Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions from parents. The answers are provided by the team of experts from the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, USA.
Learning colors is a process, and it takes work!
Normally, most children are able to begin learning colors at about 18 months. One of the easiest ways to start them on their color-learning journey is through matching and finding opportunities in your daily life to highlight colors for your child. Eventually, they will start to say color words themselves.
By three years old, most children can name at least one color. Keep in mind that as many as 8% of boys and 0.5% of girls are affected by some form of red-green colorblindness which can vary in severity. If your child persistently gets colors wrong or is very frustrated by color-distinguishing games, it might be a sign of an issue to discuss with your child’s doctor. Generally, children need to be about five years of age before color-blindness can be properly diagnosed. However, some new techniques are making it possible to identify color-blindness in children as young as four.
Just when you think your children are playing together peacefully, chaos erupts seemingly out of nowhere! Promoting healthy relationships between your children is not only important for your short-term sanity, it lays a foundation for lifelong interactions and helps them learn how to mediate emotions with other people in general. Aggressively intervening and taking sides may be your instinct, but it doesn’t teach them the skills they will need. Emotion coaching is the approach I like. Start with recognizing children’s feelings and helping to name them. “ You sound angry , frustrated, sad etc. Then proceed with sharing those emotions. “ Can you tell your sister why?’’ Your role should be one of mediation, not resolution. Think of these fights as opportunities for learning vital skills and try to avoid being the arbiter of justice except in situations where well-established rules have been violated (e.g. hitting, biting, etc).
Learning to eat with utensils is an important transition, and it’s complicated. It requires a fair amount of hand-eye coordination to scoop food with a tool and bring it successfully to a tiny mouth. At around 4 to 6 months, give children one or two spoons to hold when you begin to feed them solids. This helps get them used to the idea of holding a utensil and it keeps their hands occupied. Toddlers can begin feeding themselves with a spoon between 9 to 14 months. Once the spoon is mastered, try a toddler fork. Children can usually start eating with a fork at about 18 months. Knives are really not necessary as toddlers are not expected or capable of cutting their own food — and of course, sharp ones can be dangerous! Remember to choose child-friendly utensils: small and with broad grips for their tiny hands. Keep in mind, as they learn to feed themselves, the messiness only gets worse for a while!
SIDS is a serious concern for a lot of parents. It’s not a disease or illness. It’s when a baby who seems healthy dies in her sleep.
- You are doing the right thing by putting your baby to sleep on her back. Babies under 1 should always be put to sleep on their backs.
- Other things you can do to prevent the risk of SIDS…
- Place your baby to sleep on a ﬁrm mattress or sleep area.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could cover your baby’s face or wrap around her neck out of the crib.
- Use a ﬁtted sheet.
- If your baby falls asleep in her car seat, stroller, or swing, move her to a ﬁrm sleep surface as soon as possible.
Sometimes babies keep crying even after you have tried all the right things.
If you ﬁnd yourself feeling stressed out or angry, it’s okay to put your baby down in his crib and take a moment to calm down.
Take a few deep breaths. Giving yourself a short break can be good for you and your baby.
Did you know?
You can’t spoil a baby in the ﬁrst year of life! Babies don’t know how to calm themselves down yet and they need your help. Picking her up when she cries, and giving her love and attention will help her feel safe. Feeling safe will help her calm down when she’s upset.
Even though there are many programs that say they’re educational for babies, there is actually no proof that watching DVDs is helpful to babies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no TV or movies for children under 2 years old.
Just spending time with your baby is more valuable than anything else. Play with blocks, go for a walk together, or get out some toys. One of the best ways to help your baby learn is by playing and exploring together.
Great start with setting up a safe crib area for your baby! A good next step is to think about what he may be able to reach from inside his crib.
- Are there any cords that could wrap around his neck?
- Could he reach the mobile hanging over his crib?
- Do his crib toys or paciﬁers have strings attached?
- Remove any cords or move his crib away from them. This includes electric cords, drape, blind, and curtain cords.
- For cords staying in his bedroom, tie them so they are no longer than 6 inches and out of his reach. Removing cords and strings from his reach will help keep your baby safe.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests, “ﬁrst visit, by ﬁrst birthday.”
This means that a good time to take your baby for her ﬁrst dentist visit’s when her ﬁrst tooth comes in, usually around 6 to 12 months.
By starting dental care early, you are helping protect her smile for the future.
To help your teething baby feel better…
- Give him something to chew on. Like a ﬁrm rubber teething ring or cold, clean washcloth.
- Gum massage. Find the area where the new tooth is trying to come in, and massage it with your ﬁnger for 2 minutes. Putting pressure on the sore area can make it feel better.
- Stay away from foods that can cause choking. Especially hard foods, like raw carrots.
- Cup feeding. Sometimes babies refuse food when they are teething. If your baby refuses nipple feedings, try using a cup or spoon.
