When Does My Baby Stop Being My Baby?
Well according to Wikipedia once your child reaches one they are officially a toddler and this label will stick with them until their third birthday. In reality this progression is a slow and steady one and not simply a line in the sand that can be drawn on their birthday.
As you watch your baby grow and learn new skills you will recognise how each day they are becoming a little more capable and independent. This process begins when they hold their head on their own and won’t end until they fly the nest (even then they may require your help with the washing machine).
Watching your baby develop can be an emotional experience, when they achieve a new milestone you will undoubtedly be full of pride but it is perfectly natural to feel a tinge of sadness too, many mothers feel as if their baby needs them less as they go into toddlerhood which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Toddlerhood is a time of great change for your child especially in their cognitive, social and emotional development. As a parent you are a key factor in guiding this process and helping them through their toddler journey.
The irony is that you probably only just got used to having a baby and now all of a sudden you have to deal with a new creature entirely. Every child develops at a different pace so how do you know when your child has entered toddlerhood?
1) They toddle
Many parents see their child differently once they can walk (or toddle) on their own. They simply look more grown up when on two feet. When babies start to walk can range from 8 -16 months, sometimes even a little later. Some babies crawl and then cruise before they walk others just pick themselves up one day and get on with it. The important thing to remember is that every child is different and yours will develop at the pace that is right for them. Giving your big baby lots of opportunity to practice their growing motor skills and activities such as baby yoga can strengthen their muscles and help build their physical confidence. Find out more about baby yoga HERE.
2) They bruise
The inevitable side effect of a toddler on the move is they will fall down, cuts and bruises will be a normal part of the process. Don’t worry too much, toddlers are a resilient bunch, invest in a good stair gate, take sensible precautions with hot drinks, cooking and big steps and they shouldn’t get into too much bother! Oh and grow eyes in the back of your head! Taking them to places where they have the opportunity to explore in their own way, such as a class especially designed for toddlers, can help you feel more comfortable as your little adventurer develops.
3) They babble
There are massive changes that occur in the two years of toddlerhood and one area that this change is extremely pronounced in is speech. Between the ages of one and three your child will have learnt around 200 words and will be able to put them into sentences for you. Not every word is necessarily coherent but as a parent or caregiver you will learn their own unique ways of communicating. One way to help you and your child through this learning process is to teach baby sign language (don’t be distracted by the name it's extremely valuable during the toddler year when speech is emerging). It is a tool to support communication which eases stress for both of you and actually empowers your child to converse, eventually aiding speech development. Find out more about baby sign language HERE.
4) They squabble
This one you will notice especially if you have older sibling’s in the house. One important thing to understand about toddlers is that everything belongs to them whether it belongs to someone else or not! A baby will not batter an eyelid when a toy or shiny object is taken away they will be easily distracted by something else equally fascinating. A toddler on the other hand will become fixated on particular things and will not want to share. The way that toddlers learn about sharing is through experiences. Taking your child to groups where they have to interact with others will help them learn these social rules and prepare them for the future.
5) They cling
The more your child learns about the world the more they realise it can be a scary place. Initially babies are only startled by loud noises or the sense of falling but you will notice as they move into toddlerhood they find more reasons to be frightened. It might be the letterbox, a man with a beard or the neighbour’s dog, whatever it is these new experiences can be overwhelming and they will fall back on the people they know will keep them safe; you. So even though your little one might seem so grown up remember they need you now as much as ever. Once again giving them as many opportunities to explore their surroundings in a safe environment will help them to overcome these fears and see the world through excited and not fearful eyes.
How can Tots Play help Toddlers?
Both our Discovery Tots and Social Tots classes support your child’s journey into toddlerhood. Although the Discovery Tots is for younger babies (the class is designed for 8 weeks to early walkers) it is the perfect preparation for the transition. Social Tots is specifically designed for those already entering and embracing the toddler phase with children ranging from around 8 months – 3 years attending. At both classes your little one will explore their senses, use their whole bodies and enjoy social interaction appropriate to their age and stage of development.
Come and Join Us!
Find out where your nearest Tots Play class is HERE or alternatively discover how you can help your baby develop into a toddler in your own home with the various activity guides and resources we have available.
And don't worry, your baby will always be your baby - no matter how grown up they get!
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