Got yawns? Yeah. We know. Even kids who were champion sleepers up until now are suddenly staying up later than usual, waking up in the middle of the night, or sometimes barely sleeping at all. It’s called sleep regression, and it’s a thing. It might only last a few days, but some children’s mixed-up nighttime routine can last weeks. One theory is that your child is experiencing such an explosion of language development that she is just too excited and talkative to sleep. Separation anxiety and a more clingy behavior can accompany this age and stage. Though every child is different and families manage these challenges in a variety of ways, some experts suggest that just letting your child know you are there can offer the reassurance she needs to feel secure and settled enough to sleep.
During the day, you’ll want to take advantage of your child’s increased ability to acquire new words. By narrating your day and exposing your child to lots of words and phrases, you are helping her brain wire all that new information. At mealtimes, you can make up stories about the food that feature your child. For example, “Once upon a time, there was a sweet little boy named Tommy who discovered a yummy plate of veggies, kidney beans, and quinoa. The quinoa was tan and brown and felt grainy. The pear, spinach, kale, and pea mixture came from a pouch and was green and smooth. And the kidney beans were a reddish brown color and felt squishy in his fingers and mouth. Tommy loved to use his spoon to eat the quinoa and pea mixture. It was easier for him to eat the beans with his fingers. After a few bites, he washed the meal down with three quick sips of milk…1, 2, 3! When Tommy had eaten enough, he asked his mom to take him out of his high chair so he could go play. Mealtime was over. The End!”
You can make up stories about any part of your day or just label and talk about things as you notice them, like their diapers. “It’s time to change that stinky diaper again, kiddo! And you are getting so big, you’ve grown into the Size 4. I’d better order more of those!”
If you are wondering about potty training, it’s good to look for the signs, but know that most children aren’t ready until sometime between ages 2-3. Still, if your child can stay dry for at least two hours, can follow directions, can pull down his or her diapers or training pants down without help, and has begun to tell you when it’s time to go, then maybe it’s time. If you are also ready, that is! It’s a process that you don’t have to rush into.
It’s never too soon to start reinforcing social-emotional skills, such as kindness and sharing with your toddler. Prepare a snack for two and then encourage your child to pick a piece to eat and then ask him to give you a piece. Consider making a batch of Gluten-Free Banana Bread together, letting your toddler help to stir the batter. He will begin to understand the concepts of taking turns and sharing. Thank him for being such a good helper!
Your child can also help out more with other routines. If you put a smidge of Unscented Multipurpose Baby Balm on his skin, you can invite your baby to rub a little on the back of your hands as well. Don’t forget to reinforce those language skills. As you softly rub Unscented Baby Lotion on your baby, say the name of each body part as you rub. Say, “Up and down!” or “Round and round!” so your baby can learn directions and explore his sense of touch.
What other ways can you think of to add words to your toddler’s growing vocabulary and encourage him to learn kindness, sharing, and all-around wholesome goodness? We at Brandless want to hear your ideas!