- Worried? Call your doctor. If he still isn’t feeling better and you are worried, or if he gets a high fever, call your doctor or a consulting nurse.
It’s not always easy to ﬁgure out what your baby needs to calm down. It can be helpful to have a few ideas in mind ahead of time if the usual things, like feeding or a diaper change, don’t work.
Cuddling and talking to your baby is a great ﬁrst step. If that doesn’t work, try soothing things like rocking, swaddling, singing, going for a walk or a ride in the car.
- Did you know? *
The brain makes millions of new connections in the ﬁrst year of life. When parents and caregivers are loving and quick to respond, it helps the brain grow in healthy ways that help children do better in the future.
It’s great to spend time outdoors, but you are right, it’s also important to be careful about the time your baby spends in the sun.
Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. If you are out in the sun, ﬁnd some shade under a tree or an umbrella.
On sunny days, dress him in lightweight cotton clothing with long sleeves and pants.
If you don’t have the right clothes with you, use sunscreen only on small areas like his face and the backs of his hands.
Repetition is important for learning! By playing the same game again and again, your baby is learning about what to expect. She’s thinking:
“Will it happen the same as last time we played?”
Playing the same game again helps her test if what she thinks will happen, does happen.
Try to have fun with her explorations even if it means playing the same game over and over.
You are her first teacher
Even though your baby can’t talk yet, she’s listening to you and watching the way you speak.
Sing, read, talk to her in “parentese,” or babble back when she babbles at you. All of these things help her practice hearing language, and help her build a strong bond with you.
Try to stay positive!
Just like a grownup, diﬀerent events can aﬀect a baby’s sleep schedule. As babies grow, things like teething, learning to roll over or stand up, can upset the sleep pattern you’ve gotten used to.
To help your baby back to his usual sleep routine, do your best to keep up with the nightly sleep schedule that you’ve made.
Sleep Routine Tips
- Find a routine that works for you. You can give your baby a bath, then read her a story. Or you can give her a massage, then sing her a lullaby. Diﬀerent nighttime routines work for diﬀerent families.
- Try to be consistent. Doing the same bedtime routine each night is important because it helps kids know what to expect. Make sure your routine is not too long, or something that will be hard to stick to.
- Turn oﬀ the TV. The TV is loud, bright, and ﬂashy and can make babies feel more awake at bedtime.
- Into the crib drowsy, but awake. Try not to rock and nurse your baby to sleep. Your baby may get used to having this be part of her nightly sleep routine, and it can make it hard for her to go to sleep without you there.
Sounds like you are on the right track with keeping unsafe areas blocked oﬀ.
Along with making sure gates are installed correctly, it’s also important to remember to keep large toys and objects away from them. Even young babies may use these items to climb over.
If you have any pressure-mounted gates that are not attached to the door frame with screws or other hardware, or if you have gates that swing out, be sure they are not be between rooms at diﬀerent levels or at the top of stairs. Your son could get them loose and take a fall.
Did you know?
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests against using baby walkers.
Baby walkers can be dangerous if babies fall or bump into things while in one. Walkers can also make it harder for babies to learn how to walk on their own.
For an updated and safer option, you can try a door jumper or exersucer (that doesn’t have wheels) for short periods of time. Spending too much time in any stationary activity center can be bad for babies’ hips.
Babies are growing and developing every day. There are a couple of reasons to wait until 4 to 6 months before starting solids.
Most importantly, they don’t need it. Up until about 6 months of age, breast milk or formula give babies all the nutrients they need to grow and be healthy.
Another important reason to wait’s that it can be unsafe for young babies.
Young babies have a reﬂex that makes them push their tongue out of their mouth when something touches it. If you feed a baby solids too soon, she won’t be able to swallow safely. Around 4 to 6 months, this reﬂex goes away.
Quick Test for Toy Safety
If you are not sure if a toy could be a choking hazard, try the toilet paper tube test.
Toilet paper tubes are about 1¾ inches. As a standard rule, if an item or toy can pass through a toilet paper tube, it’s too small for a baby.
Some stores even have “small-parts cylinders” that you can purchase to test items. Toilet paper tubes can work just as well.
Did you know?
Choking is a very common cause of injury, even death, in children under 1 year. Many parents worry about how to keep their little ones safe.
To reduce your child’s risk of choking…
- Pay attention while he’s eating or drinking.
- Make sure he’s sitting up while eating.
- Don’t feed him hard pieces of food like chunks of raw carrots or apples.
- Look for age guidelines when selecting toys.
- Be prepared for if your baby starts choking. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest the steps and information you need to know.
Keep in mind that you being there for your child when he’s upset is very important for building a strong connection. Some babies cry more than others and we know it can be exhausting.
There may be no quick fix. Try to stay calm.
Encourage her to help tell the story!
When reading together, talk with your child about the words and pictures on each page. Point to things, and try asking and answering questions.
“What’s that up in the sky?”
“The sun! That’s right!”
