Toddlerhood can be an exciting journey; your little one becomes more active and is now communicating their needs more clearly, leading to some memorable and fun interactions between parent and child.

Talk to your baby and encourage her to interact with you; soon enough she’ll show an interest in what you are telling her.

Getting Started

Toddlers learn through play and require a stimulating environment. Make sure any daycare you choose offers enough indoor and outdoor space for children to play safely in both, with a well-equipped kitchen that meets food safety standards, childproof cabinets, etc. Ask the director what sort of curriculum the program uses to encourage hands-on activities that encourage learning – such as stacking objects or counting toys for example – plus literacy development by reading stories to themselves or others.

Toddlers can be sensitive and lack object permanence; therefore, they may become distressed upon first entering child care. To ease any initial upset or anxiety associated with leaving them at daycare, consider sending them in part-time for the first week or so and gradually increasing attendance each subsequent week.

When leaving them at childcare, make sure you say your goodbyes in an amicable and loving manner. Remain firm yet confident, and don’t linger longer than necessary – which could confuse or disorient them. If they cling to you too tightly, give a hug and remind them you’ll be back soon.

Prior to sending your child off to daycare or school, be sure to give them a healthy snack that can help them focus more on learning than their hunger. Aim for high-protein items like cheese sticks, pretzels, or graham crackers as well as low-fat snacks such as yogurt, fruit or milk as a meal option.

If you have multiple toddlers, setting a consistent sleeping and feeding schedule can help them know what to expect when they come home or attend childcare, which will reduce stress levels and lower the number of meltdowns.

Getting a Routine

Toddlers in particular tend to thrive best with routines and clear expectations for daily activities and expectations, as this gives them greater control of what happens to them and prevents impulsive acts like acting out or resisting.

Establishing routines with toddlers requires getting everyone on board. Visual reminders such as charts that visually display routines and family rules can help toddlers understand and remember what’s expected of them, while frequent reminders both verbally and visually may also prove useful – for instance if your toddler struggles to wash his hands before eating, hang a chart near the sink that details all steps necessary for this task.

Creating a weekly schedule can be beneficial to toddlers as well. While every day won’t look exactly alike, having an idea of what to expect can reduce anxiety and make the transition between activities simpler. For instance, if your toddler attends library story hour one day and gymnastics class the next, try scheduling these activities prior to or after lunchtime.

If your toddler is still napping, try setting aside the same time each day for naptime. This can help them settle more easily before going to sleep and can make transitioning back into play when they wake up easier as their mind will already be set for playback.

Toddlers need something to keep themselves occupied, yet can easily become distracted by toys, games and snacks around them. Achieving this requires keeping some “busy bags” with age-appropriate activities and tools – such as stickers, colored markers/crayons/pencils/books/puzzles/small toy cars/play dough etc – at hand for quick distraction.

Getting Organized

Caring for toddlers is a busy job that can quickly become disorganized. One way to combat this is by creating routines and procedures that will help the caregiver remain on track; such as setting up systems for checking in and leaving messages; as well as for making copies, keeping records, distributing materials, etc.

Key steps should include opening lines of communication with families and providing an avenue for them to leave daily notes about their children’s eating, sleeping, diapering/toileting needs and play. Presenting this information at pickup and drop-off times ensures effective communication with families as well as providing parents with all of the essential details if they cannot meet with child care during the day.

Create an environment that supports movement at all developmental stages for infants and toddlers. Avoid restrictive devices, like swings and bouncy seats, which limit natural rolling, scooting and climbing skills. Arranging furniture in such a way as to encourage group activities, and learning communities can help ensure safety for the children.

Make life simpler when caring for toddlers by creating an efficient classification system to keep track of materials and supplies. A color-coded system for towels and pacifier alternatives can reduce how often they get misplaced and help caregivers quickly locate specific items when necessary. Classifying toothbrushes, combs, and bedding into different groups will reduce confusion among children as they search for these essential items – ultimately increasing productivity overall! Early lessons about organizing can teach young ones the value of organization!

Staying Healthy

Your children need you to help them stay healthy, including providing them with a balanced diet, enough sleep, stress management, exercising regularly and laughing together. Furthermore, their skin should remain moisturized in winter when skin dries out more quickly.

Parents’ primary goal should be ensuring the wellbeing of their children. This may mean childproofing the home and making sure your kids wear appropriate protective equipment when engaging in certain activities such as sports.

Make it a priority to get your children involved in activities they enjoy, even if this means trying a sport before committing. Even if they decide it’s not for them, make sure they get regular physical exercise!

Your children should visit their physician regularly for well-check visits and vaccinations. These visits provide an ideal chance to discuss any concerns with their healthcare team as well as receive vaccines that could prevent serious illnesses in future.

Teaching your children the proper technique of handwashing can make a substantial impact in keeping them healthy and happy. Regular and proper handwashing are simple yet effective ways to protect against germs entering their bodies, along with covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing and using elbow sneeze instead of hands when possible – teaching this information early can make all the difference for their overall well-being. Showing them these methods could make an enormous difference in maintaining overall wellness for years to come!

Getting Help

Toddler care can be challenging, particularly as they adjust to walking and using their fingers independently. To assist your toddler’s success, offer plenty of tactile opportunities such as textured toys, Play-Doh or other doughs, finger paints and household items which can be stacked, piled or filled and then empties such as plastic cups and plates or stack of soda bottles (such as stackable plastic cups or empty soda bottles). Also encourage their imagination by providing kid-friendly cabinets filled with blocks, dress-up clothes and housekeeping items like sponges and brushes that encourage tactile exploration and provide ample opportunities for sensory development.

Toddlers are developing skills such as sorting objects by color and shape, recalling events from their lives, communicating with others in their environment, and understanding more of themselves through play. Caregivers need to recognize these changes and support them; one strategy would be giving children opportunities to explore parts of their environment that most people overlook such as bugs, rocks, twigs parked cars opening and closing, doors opening/closing doors or the colors on store signs/buildings in their environment.

Infants and toddlers depend on positive interactions between themselves and their caregivers for optimal development. Children often pick up on negative or stressful interactions between adults, so quality child care means finding caregivers who understand the developmental needs of infants and toddlers as well as guidelines specific to caring for young children (low ratio and giving relationships enough time to develop). For assistance in finding quality child care visit Arizona’s Quality First or contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency for help finding licensed, prescreened caregivers.