Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh
Toddlers totally have a mind of their own, which is probably something you’ve figured out by now. You may also notice that they understand everything you say, even if they’re still speaking their own gibberish language. And while they’re more than happy to, say, come to you for a snack or play a game, they’ll likely run the other way when you say it’s bedtime. (Expect that to last for the next six or seven years.)
16-month-old development & milestones
Sharing is caring
Egocentric little toddlers don’t usually like to share. Shocking, right? But it’s a good idea to start teaching these important skills as early as you can before their “mine” attitude gets out of hand. You can start the conversation by being a role model (practise sharing and taking turns with them), using descriptive praise when they share (“Did you see Amber’s smile when you shared your doll with her?”) and—hot tip—using the timer on your phone (when it rings, have them pass the toy they’re playing with to their little buddy).
Who’s guilty of sounding like an itty-bitty baby when talking to their toddler? It turns out that “parentese,” which means talking to wee ones using both adult language and baby talk, isn’t doing your kid any favours. They’re at the stage where they’re learning how to build a vocabulary. Words like “num-num” may sound adorable to you, but remember, itty-bitty ears are listening.
We’re going to be honest: Dinnertime (and breakfast and lunch) can be a real pain in the rear when you’ve got a fussy eater on your hands. Toddlers are very temperamental when it comes to meals, and their eating habits can change at the drop of a hat (seriously, anything from getting sick to changing their routine to trying to assert their independence can squash their appetites). If your kid starts a hunger strike by refusing to eat or not showing interest in food, don’t worry too much—this behaviour normally lasts a few days. Read on to find out how to handle it.
The young and the rigid
The surprising upside to your kid’s brutal temper tantrums
Toddlers like stability—hard stop. They are all about predictable schedules and require plenty of warning before transitions and changes to routines. It’s helpful if you can keep their naps and mealtimes the same, but that doesn’t mean you should always be tied to their timetables. Don’t worry if they get upset, cry or have tantrums when you’ve modified their day—there are ways to deal with that.
Your life after baby
Do you ever regret being a parent?
Most parents have had those moments when they wish they were still young and free without the worries of parenthood and adulthood—times when they didn’t have mortgages, had disposable incomes and didn’t have anyone to worry about other than themselves. Don’t feel guilty—managing life with a little one and getting used to being someone’s parent takes time. This mom talks about her experience—you might just find you have a few things in common.
If you adore your in-laws, consider yourself lucky. Not everyone has such a great relationship with their partner’s family. If they live far away (yay!) and come to stay with you (ugh), there are ways you can handle the situation without causing more friction. One biggie? Get over them feeding your kid cake for breakfast—a weekend of junk food isn’t the end of the world.
Stuff no one tells you
Got a kid who’s climbing out of their crib? Tots this age risk hurting themselves when they get out of bed by slipping, falling or banging their heads. Experts suggest using a properly sized sleep sack, which can make it harder for kids to climb out, and putting a rug, pillows or a soft mat beside the crib in case they fall. Of course, the mattress should also be at its lowest setting (from the time your baby can stand). If the bedrooms are on the second floor of your home, it’s a good time to put a gate at the top of your stairs, if you haven’t already. You might also start thinking about moving them into a big-kid bed, but don’t feel like you have to switch the minute they get a leg up there. Most toddlers are between two and three when it makes the most sense to move them.
Take to the skies
That first vacation with your child takes planning and patience and, hey, some expert tips never hurt anyone. If you’re about to embark on a plane ride with your toddler, we can help. Here are five must-dos before you travel.
- For long flights, book the red-eye or take-off post-bedtime so there’s a better chance they’ll pass out.
- Put an extra shirt and wipes in your carry-on in case things get messy when you’re changing diapers in that tiny bathroom.
- Stock up on lots of activities (the dollar store is a great place for cheap colouring books, games and paper and crayons).
- Consider breaking your no-screen-time rules for this worthy exception by bringing a tablet or DVD player with age-appropriate shows.
- After the flight attendants have finished with drink and food service, let your kid stretch their legs and walk up and down the aisle.
Just for fun
Conquer cabin fever
Rainy days and crappy weather call for creative ways to make the most of indoor play. We got you. Find six ridiculously easy things you can do right this second with littles. (Sock toss, anyone?)
Take a load off and have a giggle on us with our “This is my life” comic. Our favourite playground parents? Oblivious phone dad, caught-in-the-slide dad and annoyingly hot mom.
Your toddler: 17 months old
Toddler sleep: All your questions answered