Even if she isn’t able to answer with words yet, let her know how great she did at trying. She may want to spend more time on some pages than others. Let her help you through the story at her own pace. It’s more fun for her that way.
Since young children spend a lot of time putting toys in their mouths, choose plastic toys labeled phthalate/BPA-free or those made from other materials, like wood or cloth, when you can. Try to limit sucking and mouthing on any items or toys that have BPA or phthalates.
Did you know?
Most babies begin to show signs of fear around 7 to 9 months of age.
Fear usually shows up when babies see people they don’t know or people that they have not seen for a while.
Your child may stop smiling or responding, cling to you and start whimpering. If you leave the room, he may cry.
To help your child feel less scared around new people…
- Stay close.
- Talk to new people in a friendly way.
- Bring a favorite toy or blanket for comfort.
- Give him time to get used to new spaces before meeting new people.
- Remember, it will get easier with time!
Once your baby starts cruising, she will probably ﬁnd danger zones that you never even knew about.
To keep your cruising baby safe, look for:
Use cord spools to wind them, or tie them up so she can’t reach.
Cover any outlets with outlet covers.
Furniture that can move or be pulled over
Make sure furniture like bookcases are dressers are secured to the wall.
Secure them whenever they are under hot or heavy items.
Use gates in any doorway leading to a stairway.
You can use cushioned edge protectors.
Most garbage items are unsafe to small children. Make sure garbage cans are stored in locked cabinets or have child-resistant covers.
Make a well-stocked ﬁrst-aid kit and keep it nearby. Having ﬁrst-aid supplies together ahead of time can help you in case of an emergency.
You can purchase ﬁrst-aid kits at most drugstores, but many parents choose to make their own.
To make your own ﬁrst aid kit…
- Choose a container that’s big enough to ﬁ t all the supplies you need.
- First-aid kits should be easy to carry and open.
- Plastic boxes that usually store art supplies are great for ﬁrst-aid kits since they are lightweight and have handles. You can also use an old lunch box or tote bag.
- Common things to include in a ﬁrst-aid kit: an emergency ﬁrst-aid guide, Band-Aids, tweezers, and emergency phone numbers, the Poison Control Center, your child’s doctor, and a nurse helpline.
Everyday tasks, like changing diapers and feeding, can actually be great times to work on building that special bond with your baby. Here are a few ideas for those times:
- During feeding time: Talk to your baby about what you’re going to do that day.
- During bath time: Get out some squirty toys or make a washcloth into a puppet. Use a funny voice and make her smile.
- During diaper changes: Try using a puppet or stuﬀed animal to get her attention. You can make it sing or give it a silly voice, and let your baby grab it.
Try not to be embarrassed. Each time you connect with your baby, you’re helping build the bond between you.
Diﬀerent babies are ready to start trying “table foods” that have not been pureed at diﬀerent times. To know if your daughter is ready to move onto table foods, look for cues.
She might be ready for table foods if…
- She is able to gum and mash up foods well.
- She can pinch food between her pointer ﬁnger and thumb. Usually babies are able to do this around 9 months.
- You notice she starts to turn her head away at mealtimes or spits out purees you oﬀer.
- She grabs the spoon and tries to feed herself.
To start the shift to table foods, mash, cut up, or grind the foods that you eat, or buy baby foods that have new tastes and textures.
Foods that need a little more chewing will help your baby practice and get good at gumming and mashing food in her mouth so she will be able to take table foods safely.
Remember to talk to your child’s doctor about starting new solids to ﬁnd out if any foods might have allergy risks.
Did you know?
It’s important to keep baby teeth clean and healthy.
Even though children don’t keep their baby teeth forever, healthy baby teeth help children do things like chew and speak correctly.
Baby teeth also help form the path that permanent teeth will follow when your child is older.
Even if your child does not have any teeth yet, it’s helpful to practice good oral health habits from the start. To help, wipe your baby’s gums and teeth every day, especially after mealtimes. Also try not to put him to sleep with a bottle.
At this age, babies find simple activities fun and engaging. Here are some ideas you can try with your baby:
- Read from books with large, colorful pictures. Point to the pictures and say what’s in them.
- Continue playing games like Peek-a-Boo. You can try hiding your face with a blanket and letting your baby pull it off, or try showing your baby how to cover his or her own face with their hands.
- Play hide and seek with a toy. Let your baby watch you hide a toy and then let him or her find it.
- Sing songs that use your body.
As babies grow, they start to feel bigger emotions like joy, anger, excitement, fear, and frustration.
Your baby is counting on you to help him learn about his feelings.
By responding in a calm, soothing way, you’ll help him learn to soothe himself and respond to his growing emotions.
Baby Feelings and Faces
Babies really like faces. Especially the faces of the people they know best. Knowing your face will help your baby bond with you and know what you’re feeling.
Try putting together a mini-photo album of family pictures that your baby can look through! It’s fun for him to get to know the people in his life.
