Raising stressfree toddlers can be both fun and challenging. Older babies and toddlers need different things from very young babies. They still need the closeness of being carried. They still need, ideally, to sleep with you in your bed. Ideally they are still being breastfed.
However, the horizons of their world are expanding and they begin to:
• Play and explore – playing and exploring are very important for young children. The more they are allowed to do this, the happier and more relaxed they will be.
• Love books and stories – toddlers love to be read to or told stories. This is a magic way of helping your toddler to relax and unwind at any time of the day.
• Interact with other children and adults – introducing your toddler to other children and adults will develop her ability to socialize and be comfortable with other people and in new situations.
• Become more independent – toddlers love to do things for themselves. They also get very frustrated at times when they are learning to do new things. This can be a cause of tantrums.
• Start to say “No” – toddlers are developing minds of their own. They don’t always want to do what you want them to.
What stresses your toddler?
The main stresses for toddlers are:
• Being separated from their parents. This can be because:
- a parent is unwell
- both parents work and your child has to go to a nursery
- parents separate or divorce
• A new baby in the family
• Moving house
• Moving out of your bed
• Being unwell
• Arguments between parents and/or older siblings
Toddlers are not capable of telling you they are stressed. However, their behaviour can give very clear clues that they are finding life difficult. If your child’s behaviour changes in the following ways:
• he becomes unusually clingy or whiney
• he gets angry easily
• goes off his food
• his sleep pattern changes suddenly
• he seems fearful
• he fusses and cries a lot
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you can be fairly sure that he is feeling stressed. The reason may be obvious. If not, take some time to look at what has been happening in your lives. Can you see anything that might be upsetting your child, even though it may not seem important to you? If so, try making some changes in that area to see if your child becomes more relaxed. Making sure you have a stressfree toddler will make your life together much easier.