From One to Two Years
Think of all the fabulous things your little “Bundle of Joy” is going to learn this year: how to walk and run, and how to be understood for sure that he is a real person. He will make a tremendous leap during these twelve months, and you can help make the most of it.
Making the most of it means, if you have not already begun, the beginning of this year is the time to introduce “RAM Time” – Rituals/Rules And Morality guidance. A sense of right and wrong (morality) has to begin at home. It is at this time that your family, headed by you the parent(s), should plan a family code-of-conduct meeting so that at least three things can be set up ahead of time: rituals, rules of behavior, and consequences (so that if the rituals/rules are not followed, the individual will pay a price to the rest of the family, not the police or courts).
Number one: Everything, without exception, begins in the mind. What we think about determines who we are, and who and what we will be. In other words, think positive and positive things will happen (key positive support-word: SUCCESS) — in the same vein, if we think negative, negative things will tend to follow (key negative word to attack: FEAR). Fear is inconsistent with success. Keep in mind that if we do things that are right and proper, nothing can hurt us, therefore there is nothing to fear. However, it is crucial that our actions are consistent with our thoughts. Now back to your Little One.
Now that your Little One is more mobile, it’s time to do another safety check. Make sure he can’t open cabinets where medicine or household cleansers are stored. And by all means, put sharp or breakable objects out of reach. The objective, of course, is to eliminate the need for medical attention.
Because of his curiosity, your little one will get into a ton of things that will beg your patience. You can avoid having to say “no” all the time if you limit your Little One’s opportunities for troublesome or dangerous behavior, and increase the choices of harmless activities. Make good use of soft and safe things; for example, cardboard boxes, ice cream containers, and diaper boxes can prove to be safe playful “toys.”
Give words to things your toddler picks up and does; for example, “That’s your rattle. Listen: it rattles when you shake it!” “Those are shoes: you place them on your feet so that your feet won’t get hurt so easily.”
Provide lots of praise; for example, say, “Good job” and “Thank you.” “’Way to go!” Encourage him with plenty of hugs and clapping, and smiles as well as words.
It is about this time that you want to begin encouraging your Little One to say words for things instead of simply pointing to them. When he points to something, say, “What do you want to do, ride the horsey or sit in the chair?” Smile and say, “That’s great!” when he tries to answer. Repeat the word as you answer his command. “Here’s your chair/ horsey!”
Usually, he is so hungry to find out what’s going on in his new world that his eyes will follow your every move. Be sure to explain what you are doing some of the time, especially when you do something he has not seen before. For example, “I’m putting on my rain boots because it’s raining outside and I don’t want my feet to get wet.” “It’s cold outside, so I’m putting on my gloves so that my hands won’t get too cold.” However, it is important that you make it part of natural conversation, as opposed to an obvious lesson.
Introduce your Little One to household pets like your dog or cat, and teach him to be gentle with animals as well as with other children. If you don’t already own a pet, now is an excellent time to obtain one. Whether you have funds to buy one or not matters not, because a person can always go to animal-control agencies where they would be delighted to provide a home for a pet at no charge.
Let your little one see how things work. Remember, practically everything is new to him. Show him how to open a door with a key, zip a zipper, pour water, and use crayons.
Take your little one to a playground. Talk about and show him how much fun children are having going down the slides, back and forth on the swings, and up and down on the teeter-totter.
Make a game out of learning the names of body parts. Have him wave his hands, open his mouth, close his eyes, and wiggle his toes.
Look for stories with pictures of animals, or better yet, plan a visit to a farm or petting-zoo. Have a lot of fun with your little one by imitating the sounds the animals make. Some people may be embarrassed by doing this; however, when you are with your little one, the time is to have fun – obviously, not every place is appropriate. Use discretion when warranted and teach your Little One the truth in the adage that “There is a time and place for everything.” Sometimes talking loud is inappropriate; in fact, sometimes talking at all is inappropriate; for example, in a house of worship, or during funeral services. Enjoying music is great, sometimes the louder the music the more entertaining it is. On the other hand, there are times that loud music is inappropriate; for example, in the wee small hours of the morning in an apartment building.
One final thing: during this year, your little one may not be close to being toilet trained yet – but don’t worry about it. Keep in mind that patience is very important, and praise is always much more effective than threats or punishment.
End of year two!