The bathroom has some serious safety risks, so it’s great you are by her side. The most important thing you can do to keep her safe in the bathroom is to never leave her alone.
To make your bathroom the safest it can be, you will also want to look around for anything that could be harmful to her.
Most bathrooms store cleaners, medicines and products that may be toxic to children. Keep those out of reach in a cabinet with a safety latch.
Make sure electrical appliances are unplugged. You may also want to get a toilet lock to keep the lid clamped when it’s not in use.
Try keeping a list of other things to try out before turning on the TV.
Maybe you keep a special toy reserved just for times when you need a break? Or maybe he gets some time alone with his exersaucer?
If you need to take a 10-minute break and feel that a little screen time is needed, that’s okay. Try to use it for short periods of time, and choose programs that are slow, calm, and non-violent.
Feelings of Fear
Fear is a big emotion. As your baby grows, he needs your help to learn how to feel better when he’s feeling scared.
Diﬀerent babies feel afraid of diﬀerent things. Some are scared of new people and others feel uneasy in new places. Your child may open his eyes wide, scream, cry, or cover his eyes or ears.
If you notice your baby showing signs of fear…
- Hold him in a loving way and tell him that he’s safe with you.
- Try to ﬁnd out what he’s afraid of. You can try to avoid those situations in the future or read stories that talk about similar fears.
- Don’t leave him to “tough it out on his own.” It can make his fears stronger.
- Show him that you care, even if his fear seems “silly” to you. Let him know that everyone is afraid sometimes.
A scald is a burn from hot liquid or steam. Anti -scald devices prevent water that is too hot from coming out of the tap. These devices are sensitive to heat and will stop the ﬂ ow of water when it reaches a pre-set temperature.
Most of anti -scald devices can be screwed onto water ﬁxtures without professional help. Some faucets and shower heads even include this feature on their own!
Babies’ skin is thinner than older children and adults, and can burn at lower temperatures and more deeply. Help protect your baby by setting your water heater to 120o F, if you can.
If you live in an apartment or area where you can’t control the water heater settings, install an anti -scald device. You can ﬁnd them at most home improvement stores.
Did you know?
As your baby grows, it’s still very important to use a rear-facing car seat the correct way every time he’s in the car.
All children should ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the car until they are 2 years old.
Facing the rear of a car will help protect your child’s head, neck, and spine from serious injury
Protect your baby on-the-go!
Never leave your baby alone in a car. Even just for a minute. Heat is much more dangerous to babies than to adults.
Cars can become dangerously hot very quickly. Even on days when the temperature outside does not seem too warm, it’s not safe for young children to stay in the car alone.
Routines and distractions have caused people to accidentally leave children behind in cars.
To be sure you remember, try placing something that you will need in the back seat where your child is sitting, like a your purse, lunch, or gym bag. This simple act could prevent you from accidentally forgetting your child if she’s sleeping.
There are lots of diﬀerent ways to help babies calm down when they’re tired or upset.
Try solving it together. By following his cues and working together to solve the problem, you may ﬁnd it easier to help him feel better.
- If he’s staring at a toy, ask him if he wants to hold it, then hand it to him.
- Name his emotions: “Seems like you’re feeling sad. Can I give you a hug?“
- Sometimes it can help to simply change the focus: “I know you want the toy, but let’s read a book together instead.”
Talk with him and tell him about what you’re doing out loud. Even if he can’t explain how he feels with words yet, by letting him know what you’re doing, you’re starting the process of solving problems together.
It’s a fact…
In the ﬁrst year of life, your baby’s brain is still learning how to calm down when feeling stressed. Babies who get lots of loving care during this time learn healthy ways of dealing with stress and are better at calming down.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is when an infant die suddenly and doctors can’t ﬁgure out a reason why.
While the risk of SIDS goes down after 6 months, doctors still consider babies to be in the “danger zone” for SIDS until they are 1 year old.
The diagnosis of SIDS is not usually used after 1 year of age. However, some babies older than 1 year do die suddenly and unexpectedly.
To prevent SIDS, continue to place your daughter to sleep on her back until she is at least 1. Use a baby bed with a ﬁrm mattress and ﬁtted sheet. Also remember to keep other things like pillows, bumper pads, and stuﬀed toys out of her bed.
Did you know?
Crib gyms and other toys that stretch across the crib with string, cords or ribbons can be dangerous for older, more active babies.
Babies can get tangled in crib gyms and other toys that stretch across their cribs.
Keep your baby safe by removing all crib toys that are strung across his crib or playpen areas.
Post the poison control center help line number on or near every phone in your home. Also save it in your cell phone, if you have one.
If you think your child has eaten something poisonous and they are awake and alert, call poison control right away. Do not make your child throw up unless they tell you to.
