Toddler Parenting 101

One of the toughest stages of raising a child has to be the toddler years, toddlers are full of energy and if you turn your back for a second they have climbed to the top of the fridge.  They are totally without fear or social boundaries and you love them more than anything.  That doesn’t mean you don’t want to tear your hair out after chasing a toddler all day.  Here are some tips to help both of you get through the day.

Kids Hate Surprises

It is really hard to make a toddler do something right away, they need some type of transitional warnings.  When you tell your toddler it is time to leave the park for example, you may end up with a toddler tantrum.  Break it to him gently, start reminding him about 20 minutes before hand that you will be leaving and remind them every couple of minutes.  It will make leaving that much easier.

Let them be Independent

Toddlers want to try everything all on their own.  Let them try as long as it isn’t dangerous.  Keep your house kid friendly and let them have a cupboard where their things are located.  Small plastic glasses or small snacks they can get themselves.  Yes, it might be messier but it is well worth it for both of you.

Let them Burn off Energy

Toddlers have more energy than any other creature on the planet and yes, it is exhausting trying to keep up.  Let them burn off some of this energy so it doesn’t drive both of you crazy.  If you can let them go outside and run, get a trampoline that they can jump on or let them do something physical throughout the day.  It will make bed time easier for both of you.

Logic Just Doesn’t Work

Your toddler isn’t an adult and doesn’t think like one, they simply don’t understand verbal reasoning.  Sometimes you have to be the parent and put those mitts on anyway.  And yes there will be tantrums because the sandwich is cut wrong.  Here is some help negotiating with a toddler.

Praise Often

Some kids respond far better to reward then they ever will to punishment.  So whenever your toddler does something praiseworthy let them know.  It does not have to be an elaborate production sometimes it can be a high five or simply a “good job”.  They need to understand that good behavior gets rewarded and bad behavior does not.

The Role of Music in Child Development

The Role of Music in Child Development

As parents, children’s music can drive us absolutely nuts.  We have listened to the same Raffi CD over and over again until we want to tear our hair out but before we do that we need to realize the role of music in child development.  It needs to be entertaining for your children to listen to and not necessarily the parents.  Kids have pretty short attention spans so it has to grab their attention quickly.

Simple and repetitive

Kid’s music is simple and repetitive and that allows your children, even the very young ones to learn the songs quickly.  The can join in and sing along making music interactive, when they can sing along they are going to be able to listen for a longer span of time before they get sick of it.  Unfortunately, we as parents will get sick of the music long before our kids do.

Music as a Teaching Tool

Music is a great teaching tool, think of the alphabet song, you probably learned the alphabet through song.  Teachers have been combining music with traditional learning for decades.  Singing is interactive and it is an easy way to get kids interested and to remember the subject matter.  The kids hear the music and start singing along and having fun, completely unaware that they are learning at the same time.  Memorizing a song allows them to learn the subject matter, making music an incredibly valuable teaching tool.  Here is how music is used in the classroom.

Kids are constantly finding new things that they don’t always understand, and it is not always tangible things.  Kids can have a hard time dealing with their own feelings, sharing for example is often a difficult lesson for other kids to learn.  Music is a great way to help them learn to deal with and grasp feelings that they don’t understand.  They can learn that being sad or angry is okay and you can help them deal with this emotions constructively rather than destructively.

Music is critical to a child’s development as a  teaching tool and as a source of pleasure.  Even as adults we use music to make ourselves feel better.  Music can make us more productive and improve our moods, we can commiserate when we feel sad or lonely.  We can’t begin to comprehend the effect music has on us, even those of us who don’t play an instrument or carry a tune.

Music and Your Baby

Music and Your Baby

Parents will often start singing to their children while they are still in the womb.  Once they are born it seems perfectly natural to us to sing them to sleep at night.  Many mothers can be found in a rocking chair with their babies singing them to sleep.  At the same time we don’t really think about how this may benefit the baby, we are simply going on instinct.  There are countless benefits to music and music and your baby seem to go together.

Music is soothing

Adult or infant, music is soothing to the soul and you will find that when your baby is fussy or upset that singing to them comforts them.  It also gives the mother the chance to remain calm when dealing with a fussy baby.  Looking after an infant is exhausting and it is hard to calm a crying child when you haven’t slept yourself, singing to the baby keeps both of you calm.

Babies can learn rhythm

When you sing to your child and they like it they begin to become familiar with patterns and rhythms in music, even infants have favorite songs.  A baby can understand things like pitch but only once they have been exposed to music.  Babies can feel rhythm and when they hear music that they like they will start to move and get excited, almost dancing.  Next time you play music just watch how your baby reacts.

Music helps them learn language

Most music, but children’s songs in particular have lyrics that rhyme.  Rhyming is pleasing to the ear and your baby can develop an ear for rhymes, this in turn helps them learn language.  Song lyrics and poetry are closely intertwined and children develop language from birth to around age 5.  You can teach children new words and language easily through song and music.  You can start teaching them about the world around them through music, expose them to age appropriate music as soon as they are born.  They learn language by trying to emulate the sounds they hear, as they get older it helps them develop a bigger vocabulary.

Never underestimate the power of music and how it can help your children develop.  Music is such a huge part of self expression and creativity and all kids should be encouraged to listen to and embrace music.  Music makes us want to move our bodies and it soothes our souls.