A child between the age of 12-36 months is called a toddler. Toddler comes from the word “to toddle” which means unsteady walking like children this age usually do. But this age is also meant to be great for cognitive, social and emotional development.
Whatever your toddler learns in this time period, he/she will continue doing it forever. Hence, it is a great time to start instilling good habits that you want your child to practise for the rest of their lives.
Some of them could be:
Washing hands: Children will wash their hands if dirt is obvious, like mud or finger paint. They will need to be reminded to wash away germs that can’t be seen.
Brushing their teeth: Make sure your child learns how to brush teeth in the proper manner and ensure they do it twice a day. Use a fun/colourful toothbrush or toothpaste to make it interesting and fun. Talk to them about why clean teeth are important.
Using the toilet: When you feel it’s the right time to potty train your child. Your child will usually take it well and learn quickly. Use reinforcers for every time they do it right!
Maintaining hygiene: Some children hate water and some love it. Either way, taking a bath is essential. Use toys, calm music or sing rhymes with each other to make it enjoyable! Encourage your child to keep their play area and toys clean. Make sure he/she participates in tidying and cleaning.
Physical Activity: Take your child outside to play for at least an hour a day. Encourage physical activity as much as possible. Play along with your child to make it more fun. It could be anything like bike riding, jumping, catch and throw, obstacle courses in the park etc.
Good Manners: Children imitate from an early age. Be careful about what you do. Teach them how to greet people, thank others, turn taking, apologising etc.
Appropriate behaviour: Children are bound to throw tantrums and create chaos sometimes. Be gentle and create flexible discipline at home. But remember, consistency is key! A proper structure will help discipline.
Remember! Children learn by observing. Here are some tips.
Lead by example. Make sure to practice what you preach.
Be patient. It takes time for children to get into the habit. Make sure to give help when needed.
Remind as often as needed. Children will need to be reminded. It must become a part of their routine.
Also – Set limits. Say NO! and be firm. Establish and enforce rules.