If you feel like you’re doing great, you are! Listen to that feeling. You might notice that he:
- Can play well by himself
- Is conﬁdent to explore and try new things
- Asks for help if he needs it
- Can play alone without you for a few minutes
- Will accept new people and play with others
- Comes to you for comfort
These are all signs that he feels bonded to you.
It sounds like you’re doing your best. And chances are, you’re doing all the right things. Your close bond now will help him do well in the future.
Did you know?
Studies show that babies who spend close, shared reading time with a caregiver can focus better and are more likely to read in the future.
Shared reading time builds a bond between you and your child. Do your best to make ti me for it as often as you can.
What does it mean to be a good role model for a baby?
Babies love to copy the people around them. To be a good role model for your child, think about what skills you hope she’ll learn as she grows up.
How can she learn from your example?
You can help her learn to get along with others by treating others well yourself. Teach her how to help with everyday tasks by letting her help make dinner or put toys away.
You are her ﬁrst teacher, and she watching you. Make those moments count.
Young children can be seriously hurt or killed when furniture tips over.
To keep your son safe, use L-shaped angle braces or anchors that attach furniture directly to the wall. Also put latches on lower drawers to be sure they can’t be pulled out and used as a step for him to climb on.
In case of a ﬁre…
When you have a baby or toddler in your home, it’s important to take some extra safety steps:
- Keep a baby harness by his crib in case of emergencies. A harness will let you to carry your baby to safety while leaving your hands free to get out of the house.
- Keep your child’s bedroom door closed. If there’s a hallway ﬁ re, a closed door can help keep smoke from getting to your baby or toddler, and will give extra time for rescue.
- Teach toddlers not to hide from ﬁrefighters. Uniforms can be scary to small children. Teach your child that ﬁreﬁghters are there to help keep us safe.
Install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
If you keep the door to your baby’s bedroom closed, keep a working smoke alarm in the room and use a baby monitor so you can hear if the alarm sounds.
When your child is old enough, help her get to know the sound of the smoke alarm. Teach her that if she hears it, she has to go outside to the family meeting spot you’ve decided on.
Many children feel a little unsure about being away from a parent.
To make being without you easier for her:
- Be prepared to give lots of hugs.
Before you leave and when you come back.
- Talk to her about what’s happening.
Even if she doesn’t have a lot of words yet.
- Say goodbye.
Let her know you’re leaving and when you’ll be back.
- Give her something to look forward to.
Talk about something you’ll do together when you get back.
- Suggest a task for while you’re away.
“Can you do a special drawing for me while I go to the store?”
- Leave something of yours with her.
Like a hat or scarf she can snuggle and hold if she starts feeling upset while you’re gone.
Remember it will get easier as she gets older! By 2 or 3, most toddlers learn that even when you go away, you will come back.
Encourage him to explore while staying nearby!
Between 1 and 3, children grow from crawling and babbling to walking and talking. Big changes! They start to be able to do so many things by themselves, but still need you.
Give your child the chance to explore on his own, but stay close so he can look to you for support and come to you for comfort.
The more safe he feels, the more conﬁdent he’ll be to explore new things.
Once your baby is at least 6 months old, it’s okay to use sunscreen on all areas of her body to protect her from the sun. Here are some tips on getting the most out of a sunscreen:
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all areas of the body not covered by clothing. The face, nose, ears, feet, hands, and the backs of the knees are important areas.
- Put sunscreen on your child 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
- Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days. Use sunscreen any time you or your child might sunburn.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Sunscreen can wear oﬀ after swimming, sweating, or just from soaking into the skin.
Young children actually have really good memories. Studies tell us that at just 1 year of age, children can remember and copy what they see up to a month later! They can remember what they have learned, even if they aren’t able to practice in between.
Did you know?
Young children can recognize and understand a lot more words than they can say. Even if your child isn’t able to tell you what he wants or thinks with words yet, he probably understands a lot of what you’re saying.
Help him learn to use more words by talking to him often. You can describe things throughout your day and ask him questions.
The more he hears how words are used, the better he’ll be able to practice using language.
Describe things out loud!
As you move through your day, if your child points to something and shows interest, do your best to take a moment to describe what she sees. Hearing the words that describe her surroundings will help her learn language.
Thumb and pacifier habits usually only become a problem if they go on for a very long time.
After the permanent teeth come in, sucking can cause problems with the growth of the mouth and the way the teeth line up. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth
Most children stop these habits on their own, but if you are worried or have concerns, talk with your child’s dentist.
What to expect…
As your baby starts crawling, pulling up on things and walking, you can expect that she’ll get a few bumps and bruises along the way.
Try to stay calm. Usually the bumps that come with learning are not too serious, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.
- Keep an ice pack in your freezer in case of a head bump.
- Have band-aids stocked up at home, and keep some in your purse or diaper bag for when you are on-the-go.
- Post your doctor’s number and a consulting nurse line by your home phone. Also, save them in your cell, if you have one.
- In the rare case of a serious injury, call emergency line.
