Healthy Kids, Healthy Colorado
Keep your kids healthy with valuable tips and information from experts at Children's Hospital Colorado. Different popular topics are highlighted each month. Sign up now to receive monthly updates.
Join Children's Colorado for our Ask the Experts session on June 14, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Post your questions here.
This month's topic: Toddlers 101
Toddlers are cute, loving, funny and sweet...and sometimes difficult. From tantrums to potty training and bedtime, we as parents want to make sure they are safe and happy. Here are some toddler tips that can help.
Car seat safety
- Infants and children under the age of 1 should be rear-facing in either an infant carrier (check manufacturers guidelines, but these are typically for children weighing less than 20 lbs) or a convertible seat (up to 35 lbs).
- Your child can face forward when he/she is at least 1 year old AND at least 20 lbs (safest if you wait until they are 30 lbs).
- Use a 5-point harness until your child is at least 40 lbs.
- Once your child exceeds weight and height limits for the forward-facing car seat, he or she should move into a booster seat that is used with the rear seat belt.
- In Colorado, children are required by law to be restrained in a booster seat until age 8.
- When your child is 4'9" tall, he or she can start using just the rear seatbelt once it fits properly.
Find more information on choosing the right car seat and booster seat tips.
Sleep and bedtime
- Have a consistent bedtime and soothing activities for 30 minutes before bed.
- Turn off the TV, video games and computers 30 minutes before bed.
- Remind your child that when it's time for sleep, you'll come back to check on him in a few minutes if he stays quiet.
- Praise them when they go to bed and stay in bed.
- If you have an early riser, try to reduce naps or delay bedtime a little later.
See more tips for early risers and how much sleep kids need.
- Not all kids are ready to start potty training at the same age, so it's important to look for signs that your child is ready:
- Do they express the need to go?
- Can they understand words about going potty?
- Have they shown an interest in using the potty?
- Can they get to the potty, sit on it and get off of it?
- Use words to express the act of using the toilet ("pee," "poop," and "potty").
- Ask them to let you know if they are wet or soiled.
- Praise all attempts to use the potty.
- Give your child small rewards, like stickers, each time he or she successfully uses the potty.
- Keep the process upbeat with hugs, smiles and cheer!
Get more tips on toilet teaching your child.
Tantrums and discipline
Consistency and humor can go a long way when it comes to disciplining your toddler and handling tantrums. Toddlers are eager to do things on their own, and sometimes test their boundaries. However, they can't fully communicate their thoughts and feelings and can easily get frustrated. Some tips for dealing with this behavior are:
- Give your child choices when possible. (For example: "Do you want to take a bath now or in 5 minutes?" "Should we have an apple or a banana for our snack?")
- Redirect your child's attention to something else.
- Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior, and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums. Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she's upset.
- When you are talking with your child, bend, kneel, or sit so that you can speak to them eye-to-eye.
- Laugh and have fun with your toddler as much as possible.
Read more about dealing with the terrible twos.
Join us for a FREE Parenting Seminar to talk about toddlers on June 11 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. Register here.
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