7 Frequently Asked Questions by Parents for Toddlers

How do I establish a bedtime routine?

Here is an example of what you could do. Schedule a particular time in the evening, like 6:30pm when your child has her bath and brushes her teeth. You read her a bedtime story and put her to bed. It sounds straightforward, but I know sometimes it isn't. Your child may be used to sleeping at anytime and therefore may put up some resistance to you leaving her once you have put her to bed.

You could close the door and stay behind it to hear whether she is crying, some toddlers tend to drift to sleep after a few minutes. If she starts crying wait for a few minutes to see if she stops and if she doesn't, go back and re-assure her and put her back to bed.

Also worthy of mention is the fact that some toddlers change their sleeping patterns several times before getting into what could be called a normal bedtime routine. It is important to be consistent with whatever routine you develop. Being consistent helps both you and your toddler and it prevents your toddler getting confused.

How do I discipline my child?

Some people introduce time out or the naughty step in order to make the child aware that they have been naughty. Time out and naughty step is when the child is taken from where they were naughty and placed in a quiet place like the steps or in their rooms. They could be left there for around two minutes and the parent would go and get them after that and explain to them why they had to be disciplined.

Another form of discipline is when parents remove their child's favorite toys. It is important to stress here that whatever discipline you introduce, make sure it is done in love.

My child is a fussy eater - how do I get her to eat?

This is a bit tricky, but what works for some is that they continue to introduce new food to the child. If the child does not like a particular type of food, you can discontinue it for a while and then re-introduce it later.

Another thing one could try is to mix the food your child likes with a type she doesn't like and see if she will eat it. Over a period of time, you may find that your child has acquired the taste of a particular food she didn't like before or has given up resisting.

When do I start potty training my child?

Children are different, some are known to have started at the age of 14 months, others at 18 months and some after 2 years old. Sometimes the parents will have an idea that the child is ready by the way the child touches their diapers or suddenly stops when they realise they want to go to the toilet. As your child grows she gradually becomes aware when she wants to go the toilet and this may cause her to react.

How do I get my child to allow me to brush her teeth?

Sometimes your toddler will allow you to brush their teeth if they see you brushing your own. Another thing you could try is to turn teeth brushing time into a song or game. This would engage her and in the process you might find that she opens her mouth wide for you to brush her teeth. Another technique applied by some parents is to brush their child's teeth in front of a mirror so that they can see what is happening.

When is it the right time to change from cot to bed?

When your toddler starts climbing out of the cot, this it is a sign that she is ready for a bed.

How do I get my child to eat by herself?

This is a gradual process and just like with potty training where the age varies, the same applies here. Some parents have been successful in getting their child to eat by themselves as early as the age of 12 months.

You could start with finger foods and place them in your child's plate and leave it for her to pick it up. If she manages to do this, you may progress to other types of food that involve the use of children cutlery.

In conclusion, do not compare your toddler with others and think that you are a failure because you feel your child is not doing what other toddlers are doing or your toddler is not doing what the guidebooks says. The guidebooks have to use an age as a parameter, hence the word guide - it is just a guide.

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Erin & Lynda