Stay close and make safe areas for her to explore. Toddlers love to try new things, but don’t always know what’s safe.
Because young children are so curious, they might wander where they shouldn’t go, or grab what shouldn’t be grabbed. So encourage her to explore, but stay close to keep her safe.
Organic cotton refers only to the way the cotton is grown, without chemicals, but not how the clothes were made. It is possible for a clothing item to have a “100% Organic” tag and still have been treated with a chemical after it was made.
It is great when friends and family make knitted items for your baby to wear, such as sweaters, booties, ponchos and headbands. Just be aware of loosely knitted items, as babies can get their fingers tangled in the knitting.
As tough as it is to see him upset, most toddlers actually adjust more easily when you leave if your say goodbye.
It may help to tell him when you’ll be back and suggest things for him to do while you’re gone.
Before you leave, try starting an activity together. You can start coloring a picture together or building a block tower. Then tell him it’s time for you to go and say goodbye.
He still might cry, but he’ll probably calm down quicker than when you sneak out. Also, when you’re honest with him, he’ll learn to trust and be honest with others.
Make him part of the story!
One thing that almost all young children are interested in is themselves.
To keep your child engaged in reading time, try making him one of the characters in a story. You can give him a leading role in the book you’re reading, or make up a story about your day.
“Once upon a time there was a boy named Jacob who loved making block towers…”
Including him in the story can help keep him interested. If he’s interested, he’ll learn that reading can be fun.
It’s possible that some sand or dirt will get in your child’s eyes. It’s okay, but you will want to help him get it out safely.
First, wash his hands to remove any potential additional dirt, and then flush his eye with lukewarm water. To flush his eye, hold him over a sink or tub and gently pour luke-warm water into the corner of his eye. It can help to wrap them in a towel.
If you are concerned or he’s still irritated after a few hours, call a nurse consulting line or your doctor to make sure there aren’t any pieces of sand or dirt left under the eyelid and that his eye wasn’t scratched.
Even though the idea of something getting in your baby’s eye can be scary, it shouldn’t stop you from going out and having fun!
Think about what you’ve noticed her copying. What are some things you’ve been glad to see her copy? What are some things you wish she hadn’t copied? Help her learn by showing her positive examples to imitate and learn, like:
- Treating others kindly.
- Using good manners.
- Putting toys away.
- Helping her brush her teeth or wash her hands.
- Sharing with others and taking turns.
- Showing her how to be gentle with a pet.
A fun way to know when 20 seconds have passed is to sing a hand washing song! There are many out there, here are a couple of ideas:
- Sing this fun hand washing version of Row Row Row Your Boat two times through: Wash, wash, wash my hands / Make them nice and clean / Rub the bottoms, and the tops / And fingers in between.
- To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, sing: Twinkle, twinkle little star, look how clean my two hands are, soap and water wash and scrub, get those germs off rub a dub, twinkle, twinkle little star, look how clean my two hands are.
Toddlers do like routines. Knowing what to expect can help young children feel confident.
Keep in mind that different routines work for different families. It’s most important to choose things that fit into your daily life and routine so you can be as consistent as possible. Your daily routine or schedule can include things like:
- Always putting toys away before lunch
- Brushing teeth after meals
- Taking a bath before bed
- Reading a story together after bath time
Your routine doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It just has to be something that works well for you and your child.
Try choosing only a few things for now, and then adding to your routine when you can.
No. This method of measuring will not be accurate enough. “Eyeballing” your child’s medicine prevents you from knowing if you are giving them too much or not giving them enough. However, a “ ½ teaspoon” measuring spoon can be used to accurately measure ½ teaspoon of liquid medicine. And remember, it is best to use a plastic medicine syringe or dropper to give the medicine to your child once it is measured.
Learning to keep on trying, even when things are tough, is an important life skill to learn. Not all new tasks will come easily! And that can be frustrating. But it’s important to learn not to give up or you may never get to top of those stairs or finish that puzzle.
Try to be your daughter’s cheerleader. Let her know you are nearby and you notice how much she is trying. Praise her effort and remind her to stick with it. Even though it’s not always not fun, her hard work will pay off if she keeps trying.
Like at the park, you could say something like “You’re doing a great job with those big steps. Hang in there. You can do it!”
Try child-directed play 10-15 minutes a day
Although your child is able to play more independently now, it is still very important that you have fun playing together every day.
Child-directed play is one way for children to feel empowered and for them to be in charge for a bit. Most importantly, it can improve your bond with your child.
Set aside 10-15 minutes every day for child directed play. Make sure to have toys out that your child likes to play with.
During this time, let your child take the lead. Play alongside them, following their lead. Describe what you see them doing without telling them what to do. For example, “you’re putting the yellow block in the back of that dump truck” instead of “can you put the block in the truck?”
Yes. The yellow ribbon is a sign that these dog need their space.
