Thumb sucking is one way a young child comforts herself. If you suddenly stop your child from sucking her thumb or fingers, she may have trouble calming herself. Thumb sucking usually disappears on its own, especially if the child is not pressured to give it up.
Sometimes parents pull thumbs and fingers out of their young children’s mouths because they are worried about dental problems. There is little chance of a problem until the child’s permanent teeth erupt at 5 or 6 years of age. Even then, there may be no ill effects from thumb sucking every once in awhile.
If you are worried about your child’s thumb sucking, keep track of how often she sucks and for how long. Take these notes for several days. This record will help you and your doctor or dentist discuss this and decide what to do.
Small children get minor cuts and scrapes often. These happen when children fall, run into things, or step on sharp objects.
- Put shoes on your child when she plays outdoors.
- Close doors to rooms that are not safe and doors that go outside.
- Do not let your child play where there is sharp-edged furniture.
- Do not let your child play where she can climb to high places.
Most children become interested in learning to use the toilet on their own. A potty on the floor that the child can use herself helps her to get started. Give her lots of praise for trying and for every success.
Don’t scold for accidents. Praise efforts to use the toilet. Most children will stop dirtying before they stop wetting their diapers. Most will be able to stay dry during the day before they can stay dry at night. Many children cannot stay dry at night until they are about 3 years old.
Sometimes children seem to be toilet trained and then they start wetting or soiling again. This can happen when the children are upset about some- thing like a new baby in the family, pressure from adults to stay dry or family stress.
Be patient and caring, and praise successes. Sure, you’re eager to be rid of diapers, but if you don’t rush toilet training, there will probably be less stress on everyone. Don’t start toilet training until your toddler shows she wants to use the toilet. Then it should go quickly and smoothly.
Toilet training should not be upsetting to parents or their children. If it is, wait a few weeks and try again.
Has this happened to you yet? You are pushing your grocery cart down the aisle of the supermarket. All of a sudden, your toddler sees a certain brand of cereal. He begins calling out the name of the cereal. He wants you to buy it. You are amazed. You’ve never bought this cereal, and he’s never eaten it. How did he find out about it? He probably learned about it from television.
Toddlers don’t seem to pay much attention to television, but they are often aware of what is happening on the screen. Commercials are very appealing because of the action and the noise. The food most often advertised during children’s television programs is cereal. Some of these cereals are nutritious, others are not. In fact, some of these cereals have more sugar than cereal in them. They are more like candy than cereal.
How can you tell if a cereal is high in sugar? Look for the list of ingredients on the cereal box. They are listed in order of amounts. The first ingredient has the largest amount in the cereal. The last ingredient has the smallest amount in the cereal. If the first ingredient in the list is sugar, there is more sugar in the cereal than anything else. You will want to choose another cereal lower in sugar.
What do you tell your child when you decide not to buy the cereal? Say, “This is not a ‘good-for-you’ cereal. We want to buy a ‘good-for-you’ cereal to help you grow healthy and strong.” Check labels on other cereals and let him choose from the cereals that are low in sugar. If your child is unhappy because you aren’t going to buy the cereal he wants, move away from the cereal display.
Go on and do the rest of your shopping. You can spend time reading cereal labels when you are shopping alone.
Parents can help toddlers learn new words by:
- Repeating the names of things over and over again, using simple words and short sentences. Tell your child what you are doing and what your child is doing. Don’t use baby talk.
- Letting your child get things for you. Name what you want and ask your child to go to other rooms to find it.
- Going for walks and taking along a bag to collect leaves, rocks, flowers, and/or pieces of wood. When you get back home, look at these and name them.
You can play this learning game another way:
- Choose some things she might enjoy feeling, and put them in the bag. Examples would be a smooth rock, a rough rock, a piece of wood, a small stuffed animal, some pieces of cloth, a feather, and so on.
- Be sure the things you put in the bag are not sharp or dangerous.
- Close the top of the bag, leaving a hole just big enough for the child’s hand. Ask your toddler to reach in and find something.
- Ask your child to guess what she is touching – without looking or pulling it out of the bag. If she can’t figure it out let her peek.
- Ask her what she has found and help her learn to say, “I found a rock” or “I found a leaf.”
- You can take turns reaching in the bag and guessing what you’ve found.
- This is a good game for two or three to play together. Your toddler can help you change the game by putting different things in the bag.
- When a child is under 3 years of age, hearing is tested by observing your child’s response to sound and her ability to learn new words.
- When children turn three, they can usually learn how to take hearing screening tests.
- If your child has a hearing test, be patient. He may not understand what to do in order to cooperate fully.
Infants and toddlers frequently have colds that can lead to ear infections. If ear infections are not detected and treated, the toddler may have hearing problems.
- Catching hearing problems early is the key to successful treatment and the prevention of hearing loss. A hearing problem can interfere with the development of normal language and learning.
- Parents can protect their child’s hearing by making sure that infections are treated and hearing is regularly tested by their doctors.