Adventurer

Adventurer

Toddlers can be cheeky little monkeys! Find out more about how your child is changing at this age including their growing independence, play group and making friends, allergies and food intolerance, avoiding tantrums.


She will also start to assert her independence and once she can talk she will often use "'mine", "me" and "my" words. 

Behaviour: Independence and tantrums

You know how you feel when you are frustrated-angry, irritable and irrational. But, as an adult, you have learnt to handle it. When toddlers are frustrated they usually react in the only way they know-they throw a tantrum. Anger, fear and jealousy can also bring on a tantrum. Toddlers are totally self-centred; they are not able to think about anyone else. Add to this the excitement and frustration of a toddler's world. They are exploring their own independence, but often meeting barriers and restrictions. And tantrums actually work for some toddlers (and even older children). They get what they want.

Here are a few tips for deflecting or even avoiding a tantrum.

  • Never punish a tantrum with your own anger, or by hitting or otherwise physically hurting the child.
  • Give your child as much time and space to explore as you can manage, but think ahead. Be ready with diversionary tactics when something looks like it is going to get out of hand. For example, use the stair gate to keep your toddler away from the dog's food or to block off the kitchen door when you are cooking.
  • Suggest another activity when your toddler appears to be approaching a forbidden area.
  • Think ahead. Don't take your child shopping when he is tired or hungry.
  • Involve him in your activity. If you are shopping let him help by getting small things from low shelves. It slows up the shopping, but so does a tantrum.
  • Keep to a routine as much as possible and finish the day with a bath, a quiet meal and a story. Save boisterous games for daytime.
  • If a tantrum does erupt handle it quietly and calmly-even though it's not easy! Stay nearby (or have another adult stay nearby) and wait for the tantrum to subside. Do not get involved except to offer a hug or to prevent the child from hitting or kicking out. After the tantrum do not give in to its cause. Try the diversionary tactics mentioned above and think about how you might avoid it happening again.

You'll find some really good advice on coping with tantrums on the Parenting and Child Health site. The Australian Childhood Foundation can also help.


How they grow

Teeth
As your toddler becomes more adventurous his risk of accidents increases. Falls are the most common cause of injuries to a toddler's teeth. If your toddler damages or breaks a tooth then it is important that you save the tooth, or piece of tooth, and arrange a dental appointment immediately. Just because they are first teeth does not mean they are not important.

As your toddler becomes more adventurous his risk of accidents increases. Falls are the most common cause of injuries to a toddler's teeth. If your toddler damages or breaks a tooth then it is important that you save the tooth, or piece of tooth, and arrange a dental appointment immediately. Just because they are first teeth does not mean they are not important.

Growth
Healthy babies and toddlers will all pass through the same stages and developmental milestones, but they will do so at their own pace. There is an enormous range of what is considered normal. Try to remember that when you are tempted to compare your little one's achievements with the next child. Children have learning spurts, just as they have growth spurts. They will also seem to stop learning sometimes, but this usually means they are practising new skills, or they have been unwell. At times of stress-new baby, moving house, parent breakup-they may even go backwards (regress) but they will catch up again.

Speech
Healthy babies and toddlers will all pass through the same stages and developmental milestones, but they will do so at their own pace. There is an enormous range of what is considered normal. Try to remember that when you are tempted to compare your little one's achievements with the next child. Children have learning spurts, just as they have growth spurts. They will also seem to stop learning sometimes, but this usually means they are practising new skills, or they have been unwell. At times of stress-new baby, moving house, parent breakup-they may even go backwards (regress) but they will catch up again.

Moving along
If your toddler hasn't already discovered the fascination of stairs this is likely to happen soon. Toddlers love to climb stairs and if you have a set in your house you need a stair gate for those times when you cannot supervise. Teaching your toddler to come down backwards is always a good idea, but you must continue to supervise at all times.

If at any time you are concerned that your child may have a problem it is reassuring to seek expert advice from your doctor or your local child health centre.

Eating
At mealtimes give your toddler his own set of cutlery and let him practise. It may be easier to feed him yourself, but it will be more difficult for you both in the long-run if you put keeping him clean ahead of learning this important skill.

