy, then his diet is probably okay.
Parents of picky eaters should remember that:
• the typical serving size for a toddler is about 1/4 of what an adult size serving would be, so you would only expect a toddler to eat 1/4 of a slice of bread, 1-2 tablespoons of vegetables, or 1 ounce of meat.
• if your toddler is drinking too much milk and/or juice, she may be too full to eat, so follow the typical recommendations of 16-24 ounces of milk and 4-6 ounces of juice.
• most toddlers like to feed themselves, so give them lots of chances.
• toddlers will often want to try what their parents are eating and that is a good opportunity to get them to try some new foods, although you may have to offer it several times before they even think of trying it.
Although your home should be childproofed by now, you have to be even more careful now as your toddler gets more mobile.
To keep your toddler safe, you should:
• according to the latest car seat guidelines, toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat (infant-only rear facing car seat or rear-facing convertible car seat) until they are two years old or until they have reached the weight and height limits of their car seat. Although this means that some larger infants and toddlers might have to graduate to a rear-facing convertible car seat, there are several models of infant only seats with higher, 30 to 35 pound weight limits that should get you to the next car seat safety milestone.
• in addition to having covers on electrical outlets, latches on cabinets, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, etc., you should also be sure to remove climbing hazards from your home. It is also a good idea to use wall anchors to keep large appliances and furniture from tipping over if your child climbs on them. And place childproof covers on door knobs to make sure that your toddler can't get out of the house on his own or into rooms that aren't childproofed.
4) Potty Training
Some toddlers are ready to begin potty training as early as eighteen months, while others don't begin until they are two years old or older. And while there are many different potty training methods, one thing is clear - starting too early or pushing your child to become potty trained when they aren't ready doesn't work. So develop a plan on how you want to potty train your child and then wait for signs of readiness.
5) Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums are another universal part of the life a toddler, since they can get frustrated easily and can't express what they need or want very well. But while they are something that is to be expected, that doesn't mean that you can't take steps to try and make them happen less often. Most importantly:
• try to anticipate tantrums, distract your child before one erupts, and keep in mind that most toddlers can't be easily calmed down once a tantrum starts, although you should pick up your child is you think they will hurt themselves.
• don't give in to tantrums
6) Speech Delays
Most toddler who aren't talking 'well' aren't really delayed. They may not be talking as much as their parents want or expect them too, but that can still be normal. Before labeling your child's speech as delayed, consider that most toddlers:
• begin to say Mama and Dada between 7 and 15 months
• say 4-6 words between 11 and 22 months
• say 50 or more words between 18 and 27 months