Toddler Tips

When it comes to Toddler, we've been there, done that, now serving 195 tips in 11 categories ranging from Activities & Games to Travel & Errands. Need more advice? Ask a Life Coach or take our Life Coach Directory for a spin.



Hiding Vegetables in Toddler Meals

By Landra Lynn J

Toddlers can be a bit picky about what they eat, as they are exploring "likes" and "dislikes" for the first time. Hiding vegetables inside of toddler meals is a great way to ensure they are eating right. Here are a few methods to try.

- Cauliflower (fresh or frozen) can be steamed, pureed, and mixed in with macaroni and cheese. It can also be mixed with mashed potatoes.

- Try making spinach smoothies. Place 1/2 cup of fresh spinach leaves in a small blend with 2 tablespoons water. Blend until liquified. Add frozen fruit, almond or soy milk, and a couple packets of Stevia. Blend well. Some parents with boys call these "Hulk" or "Ooze" smoothies do to their green color.

- Carrots can be cooked, pureed, and hidden in soups, casseroles, and more.

   

Edible Pudding Finger Paint

By Landra Lynn J

One of the most cost-effective, safe, easy, and yummy ways to create finger paint for toddlers is with pudding!

To do this, you will need one box (or more) of instant vanilla pudding. Mix the pudding according to package directions. Add a few drops of your favorite food coloring and chill overnight.

While this finger paint should not be used on actual paper, it is perfect for other surfaces. Ceramic tile floors, high chair trays, bathtubs, and other similar surfaces are all perfect! To clean up, wipe away with a sponge and a mild cleanser.

This edible finger paint is great for smaller children and helps them with fine motor skills. Because it is pudding, eating it will not cause harm to the child. Who says playing with food can't be fun?

   

Sanitizing Toys with White Vinegar

By Landra Lynn J

One of the easiest ways to sanitize plastic children's toys is with white vinegar. This inexpensive, simple, and green cleaning technique is perfect for baby toys through those used by older children.

Fill the kitchen sink or a bucket up with the hottest water available from the tap. Add one to two cups of plain white vinegar directly to the water. For extra cleaning power, add a tablespoon or two of plain dish washing liquid. Allow the toys to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water and dry them well.

(It is also important to note that any toys that have inner workings, require batteries, make noise or otherwise cannot be submerged should not be cleaned via the white vinegar method.)

   

Effective Time-Out

Consistency is key in using time-out as an effective strategy for discipline. Pick a time-out space, whether it be a mat, a chair or a room. Let your children know that certain actions, such as hitting, will result in time out. Time out should only last as long as one minute per year of life (for example, 6 minutes for a 6 year old). Time out is best for immediate responses to actions like hitting or excessive screaming. It does not work well for more complicated infractions such as lying.

   

When to Start Preschool

When is your child ready for preschool? If your child looks forward to interacting with other children, can follow simple directions, and can play independently for short periods of time, she may be ready for a part-time preschool program. Preschools often have their own readiness guidelines, such as being potty trained or being able to complete certain tasks, so once you have found a preschool you like, be sure to ask for their readiness criteria.

   

Feeding Toddlers

By age two, toddlers can and should eat what the rest of the family is eating. Keep in mind, though, that most toddlers do not like very spicy or sour foods or extremes of temperature. They will often eat more if the food is cut into small pieces, and they often enjoy dipping foods into salad dressing or ketchup. A good rule of thumb is that toddlers usually eat about one tablespoon of each food offered at the meal per year of life. For example, at dinner, a two-year-old might eat two tablespoons of meat and two tablespoons of a vegetable.

   
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