Most of us know that we are the most important person in our toddler’s life. We’re the ones responsible for ensuring their development is on track. There are lots of things to keep an eye on when it comes to our little ones. We need to know they are growing at the right pace, and that their weight is right. We also need to check they are meeting those developmental milestones. Things like potty training, walking, talking, and eating is on our minds. Fortunately, we’re not alone in all this. There are plenty of resources to help us get through it. And there are dozens of great toys to make life fun as they grow.
Gross Motor Skills
Toddlers are called toddlers because they haven’t yet refined their gross motor skills. They can't yet create that smooth, reliable walking action. There will be plenty of times they stumble and bump. This usually results in a few tears, but it’s rare they are genuinely hurt. After all, they still have the padding of their diaper to protect their backsides! If your child hasn’t yet mastered the art of walking or running, don’t fret.
Kids of this age are still not quite all in proportion to be well balanced for walking. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help the build the strength and balance they need. You can review some baby and toddler activity toys at www.thesmartconsumer.com that may be useful. Over time their legs will lengthen and they won’t be quite so top heavy. But for now, why not take lots of short walks? Toddler shoes rather than pram shoes are essential to protect their feet. Hold hands, and use a backpack harness so you can always be in contact with your child.
There will always be those two-year-olds that are zooming about on scooters and climbing the slide at the play park. Yours doesn’t have to reach that stage yet, so take your time. Provide a couple of ride-on toys that can help build their confidence. You can play games like fetch with their toys to encourage them to move about too. Your doctor or nursery nurse will be able to identify if there are any problems physically.
Fine Motor Skills
Some children are very good at seeing and picking up the tiniest objects on the floor. Playing with pretend sets of teacups or food helps them master the fine motor skills they will need. Let them have crayons and pencils for coloring in. You can also encourage them to try drawing shapes like zigzags, circles, and squares. Sticker books can provide hours of fun that will help refine those fine motor skills too.
Threading beads are something three-year-olds can really enjoy as an activity. However, your toddler could be just as happy popping large beads onto shoe laces. Popping shapes into the correct hole is another activity that helps a small child practice handling things. Pouring water from one container to another in the bathtub is also good for improving hand-eye coordination.
Toddlerhood is a tough time for any child and their parent too. Naps may be less frequent now. Some toddlers grow out of them all together. This means you lose those couple of hours of rest. And your toddler can get really tired long before their evening meal. This is one of the reasons toddlers can have tantrums. But they are also pushing their boundaries with you to see how much they can get away with. Be consistent, and they will soon learn what behaviors are unacceptable.
Numbers and letters of the alphabet will start to fascinate your little one. Singing songs to help them remember the order can be really good for a toddler. There are lots of toys that help with counting and sounding out the alphabet too. Some are apps for your tablet, others are standalone toys for your child to play with. The noisy ones are the best for your child to improve their speech with as well.
Your toddler will be changing every month. Some are ready for potty training, and others won’t be ready until they are past their 3rd birthday. Their physical proportions will change a lot, leaving the baby shape behind and becoming more like a little boy or girl. Walking will become more refined each day, and soon they’ll be running faster than you! You don’t need to rush and buy bicycles or scooters at this stage. However, they can be helpful in refining those movements all kids will need to perfect.
Because kids grow so fast at this age, it might be best to buy toys that have been preloved. It will save you a lot of money. After all, some kids skip stages, and others just never get on with certain activities while they’re still small enough to do them. If you have concerns they are falling behind some of their peers, buying a toy that helps with those activities can be beneficial.
It can be cheaper and more advantageous to spend time with other children at the park rather than buying lots of new toys. Sometimes, a child will learn more from watching others perform those tasks. A parent can’t provide education and training for everything on their own after all. Now your child has reached toddlerhood, it could be a good idea to arrange more playdates. You can look at http://www.manandbuggy.com/man-buggy/ten-reasons-for-sending-your-child-to-a-nursery if you’re considering a nursery or preschool environment. These places have far more facilities than we could possibly afford at home. And there are lots of other kids doing lots of new things to watch too!
Parents can only do so much. There are plenty of debates about how much a parent should be doing in preparation for formal education. It remains clear that toddlerhood should be a time for play and fun. Your little one may already be showing signs of ability and interest in academic tasks. Perhaps they like manipulating numbers or they're memorizing some words? Are they keen dancers or singers? This is the age for new experiences presented in fun ways. There’s no need to spend a fortune, but toys can often be the best way to learn new skills.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.