Toddler care— just two little words that summarize simply what many of us spend much of the day, everyday, doing. Toddlers don’t automatically get strong, healthy, confident and beautiful—they need large doses of care, doled out patiently, consistently, and generously by loving parents and caretakers – to get that way.
Toddler care is a big subject, and takes far more than one page to cover fully. Some of the keys on caring for toddlers are:
• Unconditional Love
• Stability and Routine
Several of these topics are covered in detail in other pages, so I’ll just provide a brief run-through here.
• Unconditional Love --- Your toddler needs unconditional love, expressed regularly and consistently, to enable her to be her best. Sure you know you love your child—but does she know that? And does she know that nothing can change that love? That it would be the same full, complete, no hold barred love no matter who she is or what she does? Let your toddler know you love her—really love her.
• Stability and Routine --Toddlers thrive on stability and routine. You may like a bit of mix-up in your daily schedule so you know you’re not in prison; to your toddler, though, predictability is the spice of life. Your toddler has plenty to figure out without trying to figure what happens next in your home life. Make a schedule for your toddler, and then stick to it.
• Discipline - This may not be the most fun of toddler care, but it is an important part nonetheless. Discipline helps your toddler find her place in the world, and gives her the tools she needs to control her feelings, desires, and impulses.
• Nutrition - It’s important that your toddler gets the protein, calcium, and vitamins she needs daily. She also needs plenty of calories to fuel her active life: toddlers should never be on fat free diets. Cook a variety of fresh, healthy foods for your toddler, and make sure her meals are well-spaced so that she is never hungry.
• Sunshine and Fresh Air are important for strong bones and healthy lungs, so make sure your toddler gets regular exercise times outdoors. If it’s too cold in winter in your location for your toddler to get regular outdoor exercise, make sure she is taking vitamin D supplements. In the United States, fresh milk is often fortified with vitamin D, so if your toddler drinks vitamin D milk regularly she may be covered.
• Cleanliness – Keeping those little people clean is an uphill battle; no sooner have you got them washed up then they’re back making mud pies again. But it’s important nevertheless. Help your toddler to get into the habit of washing up before meals and after using the bathroom, and give him long soaking baths several times a week.
• Exercise—Most toddlers love to be active, and if you’re giving your child plenty of outdoor playtime you may not have to worry about this part of toddler care—it’ll come naturally. If you find your toddler is not getting enough exercise, work on limiting screen-time and joining him in fun, active exercise.
If you make mistakes while caring for your child don’t beat yourself up about it—you’re in school here, and everyone in school makes mistakes at some time or other. Just decide that you’ll do better next time. By the time you feel you’ve got it down pat your child will no longer be a toddler, and then you’ll have to learn all about caring for kindergarteners—starting with the basics!