Talk to any parent or guardian and they’ll be the first to let you know how quickly time flies when you have children. Before you can blink, that sweet little bundle of joy you brought home from the hospital is now a toddler who’s adamant about navigating the world in front of them. Now, while they’re eager to explore, is a good time to take the next steps in parenting.
Experimenting with New Foods
Once your toddler’s teeth have come in, they can begin to experiment with a lot of new foods. This creates the perfect opportunity to introduce new textures and tastes to expand their palates. Experts recommend that you start off small, introducing a new food item once a week to rule out any potential allergies. Don’t be put off if your child doesn’t take to the dish right away. Attempt to serve it again at a later date, or in a different way.
For some children, new textures tend to be a deterrent. For example, they may love squash as a puree, but when you serve it steamed they want nothing to do with it. Additionally, you may find that some children prefer fruits to vegetables, and vice versa. Make sure they have a selection of foods they like available, and add new ones in slowly.
Introducing Sippy Cups
Unless your child was—or is—breastfed, chances are they have sucking out of a bottle down pat. With the development of their motor skills, most toddlers are ready for a sippy cup when they reach their first birthday. The best sippy cups for your child depend on their age and dexterity. For beginners, look for one that has handles that they can grip easily. Older toddlers, those ages two and up, should be able to handle taller sippy cups with no handles. For your benefit—and trust us, you’ll appreciate this tip—pick one that comes apart easily for cleaning, because nobody wants milk or juice trapped in crevices that are impossible to clean.
Taking Steps toward Potty Training
Potty training is one of two things: a dream or a nightmare. Some toddlers readily take to the toilet while others refuse to leave the comfort of diapers. One surefire way that your child is too young is a refusal to go anywhere near the training potty.
To foster a smooth transition to the toilet, skip the training potty altogether and opt for a two-in-one toilet seat that has a smaller child-size seat nested inside the larger one. This eliminates the extra cleaning step and in most cases only costs a little more than a separate plastic unit.
New experiences help your child grow and achieve their milestones. They also help you grow as a parent, whether this is your first or fifth child, because each one is truly different. The key to making it a successful experience for both of you is to have patience and if at first you fail, don’t give up. Persistence is key, and as a bonus, it’ll prepare you for the teenage years.