How do you prepare for having a toddler?! Oliver is almost two and I feel like I just got done preparing for infancy and baby proofing the house for a crawler. Toddlerhood is a weird age where your child is in a constant state of learning yet still can't properly communicate or do all of the things that they want. It is important, as a parent, to provide an environment that helps foster the new skills that your toddler needs to learn.
There are 4 main areas that your toddler should be developing:
Life Skills, Vocabulary, Hand Eye Coordination, and Potty Training.
I recently went on a shopping spree at The Baby Cubby to get our house ready to help Oliver transition out of infancy and into a thriving kid. Baby Cubby makes me so happy because their store is filled with thoughtfully curated products so you don't have to sift through millions of choices. They spend hundreds of hours finding the right products to make it easier for us moms! It is different from any online store I have shopped at and I wish I had made my baby registry through them. I was able to pick up everything that I wanted to get ready for toddlerhood in one "trip" to the store!
Continue reading to see all of the things that you should have on hand to help your toddler develop in these 4 areas.
1. Teaching Your Toddler Life Skills
Your toddler is watching you very day as you get dressed, brush your teeth, make lunch, start the car, and do every day life skills. When they try to replicate you and realize that they can't it is very easy for them to get frustrated. Most toddler melt downs are caused by frustration that they can't do or communicate something correctly. Imagine as an adult watching everyone put on shoes, not being able to do it yourself, and not being able to properly ask how to learn - we might get angry and throw our shoes at the wall as well!
As early as you can, start teaching your child life skills so they can easily complete tasks when asked. This will help them feel more independent and less frustrated.
These tasks are teaching your child where things go, how to follow instructions, as well as necessary like skills vocabulary like "bring, put, take, and get".
However, in order to properly teach these life skills, you have to set up your home to make them possible. I got these adorable Puj Hanging Hooks from the Baby Cubby to put Oliver's jackets and hats in a place that he can reach them. Now, when I ask him to "hang up" or "bring me his coat", he can because he can reach them. Start thinking about everything you want your toddler to accomplish on their own - can they physically do it? If not, you need to make some changes. Rather than keeping Oliver's shoes in the closet with ours, we put them in the hallway so he can get them when I ask him to. I put his toothbrush and snacks in places that he can reach without any help.
If you want your toddler to learn tasks and life skills, make sure to give them the right tools to do so.
2. Teaching Your Toddler Hand-Eye Coordination
We hear the term hand-eye coordination used a lot in conjuncture with sports, but it is a vital things for your toddler to learn in order to accomplish lots of little tasks. Simple things like stacking blocks, putting shapes into their proper holes, pealing an orange, coloring, and playing with stickers all teach hand-eye coordination. Make sure to have some activities at home to help develop these skills. Oliver loves wooden block puzzles, lining up cars, playing with balls and coloring so those are my current go-tos. During my shopping spree, I found these zero dust chalks by Jaq Jaq at the Baby Cubby. Not only do they give a good alternative to coloring with crayons, but they have a magnetic holder to put the chalk in. This gives your child something larger to grasp on to AND practicing putting the chalk in the holder is FANTASTIC for hand-eye coordination.
When coloring or using chalk with your toddler, work on basic movements like circles or lines as well as coloring in certain sections of a picture (ex. "can you color the nose blue?") to teach vocabulary.
3. Teaching Your Toddler Vocabulary Words
Notably, one of the things toddlers pick up the quickest is vocabulary. However, there are so many ways to help encourage your child to learn even more worlds. BOOKS are so important at this age. And not just picture or story books, but books that have a focus on vocabulary.
I am a huge fan of the Baby Lit series. Each book is based on a different classic piece of literature but focuses on a different vocabulary skill! Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz teach colors, Don Quixote teaches basic nouns (man, bed, etc.) in English and Spanish, Sherlock Holmes teaches sounds, Pride and Prejudice teaches numbers- you get the picture! I also recently found their "All Aboard" series at Baby Cubby that teaches about cities and places around the world. I got Oliver their National Parks book (any Parks and Rec fans out there?!) which I use to teach him about animals and nature words.
Another good source for teaching vocabulary is flash cards. Papery Pier sent us these weather flash cards make from board book materials that I love using. They have plenty of different sets that you can stock up on to enhance vocabulary skills.
4. Teaching Your Toddler to Use the Toilet
I am not going to even pretend to know how to potty training because we have just started, however you do need to start getting your home ready for you little one to start learning. I read in an article that you should have a potty training toilet 3-4 months before starting to potty train so you toddler is accustomed to having it around. I have this Puj easy seat toilet trainer that goes on top of our toilet that I also got from Baby Cubby. A months ago I started letting Oliver sit on it and pretend to wipe to get him use to the idea. You could get a stand alone training toilet but I don't want to deal with cleaning that! You can also start looking at a step stool and a fun hand soap and rags to teach hand washing. I will have an article on potty training as soon as we master it, but for now, it is time to get the necessary tools in place.
In summary - as your baby becomes a toddler, fill your home with things to help them learn and develop skills that will allow them to be independent and well rounded children. Toys, books, and actives that teach rather than just entertain are key as well as giving them the tools to learn life skills like using that bathroom and putting on their shoes.
Now that your home is ready for your growing child, feel free to go look at their infant pictures and cry a little bit!
You May Also Like:
I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.