A dog will a yellow ribbon on its leash might need space for many reasons. They could be service dogs in training, be recovering from a recent surgery, or be dogs that just get scared easily. The yellow ribbon does not necessarily mean these dogs are aggressive. These dogs just need their space from other dogs and people.
Be aware of dogs with these yellow ribbons on their leashes and do not let your child approach or try to pet these dogs.
Blocks are a great playtime activity! Here are a few ideas to try out:
- Sort blocks by color, size, or theme.
- Make a house for a doll or animal toy.
- Line up the blocks and pretend they are piano keys. You could even use spoons to “play” them.
- Create the tallest tower you can, then knock it down!
- Clean up! Believe it or not, most toddlers love to help put toys away. Get out a container for the blocks and work together to put all the blocks away.
- Let your child lead the way with how they want to use the blocks. Child-directed play can help children build confidence. You can play alongside your child and describe what you see her doing.
If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, move your family outdoors to fresh air right away! Call the fire department and wait outside until they arrive to help you.
If you are unable to leave your house because of a fire or blocked exit, get to an open window or other source of fresh air immediately. Call the fire department and wait by the fresh air until help arrives.
First of all, it’s great that you have been sharing time reading with your son.
Try to keep in mind that reading books all the way from start to finish is not the goal with young children. It’s all about making it fun for them.
Let your son lead the way. Maybe he wants to make up his own story? Or spend a long time on one special page and not on the whole story?
It’s also possible that it’s just not fun for him right then. That’s okay, too. You can always stop reading, and try again later when he’s ready to have fun with it.
Singing with Your Child
Many children love to sing and singing is a great way for them to practice new words. Here’s a nursery rhyme you and your child can sing together:
“The wheels on the bus go
round and round
round and round
round and round
The wheels on the bus go
round and round
all through the town”
Good job moving indoors when the storm came. It is rare to be hurt by lightening inside a building, but it can happen. When inside during a thunderstorm follow these safety tips:
- Avoid contact with corded phones. Lightening can travel through phone and electrical wires.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Lightening can travel through the metal pipes in your home. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes, or do laundry during a thunderstorm.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Basements are the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
That’s great that your child enjoys reading. There is no need to cut back on reading time.
Not all children are able to focus for longer periods of time, so 5-10 minutes a day is a great place to start.
For your child’s first ride go somewhere safe with a soft surface, like a lawn or large carpeted room. Talk to your child about balance bike safety and the importance of wearing a helmet. Get them used to always wearing a helmet when they use their balance bike.
Help support the balance bike for your child’s first few attempts until they get the hang of riding it. Some children take to it quickly, while others will need more time, so try not to rush them.
Make sure your child knows how to stop and turn their bike safely and can ride it well before you venture out to open or public spaces.
If she is still interested in looking at the same books then it’s great to keep reading them. Repetition is a good way for her to learn. You can also encourage her to practice new words by adding 1 to 2 words at a time. For example, if she says “dog” you can say “Yes, a brown dog.”
Whenever you buy a toy, read the label to make sure it is OK for your child’s age. The age levels for toys are decided based on safety factors. Also check the labels on fabric toys to make sure they are labeled as “flame resistant” or “flame retardant.” Stuffed fabric toys should also be labeled as “washable”.
If you are buying a toy for a baby or toddler, make sure the toy is unbreakable and strong enough to be chewed on. Also check that any battery operated toys have battery cases that attach with screws. This will prevent your child from opening them and getting to the batteries, which can be choking and burn hazards.
You will know when she is ready because she will simply stop taking one of the naps. Another sign is that she’ll take a much longer time to fall asleep for 1 or both of the naps. And lastly, if you notice she isn’t tired enough to fall asleep at a healthy bedtime in the evening, she’s probably ready for 1 nap a day.
This change usually happens between 12 and 18 months, although it can happen earlier or later.
Co-Sleeping with a Toddler
If your child sleeps in your bed or with a sister or brother, it’s important they learn how to fall asleep alone. Children who fall asleep on their own have an easier time falling asleep at bedtime and have fewer night wakings.
- Leave the room while your child is drowsy but still awake at bedtime.
- Wait for him to fall asleep and then join him in the bed.
- If he sleeps with another child, try putting one child to bed before the other.
This method of co-sleeping lets everyone go to bed at their own bedtime, but still enjoy sleeping in the same bed together.
Yes, the juice could be causing the problem with your son’s teeth. Studies have found that the sugar in fruit juice can eat away at tooth enamel, especially if kids are allowed to drink juice from bottles, cups, or boxes continuously throughout the day or at bedtime.
Decay can happen when juice pools around a child’s teeth for long periods of time. Children who fall asleep with milk bottles in their mouths can experience the same thing.
It is best to limit juice and other sugary beverages, and to always avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle. Also remember that it is a good idea for all kids to start seeing a dentist after their first birthday.
Great question! You’re right, when she says “Don’t be sad,” it’s almost like she’s telling him not to feel his emotions.