Every day caring

Playtime: Play Group and making friends

Have you discovered Play Group? The right Play Group will provide you and your child with friends for many years, maybe even for the rest of your life! In Australia, parents or carers stay with their child at Play Group, joining in the fun and learning more about playing with children. And many parents find that Play Group helps them make new adult friends. They are also a great place to learn about being a parent.

Anyone can set up a Play Group as long as the location is safe, and no child is too young to attend. Many of the established Play Groups have large toy collections and specially planned play activities. Play Groups go on excursions together, publish newsletters and hold regional conferences. Many Play Groups are part of the Playgroup Association. Find out more at www.playgroupaustralia.com.au or by phoning 1800 171 882.


Eating

Allergies and food intolerance
It is a fact that food allergies are quite rare; most reactions to food are intolerance, rather than allergy. A true food allergy brings on almost instant symptoms such as breathing problems and skin reactions and can be quite severe, even life-threatening. Foods most commonly associated with allergy are eggs, milk, nuts, fish, wheat and chocolate. This is why it is recommended that these foods not be introduced into the diet of a child whose family has a history of allergy until at least the second year. If you have a family history of allergy then you should speak to a dietician about your child's diet.

Food intolerance is a reaction to the natural or added chemicals found in food. These reactions generally occur when the body's tolerance thresholds for certain chemicals have been reached and may occur hours after a food has been eaten. The symptoms of food intolerance can also be the symptoms of other illnesses so it is important to have them checked before self-diagnosing. These symptoms include rashes, eczema, hives, colic, diarrhoea, rashes and vomiting. Treating food intolerance is difficult and requires advice from a dietician who specialises in this area.

Lactose intolerance is not as common as you might think-it just gets a lot of publicity. It can occur temporarily as a result of gastroenteritis or other diarrhoea-causing illnesses and will disappear over time as the lactase enzyme in the baby's digestive system returns. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are bloating, tummy pain and diarrhoea. It is unwise to remove dairy foods from your child's diet because you think they are lactose intolerant-this could lead to calcium deficiency. Seek professional advice before taking this step.

Food labelling
If a professional has diagnosed your child with a food intolerance or food allergy then it is important that you buy foods that do not contain hidden ingredients, including additives. In December 2002 Australia passed legislation that required food to be labelled if it contained certain substances. So cereal must be labelled if it contains gluten, shellfish, crustacean and their products must be labelled, egg and egg products, milk and milk products, nuts and seeds, soy beans and sulphites added in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more must be indicated. Royal Jelly must not be presented as a food.

Food labelling is complex and you may need the help of dietician to better understand it. You can also buy an additive code breaker from your newsagent or bookshop. Or go to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand

Read more: Go to Nutrition Australia and search under food allergy.  There are Fact Sheets on food reactions, lactose intolerance and cow's milk allergy at Parenting and Child Health.  Find information on Food Labelling at Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

 

Recipe ideas
Find great Toddler friendly recipes to keep your toddler happy and healthy.

Discuss your toddler with other parents
Visit our forums for great parenting tips on Toddlers aged 24-36 months.

Toddler news, features and factsheets
Read articles, tips and information on all things relating to your toddler.
 

 

Find out more:
The Parent Easy Guides from Parenting SA, a government organisation and the fact sheets from the Children, Youth and Women's Health Service are amongst the best and most up to date sources of information for Australian parents. Here you will find PDFs on all these topics and more.

 

Sign up for the Toddler Quarterly Guide email - covering development, sleeping, toddler care, immunisation reminders, food and more.

 

These guides are written for Essential Baby by child care author, Carol Fallows. Carol established Australian Parents magazine in the early 1980s as Australia's first parenting magazine and managed it for nearly 18 years. She continues to write about and for parents. Her most recent title is Having a Baby. The essential Australian guide to pregnancy and birth. (Random House, 2005).

This information is not a substitute for professional advice.  If you have any concerns about your child's health or wellbeing it is important that you seek help from your doctor or a health professional.

Unless otherwise indicated the pronoun he or she refers to either sex. We have chosen to alternate.

Discuss your toddler's development with Essential Baby Mums.