When you hear something like this, take your son aside and ask him, “How are you feeling? If you are feeling sad that’s OK.”
Yes, it is safe to use sunscreen and insect repellent at the same time. However, you should avoid using products that have both sunscreen and insect repellent in them.
This is because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours while insect repellent should only be used once a day. For this reason, use separate sunscreen and insect repellent products.
Also be sure to wash off the insect repellent with soap and water at the end of the day.
Tantrums are part of growing up. Even though they can be difficult, they can also be a great opportunity to teach your child about how to handle big emotions.
Toddlers are still learning about how to self regulate and keep calm. Try working with your child on this skill during a time when he is not actually upset.
You can practice a calming skill like deep breathing by having him make a Kleenex move with his breath. Have him put his hands on his belly and feel it move in and out. Point out how this kind of breathing can help him feel calm and relaxed.
Also remember that children learn a lot from watching the adults around them. Remember to take a breath for yourself, remain calm, and keep in mind that tantrums don’t last forever.
First, consider asking your landlord or local health department about having your home evaluated for lead sources.
If you think that you might have lead-based paint on your walls, use a damp cloth to wipe windowsills and walls to keep them free of paint chips. Watch out for water damage that can make paint peel. Peeled paint chips can be picked up by young children and put in their mouths or swallowed.
Do not sand or heat lead-based paint because doing so increases the risk that lead will be inhaled. If the paint doesn’t have many chips, a new layer of paint, paneling, or drywall will probably reduce the risk. It’s best to talk to a professional because other steps might need to be taken to contain the lead in the paint.
There are a LOT of shows and games out there for kids. New ones come out every day! It can be challenging to keep up.
Even while you are not cooking, the kitchen can be a dangerous place for an exploring child. Be sure to put things away after use that can be dangerous:
- Tinfoil and plastic wraps – Keep tinfoil and plastic wrap stored out of your child’s reach. The foil and plastic can be a choking or suffocation hazard, and the sharp metal edge on the box can cause cuts.
- Spices – Keep spices off countertops and out of your child’s reach. Some spices can be toxic if eaten in large amounts. Make sure vitamins and medicines are out of reach as well.
- Trash cans – Be sure to keep your trash can behind a cabinet with a childproof latch. Also, tie plastic bags in a knot before throwing them in the trash.
As children grow older their interests change. Choosing books about the things your son likes and enjoys can keep reading fun and exciting. Maybe he is especially excited about cars lately, or is curious about a certain animal you saw at the zoo.
Here are a few reminders about what to look for in a good quality book:
- Words that match what is shown in the pictures on the page.
- Pictures of objects that he knows and can recognize.
- Words that are not so rhyming or repetitive that he can figure out what’s going to happen next. It can make it more fun if he has to guess!
This is a common struggle with toddlers. For some, it can help to have a favorite part of the bedtime routine come right after a task like pajamas that can cause some battles. That way, you can remind him that “After we get your pajamas on, it will be time for a story. I wonder which book we should read tonight?”
For other toddlers, it can sometimes be best to take the battleground task (pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.) and move it to earlier in the evening, such as right after dinner. Not only will he be less tired and cranky then, but putting on pajamas might go more easily if he doesn’t think of it as part of going to bed.
Remember that whichever approach you take, try to keep your voice calm, and that will help him stay calm as well.
The best way to deal with unused cleaning products is to give them away. Most people need things like dishwasher detergent surface cleaners and bleach, so find friends or neighbors and offer them your cleaners. And make sure the products are in their original containers.
Can’t find anyone who wants your household cleaners? In this case, you can dispose of the products. But be sure to read the label to see if there are any specific instructions for disposal. Oftentimes you can think about how you typically use the product to help you make the best disposal choice. For example, if you have extra laundry detergent or a liquid disinfectant, it’s safe to pour it down the drain with running water.
Once you’ve disposed of your extra cleaning products, be sure to recycle the containers.
Most household cleaning products come in containers made of plastic or glass, as well as cardboard boxes that can be recycled.
At this age, your child is still learning to understand emotions and how to behave in emotional situations. Even though you may have noticed your daughter expressing empathy before, she is still learning about feelings and how she should behave towards other. Remember to encourage empathy and praise her when she does show it, and to discuss and clearly explain the feelings behind certain situations if she doesn’t.
No, it is never OK to leave a child alone in the car, even for a short while. Children left in cars are at risk of heat stroke, which causes dizziness, disorientation, sluggishness, seizure, loss of consciousness, and/or death.
Even on a cool day outside, the temperature inside a car can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour. Most of this increase in temperature happens during the first 30 minutes.
Learning to listen and follow directions is a process that can take time. Young children are learning to self-regulate, control and understand their emotions. Your daughter may just be testing you to figure out how your feel about her actions.
If you feel like you have tried everything and are concerned about your child’s behavior or development, make an appointment to talk to your pediatrician.